Last night I just could not fall asleep. There are many reasons. My mind was racing because school is starting back up soon. I was not actually tired because I was stuck inside all day sue the weather. I’m also a cliche and cant sleep without my,wife next to me. We are transitioning our now 7 month old into is crib and she was in his room most of the night (her choice – she wanted to sleep by him)

The thing that my mind kept returning back to that I recently found out that my proposal to present at the Future of Ed Tech conference in Orlando, FL was accepted. So as I lay in bed unable to slow my mind the image that kept reoccuring was standing in front of (hopefully) a few hundred (probably a dozen) audience members and needing something to say! Something like less than half of the people that propose a 40-60 minute Concurrent Session are accepted (note the subtle humble brag) and I am now the proverbial dog that caught the car. As I imagined this huge and overflowing audience my mind kept returning to this:

Make it interactive!

So how does one get hundreds (yes!) of people interacting with me, the content, and with each other during a single 40 minite session! Of course, the answer is to play a game! My inspiration is Jane McGonigal (@avantgame) in one of her epic Ted Talk videos. She gets the audience to have a massively multiplayer audiemce experience through a gigantic and interactive thumb war. If you haven’t seen this check it out here : Multiplayer Thumb War.

Obviously I don’t want to steal her idea but the concept of mass audiemce game participation would be epic. I’m my insomnia state my thoughts kept coming back to Rock-Paper-Scissors. Everyone (mostly) knows the rules so that would cut down on time needed to get started. It would be quick to playba few rounds and I could make a couple fast tweaks to explain items, discuss boss fights, and other quick game inspired mechanics. My sleep deprived brain thought it would be funny to change the names too which led to a whole new train of thought. This post has been my long winded way to discuss Skins.

My FETC presentation will be called Game Inspired Design and Blended Learning. The Rock-Paper-Scissors will ease the Blending elements. Attendees that are familiar with Gamification or Blended Learning (still working on the details) can be placed in to small Blended ‘stations’ using this simple game as the basic component. My initial thought is to have them created a Skin for R-P-S.

A Skin is a layer that can be added onto a previously existing game that superficially changes the look or theme without changing the game play. Think of the 1000’s of monopoly variations at the local Wal-Mart.





The core gameplay of Rock-Paper-Scissors is straight forward.

Paper covers Rock.

Rock breaks Scissors.

Scissors cuts Paper.

Count To 3 and show your choice. Winner is based on the win-stakes above.

A skin to this game would be to rename the objects and explain the new relationships between the items.

As I was laying in bed I realized that the objects could also be People or Events AND they could be limited by content. This skinning would also bring in some creative thinking too. Might be an interesting exit slip or quickwrite activity.

Here is the one I came up with and it is based on my first US History Unit – Revolutionary Era.

Hamilton defeats Jefferson to create the National Bank.

Jefferson defeats Burr in the election of 1800.

Burr defeats Hamilton in their now famous dual.

Another layer would be to create unique hand gestures that represent each of the new People, Events, or Items. Give it a try. Skinning Rock-Paper-Scissors is trickier than it first seems. Changing 2 is easy but that third part that fits organically is tough!

I hope some readers are able to make it to Orlando at the end of January. For more information about the Conference click here. Some of the #xplap and #games4ed chatters are talking about an unofficial meet up. Hope to see some of you there.