The NASAGA 2018 conference will be in Rochester, NY, October 16-19!

The North American Simulation and Gaming Association (NASAGA) is THE home for instructional designers, game developers, performance improvement specialists, consultants, trainers, teachers, and educators who use active learning methods to increase engagement, enhance retention, and improve performance. The conference is an interactive experience! Breakout sessions let attendees brainstorm, collaborate, and play games with a focus on learning and improving results. Attend the conference to share your expertise, gain inspiration, experiment with a new idea, and meet one of the founders of the organization.

Announcing the keynote speakers!

Scott Nicholson

Dr. Scott Nicholson is the director and professor of the Game Design and Development program at Wilfrid Laurier University in Brantford, Ontario, Canada.  He also runs the BGNlab, which focuses on making games to change the world.  His specialty is in live-action games, like escape rooms, and board and card games.  He has written a book on gaming in libraries, has several published board games, and is the lead designer of the Red Bull Escape Room World Championships.  Links to Scott’s social media and full-text articles can be found at http://scottnicholson.com .
Get Your Jam On! Using Game Jams in Education and Training
A Game Jam is an event where teams of people take on creating a game in a limited amount of time.  Traditionally, game jams were times where people with game design experience come together to try out new tools and test out ideas.  I have been using them with both youth and adults without game design experience as a way to get people to explore topics together and explore creative ways to teach others about those topics.During this keynote, I will run an abbreviated game jam, taking you through all of the stages that I use when running my game jams.  After the keynote, you’ll have a structure to use to run your own game jams and perhaps have a few new ideas to explore!


Trent Hergenrader

Trent Hergenrader is an Assistant Professor in the Department of English, where he teaches courses on fiction writing, literature, and media studies. Dr. Hergenrader’s research bridges creative writing studies, digital pedagogy, and games and game-based learning. His fiction has appeared in Fantasy & Science FictionRealms of FantasyThe Mammoth Book of Dieselpunkand Best Horror of the Year, among other places. He co-edited Creative Writing in the Digital Age and Creative Writing Innovations, and his book Collaborative Worldbuilding for Writers and Gamers will be available in fall 2018.

Session: Collaborative Worldbuilding

In this interactive session, Prof. Hergenrader will discuss what constitutes the act of “worldbuilding” and will describe some of the challenges we face when creating complex and believable fictional worlds. To help his student writers navigate this complexity, he has developed a unique worldbuilding card deck for generating fictional worlds. The deck assigns random values to 14 different types of social forces at play in the world; it also identifies which parts of the society are undergoing some kind of change and which are stable. Participants in a collaborative worldbuilding project must discuss how they interpret the numerical values, how the social forces interact as a coherent system, and why some have a stronger pull on society than others. The process requires dialogue, debate, and the application of critical and creative thinking skills. Audience members will form their own small groups and try their hand at makingtheir own randomly generated world. The talk is based on his book Collaborative Worldbuilding for Writers and Gamers and its companion worldbuilding card deck.


Kathleen Mercury

Kathleen Mercury has been teaching for fourteen years, starting with high school history, then middle school history, and gifted middle school kids for 12 years at Ladue School District in St. Louis, Missouri. She holds a B.A. in Sociology and Political Science from the University of Missouri, and two Masters degrees from Webster University in St. Louis (Masters of Arts in Teaching, Masters in Educational Technology). She has a lot of creative freedom in her position, and so she’s been able to explore her own interests in the context of her classes. So, what she teaches also is what she’s interested in–film analysis and filmmaking, cosplay, tabletop game design and RPG design. Kathleen believes her students learn best by doing, so her classes feature hands-on, real world work.
She lives in St. Louis, MO, with her partner, Mark Sellmeyer, three cats, and two dogs.  She has served on the planning board of Geekway to the West, a local game convention, for four years, and currently cohosts the Inverse Genius podcast “Games in Schools and Libraries.” She has two board games under contract with different publishers which will hopefully see publication in 2019. Kathleen thinks happiness comes from being able to create the life you want, and she feels very fortunate that she’s been able to do that. When she’s not teaching or playing games or designing them, she likes to read escapist fiction, which helps to distract and settle her overactive brain.