LearningWare interiews Thiagi

Thiagi: AllPlay in the Classroom

An Interview with Dr. Sivasailam Thiagi; President of Workshops by Thiagi, Inc., publisher and author of over 40 books, 120 games and simulations, and more than 200 articles relating to games in training. Recently, Thiagi began using AllPlay, LearningWare's keypad-based game & assessment system. We interviewed him to see how he was using AllPlay and to learn how it was being received.
LearningWare: What LearningWare products have you used before trying AllPlay?

Thiagi: I am one of the purchasers of the original Gameshow Pro (back when it was Gameshow Pro). I have been using LearningWare products for a long, long time.

LearningWare: What interested you about AllPlay? How is it different from other LearningWare products you've used?

Thiagi: Two things interested me with AllPlay: The availability of wireless buzzers and the automatic scoring.

LearningWare: How long have you used it? With how many groups?

Thiagi: I have been using AllPlay for about two months (currently). I have used them with 11 groups so far. The groups ranged in size from 10 to 210.

LearningWare: How have you used it?

Thiagi: I have used AllPlay in about a dozen different ways. Here are brief descriptions of five of those:
  • Interactive Lecture. I created an outline of my lesson. I then constructed a multiple-choice question for each major topic and loaded them in the AllPlay shell. I divided participants into six teams and projected the first multiple-choice question. After a discussion at each table, the teams responded to the question and I received instant statistics. I repeated the process through the questions in the correct sequence. If all teams chose the correct answer, I just made a couple of passing comments and moved on to the next item. If they all failed, I used the percentage data to provide targeted information. I made suitable comments and focused my training to remove their misconceptions. In this way, I combined the pretest and the presentation into a single activity and provided the most AllPlay appropriate content to suit students' needs.
  • Co-Designed Review. Near the end of a lesson, I divided trainers into teams and asked each team to construct as many multiple-choice questions as they wanted to. To help them in the process, I gave them a checklist on how to write valid multiple-choice questions. I also informed the teams that the seven best questions would be incorporated in a final quiz show. This encouraged teams to generate lots of questions and also lots of valid questions. After 30 minutes of this activity (during which time teams were busy reviewing their notes and constructing questions), I sent everyone out on a break and selected and entered the seven best questions. When they returned, we played the game that featured competition among the teams. In this activity, the real review took place while the teams constructed the questions. AllPlay was just a reward for hard work and reinforcement of the key concepts.
  • 99-Seconds. I used a single thought-provoking multiple choice question with the six buzzers distributed randomly among students in the class. I kept my mouth shut during the entire 99-second period. I projected the question. Trainers talked among themselves and made their choices. The correct answer and the scores were displayed on the screen.
  • Textra Game. A textra game is an activity that adds extra value to text materials. I divided participants into teams and distributed copies of a text to each participant. I assigned the first 10 pages and told trainers that we would conduct an AllPlay session in 45 minutes. One member from each team will be randomly selected to represent the team and so it was important for everyone to master the content. I encouraged collaborative learning and quizzing of each other. After 45 minutes, I conducted an AllPlay game on the assigned content using randomly selected representatives from each team. After the game, I assigned the next set of pages for the next round of AllPlay to be conducted in 45 minutes with random representatives from teams. We repeated the same process throughout the day, keeping a running total of each team's scores. Peer pressure and peer support within each team ensured that all everybody learned the materials.
  • Daily review. During a 5-day unit, I asked participants to prepare a set of multiple-choice questions on new information and concepts they learned during the day. The next morning, I collected the questions, selected the best ones, added a few more, and created a new AllPlay game during the lunch break. Participants played the game immediately after lunch. This activity kept them wide awake and helped me to systematically review the previous day's content.

LearningWare: Do you have other ideas for its use in the classroom? How do you plan to use it in the future?

Thiagi: Of course, I do. Coming up with new games by loading new questions is one way I plan to use AllPlay in the future. But I am more interested in coming up with innovative AllPlay applications of the software and the game format.

LearningWare: How user friendly is AllPlay, from both the trainers' & trainees' perspectives?

Thiagi: From the trainers' point of view, I love the options incorporated in AllPlay. For example, I can present the questions in a standard sequence (for the interactive lecture) and in a random order for a review activity. I can use or lose the final round, depending on the mood of the class. Trainees find AllPlay to be very friendly and intuitive to use.

LearningWare: What results did you gain from using it?

Thiagi: Engagement, review, participation, collaboration, competition.

LearningWare: What surprised you the most about it?

Thiagi: Nothing! What is there to be surprised about the power of interactive learning exercises?

LearningWare: To whom would you recommend it & for what AllPlay application(s)?

Thiagi: Every trainer should become fluent with the use of AllPlay. It is a versatile tool that enables the creation of highly involving games in a matter of minutes. Games are just the tools to attract and hold the attention of the new, networked generation which gets easily bored by passive learning methodologies.