Gaming and Motivation Lesson Plan

This is a lesson plan that I have developed based on my Action Research but from the perspective of gaming theory. For this I have used Dr. Daniel Siegel’s PICKASEAT framework. I have actually found the idea of incorporating more game play into class very intriguing and full of potential for engaging the students and improving the success of their learning. There are many ideas I have been considering for creating gameplay in the course, and I hope to get a chance to develop and try several of them. Here is just one of my ideas.


The first participant would be a volunteer from the class, to come up individually and start the game. Initial incentive would be the award of extra credit points for a correct solution to the scenario. There would be no time for standing around and hesitating, as the idea is to come up with answers and solutions to real life scenarios that professional audio engineers might encounter. The key elements of the scenarios would be revealed and describe the situation as it unfolds based on the selection of the cards. The first player is expected to keep up with developing story by explaining their actions as the class follows along. Any hesitation and the player is fired and replaced by the next volunteer. It is important the players do not fall behind the developing situation and continuing list of tasks and instructions. The pressure of the on looking class intensifies the game.


Students will be expected to react and troubleshoot using techniques and topics that were covered in class. The most important thing is that the player pays close attention to the details of the situation so they can decide the best course of action to get the job done, or solve the problem. So the main instruction is to be observant and respond to the situation to the best of their ability, and to be quick and deliberate.


Learners will be manipulating their response and actions to the different challenges as they arise. They will decide if they will use their computer, what software they would use, what Internet website they would visit, what system preferences they would change, what other equipment or cables they may need, and how they would plug it all in or troubleshoot. Students would be adjusting signal flow, software settings, and hardware configurations to accomplish the given task or fix the problem.


The students will be expected to have some knowledge of computer settings and signal flow and ideas on how to troubleshoot different technical problems as well as understanding of some basic studio procedures. The game is designed to have them thinking under pressure and to present some random real life scenarios of where they would apply the concepts they have learned in class. The idea is for them to learn how the broad base of technical understanding can really inform their responses and decisions in the studio or real life scenario. When they have finished playing, hopefully they will come away with a better understanding of how technical competence in any situation can help minimize anxiety and improve their ability to communicate, observe, make decisions and get the job done.


Students will work their way through a scenario involving several elements of recording session setup and troubleshooting, along the way becoming familiar with the different variables that may determine how a project gets done in the studio. The will come up with solutions to problems that may be handled any in numbers of ways, realizing the importance of observations and deliberate action. In the short-term the will begin to understand how a session can turn for the better or worse in an instant based on a level-headed decision or panic and anxiety. In the long-term they will begin to understand that no one person is an island, and in many situations you will be relying on other people’s competence or working to compensate for others incompetence. They will learn troubleshooting techniques are a combination of confidence, application of knowledge, and thinking on your toes. The more technical understanding they have, the more easily problems will be resolved with less panic and with less time wasted. They will find begin to see the little personal rewards that come from knowing and solving problems before anyone else notices the potential problem. The overall desired result is to build confidence, reduce anxiety, and eliminate the potential for panic.


The story will begin with the student or player entering a recording session as the 2nd engineer. They will be given a description of the session, which will be unique for each new round of play. The instructor will act like the dungeon master in Dungeons and Dragons, developing the scenario as the player progresses deeper into the session. Many details of the studio environment, personnel, and equipment will be described to the player, some of them important, and some of them not. The detail of the description will be vital to the engagement of the player, but many of the elements of the session will be drawn from a deck of cards. Much of the description will be based on the instructor, and left to the instructor to embellish. It will be an opportunity for the instructor to draw from personal experiences and tell a story along the way. Engineers do like to tell stories about sessions they’ve worked on, and including technical details is one of those geeky tendencies we have. Now the students will be given the opportunity to try to work their way through a recording session through the eyes of a seasoned professional. Pictures can be incorporated as well using projections, showing images of equipment and frustrated or happy musicians and studio staff. success comes in the form of a gold record and a fat paycheck. Well pictures of them anyways.


If the player fails to come up with useful solutions, they will be fired and the next student volunteer will be asked to come up and carry on with the session. Depending on the complexity of the scenario the game will end when either the present task has been set up and completed, or the project has been finished. Along the way, the challenges and bad guys will including technical problems, demanding engineers, moody musicians, and producers with seemingly unrealistic expectations. When level heads prevail, a reasonable outcome will be achieved, and the project will be completed for delivery to the next phase of either mixing, mastering, or distribution.


When the player comes up with a proper solution to a problem they will successfully move on. When they come up with an incorrect solution the problem will become compounded and three incorrect solutions in a row will lead to upsetting the session and getting fired. The next volunteer will step into the problems left behind from the last player. Every step of the way the instructor and observing classmates will determine the validity and success of the players reaction and solutions.


The game will take between 30 minutes and an hour to play out through a scenario. The game length will be determined by the instructor and how complex or lengthy they choose to make the session or scenario. For shorter game play, simple sessions can be used, while for longer game play multiple players can be involved in more of a project scenario.

Fun and Motivation

Students will find this game fun because they’ll get to watch their classmates respond to scenarios in the recording studio under pressure. They will also get the opportunity to demonstrate their knowledge in front of the class, and potentially help fellow classmates by coming up with solutions. If the situation gets too difficult for one student, then there is always the opportunity to let the whole class try to come up with a solution. The game will also be unpredictable for the students, as they won’t know exactly to expect or if the solution or end is around the corner or if some other musician is going to walk into the studio with a posse and cause utter chaos to break out. It will be about communication and dealing with people as much as it will be about demonstrating technical aptitude. It will make the old idea of story telling more engaging because it becomes like a choose your own adventure where there are more obvious right and wrong solutions. Just like Dungeons and Dragons engages the power of imagination of role-playing, this will as well, while giving the students they opportunity to show what they’ve learned and see how it’s relevant. Extra fun can be had as the teacher decides to include elements of surprise in the session, like the drunk musician, or the lead singer’s girlfriend and barking dog. Don’t forget the drummer who can’t play to the click track, that’s always fun.

This game will allow for students to learn through a simulation environment as well as to be coached along the way by the instructor. It will provide the students an opportunity to make connections between some of the more abstract theories of the electronics and equipment, and how that knowledge can bolster their confidence and allow them to be more effective in real life situations.


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