Boardgame: Expressing preferences and opinions #ELTgame

Expressing preferences and opinions boardgame prototype


It’s been a while since I created any game.. and I so missed it. I enjoy the creation process very much, but what I love the most is playtesting time. When students have a chance to play it and add their own suggestions to the game. Last week, I came up with a boardgame for students to practice expressing preferences and opinions.

The game had a race to the end dynamic and was a turn-based game. The core mechanics were quite simple. Players placed their avatars at the beginning of the track. They decided who was going to be the first to roll the dice. Then, the player that rolled the green dice moved their piece on the track and asked a question to any other player in the game. If the player who had been asked for the opinion/preference justified their opinion/preference well, they were rewarded with the chance to move on the board faster by rolling the red dice.

If any student used L1, the punishment was to go back one slot. 

giving opinion game

My A1-A2 teens playing the game 

To the board itself, it was added the language structures needed to ask and answer. The game could be played only by having a track drawn on a large piece of paper, couple of dices and avatar piece to represent the player. However, cards were added to the game. The cards also contained hidden mechanics that could mess with their game.

Players will draw cards and the question structure they will have to use depend on the number of options the card has. 

Cards with two options: SUMMER or WINTER => Would you rather …………..? / Would you prefer to………….? Do you prefer………..?

Cards with one option: NETFLIX => What do you think about …………….? What do you think of……………….? What’s your opinion about ……..?

The gameplay was a combination of chance and skill. In order to get a chance to roll the red dice and move towards the end of the track, those responding had to explain why, giving a more elaborated answer. The dice added the chance to move faster on the board, giving weaker players an advantage.

In addition to the option topic cards, there were also: go back 1 or 2 or 3 slots cards, lose a turn card, move forward 1 or 2 slots and Dance Macarena card (another teacher suggestion).

*This prototype was designed in 30 minutes or so. As I was trying to come up with the boardgame, I quickly ran my ideas through some colleagues in the teacher room, and their suggestions were really helpful. A big thank you to Juliana, Kelita and Mafalda. 

What do we need:

2 dices of different colors, a large piece of paper and pens to draw the track and add the Q&A structures as useful language, avatars to represent players and index cards (5×8) to write the options and other game mechanics (lose a turn, move forward, etc.). 

How to play:

Players will roll the question dice, move their avatar and draw a card.  If the card contain an option or two options, the player asks a question and choses another player to answer it. If they get another instruction, other than option(s) cards, they just follow the instruction of the card. 

The other player answers the question. If the answer is good enough, they get the response dice, roll it and move their avatar on the board. 

Whoever speaks in L1 go back one slot. 

The winner is whoever crosses the finish line first!

At the end of the gameplay, I asked students what they thought about the game: “Fun”, “Cool” and “I really liked it” were the words used to describe their experience. I have also asked them for suggestions on what we could change or add to the game mechanics. They gave some interesting ideas to redesign it.

Stay tuned for the next post!

So much to look forward to…

     I hadn’t realized that 3 years had already passed by. Today it was going to complete exactly three years if I hadn’t decided to get back to blogging. I miss the connections I used to have. I miss recording the ideas, the struggles, my development. I miss reading other teachers’ blogs, learning from them and with them.

     The last three years have been made up of rollercoaster moments, personally and professionally. From those moments, I’ve had some hard lessons to learn and gained loads of new perspectives.

be strong Copy (1)

     But what have I been up to all these years? 

