Quote #1, A Major Theme:

“Whether courses have a large number of students, or cover a larger time period, integrating gaming into the course structure can allow students to interact with course content in a way that promotes application rather than memorization.

Spalding is a professor in charge of teaching incredibly dense areas of history, such as the “Introduction to World History,” which attempts to cover practically all of history, to a relatively large number of students. It is quite difficult, if not near impossible, to maintain all of the information a student learns. This challenge is exemplified by the class size, which prevents professors from giving a student more of their attention if need be. Spalding attempts to curtail this challenge by presenting more interactive learning and testing opportunities in her classroom. This both engages the students in more memorable ways, and allows the students to help one another, as collaboration is not only encouraged, but required.

Quote #2, A Question:

“While the overall class sizes are not unmanageable, with course caps between twenty and thirty-five students…”

Interactive learning or testing strategies require an extensive amount of participation from students. When would the class size become too much? Would something like Spalding’s Game of Thrones-inspired activity be viable with a class size of, say, fifty students? A hundred, as we have in some of our larger gen-ed courses, such as chemistry? And if it is too much for a professor to handle, should they still search for an alternative, or stick to a traditional classroom setting, with lecture and essay writing as their basis?

Quote #3, A Critique or Point Worth Exploring:

“Similarly, the blank cards function to encourage discussion and strategic thinking in relation to history and the gameplay.”

I thoroughly enjoyed the creativity Spalding allowed her students. These blank cards could allow students to show off their knowledge of the subject, granting themselves and their peers a better grade, and rewarding them for maintaining the information given to them during the class period. Drawing from my own experiences with interactive classrooms, I find that they can be some of the most memorable. I will never forget Dr. Browning’s class on military history, where he had us rearrange our desks to recreate the trenches of WW1. We threw wadded up paper to mimic gunfire, and he brought in a desk on wheels to make our very own “Big Bertha.” It sounds ridiculous, but I struggled a lot in that class, and his interactive lessons made boring battle strategies and pages full of statistics come to life. Adding an interactive element can really benefit students in difficult classes like this one, and it is exciting to see these strategies being implemented.