Intentional Teaching with Games & Simulations in Schools, Libraries & Museums

NASAGA April Conference logo

April 17, 2021

Our April virtual conference will focus on how individuals can use active learning in schools (primarily K-12), libraries, and museums. Each NASAGA session is a fully interactive session where attendees are participants in active learning. We don’t do lectures – this is your chance to experience active learning in a new way through an interactive conference session to help expand your ;toolbox of ways to engage the students in your schools and patrons of your library and museum.

Session 1: Mystery Mania: Developing Mystery Games for Libraries (and beyond)

1:00 pm Eastern

This presentation is a mystery! Well at least it is about mysteries and the development of a premiered and asynchronous mystery game for library patrons, specifically adults and families. This session will spend a portion of our time talking about the why behind the initiative, the development of the game, and the premiere and longevity of the product. The rest of the session will be a workshop in developing the start of your own mystery game. Participants will also receive a copy of the first Suffolk Public Library mystery game developed in the series. 

Speaker Bio: Hello everyone! My name is Aidyn Scott, although I imagine that is information included next to my picture. I am currently a Library Services Coordinator in Community Learning at Suffolk Public Library in Virginia. I have a Master’s in Higher Education Administration, worked professionally as a Hall Director at Miami University in Ohio for 5 years and worked in Student Conduct at Old Dominion University for a little over a year. So I am a Libraryland transplant. I love finding ways to incorporate gaming and other forms of activity into learning and finding new and creative ways to engage adult learners in particular. Even though I have been gone for a little over a year, I still consider NASAGA my professional home. Outside of work, I am a husband, all around nerd, wrestling fan, and proud parent to a sassy bunny and a mischievous kitten (you can follow them on Instagram and TikTok @IsisandAsami).


Session 2: Multi-game Lightning Game Design Jam

3:00 pm Eastern

Designing games for fun, as a class project, or for a class activity is a skill that can be strengthened with practice.For this hands-on workshop, attendees will bring required bits (see below) and a willingness to design bad games quickly. During the workshop, attendees will be presented with three different design challenges, each of which will have ten minutes to complete. The goal is practice your game design brain via a variety of publisher and content-inspired challenges, and to delve into the design mindsets of rapid iteration and failing fast. It’s fun, it’s fast, and you end the workshop with three starter game ideas that you can continue to develop after the workshop.

Speaker Bio: Kathleen Mercury, M.A.T., M.E.T., has been teaching gifted middle school students for fifteen years using design thinking to create functional art from designing tabletop games and RPGs to filmmaking, cosplay, and more. She shares all of her game design teaching resources at www.kathleenmercury.com for free, and loves to collaborate with educators and industry leaders to promote game design curriculum at every level and format. She currently cohosts the podcasts, Games in Schools and Libraries and On Board Games, and is a frequent guest on other podcasts. She has multiple games in various stages of design, development, and publication with the upcoming titles Greece Lightning from Wizkids, Valkyrie from Greenbriar Games, and Dragnarok from Kolossal. 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.


Session 3: Escape Room Extravaganza: Global Pandemic Edition

5:00 pm Eastern

It may seem like escape rooms are out of reach as an instructional and assessment tool during our mask-wearing and social-distancing. Although online escape rooms are growing in popularity, they generally remain synchronous events that can be hard to plan and require users to have high-speed internet and fast computers. During this workshop, we will work through how to plan escape rooms for your educational space (whatever that is: library, zoo, museum, school) that your learners can access and collaborate on without the need for Zoom and stable internet. Attendees will begin designing their own rooms that are equitably accessible, and will receive guidance for developing their designs online.

Speaker Bio: Melissa Peterson is the founder of GameCognito, LLC and a PhD student at the University of Hawaii at Manoa.  She has been working on education in informal environments (read: zoos and museums) for over a decade, and currently consults with schools, museums, and video game companies as an expert in games-based education. Her work has a strong focus on exploration, creative output and project-based learning opportunities, especially through play and gaming. Her most recent projects include science education support for the video game Tyto Online, exploring adaptive learning and AI, and studying how educators use development platforms and what supports they need to be successful. 

Previous to her career in education and games, she spent time at Johns Hopkins Hospital and the Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania looking at people’s brains – most of them looked very similar.


Registration Closed!


About NASAGA’s One-Day Virtual Conference Series

Our new one day conferences will be an opportunity for themed, specialized presentations around a set theme or topic. We will work to find experienced practitioners in the selected topic to present on ways to use active learning to best engage individuals.  Our first two topics are selected for this year, with plans for new topics in 2022.

Coming soon: Games and Sims for Diversity, Equity and Inclusion

Date: July 31, 2021. Watch this space for details.