  • Three years ago, I started my MSc. in ICT. For a year and half, I worked on the idea of creating a robotic remote lab for kids and researching its application. The project was suspended and my project changed to Flipped learning in higher education. Couple of more weeks to finish my dissertation and submit for evaluation;
  •  I finished last year my especialization in Instructional Design, after couple of years of study. I’m super happy with all that I had learned and developed;
  • I’ve just finished an especialization in Modern Education. We had the opportunity to reflect from service learning to artificial intelligence. Everything that has been a trend in the discussions of pedagogy, I’ve studied there. It was awesome! My capstone project was on flipped learning in higher education;
  • I took an amazing course in Entrepreneurship for Educators and as a project I developed the GERAREdTech, which I haven’t really explored yet;
  • I was taking a B.A. in Computer Science education. I had a blast! I didn’t finish though. Instead it developed my love for coding and even more for game designing.
  • I worked for couple of years in higher education, researching and implementing active learning. What I loved the most was to share my passion for pedagogy with the other professors;
  • I’ve been a member of the Google Educators Group of Leaders and it has been a great source of inspiration. It’s a group that makes you go beyond the use of technology;
  • I continued once a year serving as moderator to EVO MInecraft community;
  • Last year, I started working at Yazigi language school and they work with task-based learning. Just came back from a wonderful Teacher Seminar and we have lots of space for PD and use our creativity. I gave a workshop with my pedagogical coordinator on teachers and students generating content using Adobe Spark. Stay tuned! A post coming soon;
  • And this year, I’m also going to serve TESOL community as EVO2020 assistant coordinator;
  • And on a personal note, I lost a grandson last year and I’ve become a grandma of triplets this year! Aren’t they adorable? *I hope I haven’t mixed up the names.


Don’t I have a lot to look forward to?

That’s me from July 25th 2016 to July 25th 2019! Great to be back. 

Combining physical and digital

Technology doesn’t seem to give us teachers a break. Every time I look around, I find a new term and there are times that I feel I can never really keep up with it all. And of course, we can’t! What we can do though is try to understand the new digital trends that comes on our way. One way to try to understand digital games, for instance, is to refer back to the games we’ve played. If you ever played games in your life ( and I hope you have, at least as child) you will find some similar aspects between analogical and digital games. But it was when I was just getting my head around simulations, RPG, etc.that the idea of mixing real with virtual hit me. Or augmented reality as it seems to be the latest term in fashion.

PokemonGO is on the news though. It’s also on our friends’ timeline/feed and your child/student probably already mentioned that to you. My 6th graders have, right in the first week of the release in the States. Our kids/teens get the news much faster because their favorite youtubers are already talking about it. What is PokemonGo about? Simply put, if you have ever gone egg hunting, you won’t have trouble understanding the basics of PokemonGO as it reminds us straight way of that. Pokemon Go can also be recognized as a location-based game. There is much more, however, to (dis)cover when comes to Pokemon Go. By reading/listening to educators online discussing PokemonGo and the various aspects that involve the game, it’s obviously not just about walking around town with the camera on and collecting digital stuff. So, don’t underestimate it and its power to engage people.

Image Source: PlayStore

Here is a very useful discussion on PokemonGO – by the ISTE GAME and SIMs network:

I haven’t blogged for while and when I do in the past year or so, I seem to write about games. The reason I seem to be so obsessed with #Games4Edu is a simple one. The level of engagement and investment of players in a game is insane and the social aspects that involve them is even more so. That puzzled me to the point that I ended up playing games myself. I wondered what was so great about games that made my students/son long to play. However, keep in mind that there are learners’ assumptions and differences between players that need to be taken into account.  Not every student is a gamer. There is much more to the Game4EDU discussion that meets the eye. I’m not saying that we should use every game out there in class, but trying to understand games and what they have in terms of design to help us design our own classes/tasks will definitely empower us.

If you want to explore PokemonGo with your students, here is a post by Shelly Terrell that will guide you through it with resources and ideas.

Is it possible to use location-based game for language learning? How about creating simple ones which can change the way learners experience the environment they study in and learn? Maybe, as a way to collect items for vocabulary practice, add interactive texts, solve puzzles and learn something new? Apparently, we can. Here is an MIT project called TaleBlazer.

“It’s an augmented reality (AR) software platform. Developed by the MIT Scheller Teacher Education Program (STEP) lab, TaleBlazer allows users to play and make their own location-based mobile games. By situating games in the real world, AR games seek to engage people in experiences that combine real landscapes and other aspects of the physical environment with additional digital information supplied to them by smartphones.” MIT STEP lab

Recommended Reading:

Medlock-Walton, Michael Paul (2012). TaleBlazer : a platform for creating multiplayer location based games. Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Dept. of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science.

TaleBlazer documentation:

Lu, Y., Chao, J. T., & Parker, K. (2015). HUNT: Scavenger hunt with augmented reality.
Interdisciplinary Journal of Information, Knowledge, and Management, 10,21-35.
OH! Also check out Paul Driver’s website called Digital Debris and check out his GPS-based game Invaders.