In Episode 39, Kathryn and Theresa talked to Dr. Tina Huynh, an assistant professor of music education at the University of Puget Sound, in Tacoma, Washington. Currently, Tina teaches undergraduate and graduate courses in music education. Previously, Tina taught elementary general music in Southern California. In this interview, Tina shares how she used student-created games to create learner-centered experiences in her music classes. 

Episode 39: Student created games for student centered learning

Tina was looking for a way for students to take more ownership of their music learning. By having them create games related to the content they were learning, students could demonstrate how well they knew the content. 

“Maybe if we had a situation where it was more like a living room and we were playing games, it would be more relaxed so the students could do whatever they wanted with the music…really take ownership of what they learned.”

  • Students worked together to determine the type of game they would create, the rules, the materials needed, and how someone could win the game. Some groups created a board game, while others created a digital game. 
  • Tina noticed both musical and social-emotional benefits from the game creation, as students had to work together, solve problems, and compromise. After the class played the newly created games, students reflected on their process and learning. 
  • Tina also shares a great strategy for getting to know students, by having everyone create a poem about oneself. 

For teachers interested in trying a student-created game unit, Tina recommends starting with a full class game, and then having small groups create their own games. She also found the book, Reality is Broken: Why Games Makes Us Better and How They Can Change the World, by Jane McGonigal, very inspiring. It helped her frame the game creation unit. 

Be sure to check out the full interview on YouTube, listen to it on your favorite podcast app or right here, on Anchor!

To connect with Tina and learn more about her work, check out her website:

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