Why board

games are more



fun and


After putting on their creativity caps, the teams work on board game concepts during the workshop on table-top and electronic games.

Building a structure with a marshmallow, tape, string and spaghetti? Easy, say the guys who won the Marshmallow Challenge during the board game workshop. They are David Risinamhodzi, Isaac Takaidza, Lance Bunt and Japie Greeff.

Staff members attending the workshop are at the back Lance Bunt, Japie Greeff, Monique du Plessis, Prof Seugnet Blignaut, Marie Preston and Veruschka Pelser-Carstens. In the middle are Dr Carolina Islas Sedano, Prof Dawid Jordaan, Tanja Eksteen and Liana Venter. In front are Dr Verona Leendertz, Carin Venter, Marelise van der Westhuizen and Noory Yusuf.

If you only think of board games in terms of time well spent with family and friends, roll the dice again. Board games and their development play a vital role in how the new generation of learners, the so-called millennials, learn and acquire new information and skills.


In light of this, a very successful workshop on table-top and electronic board games was recently held at the NWU’s campus in Vanderbijlpark, courtesy of the newly established research niche area Technology Enhanced Learning and Innovative Education and Training in South Africa (TELIT-SA).


Prof Seugnet Blignaut, who heads the TELIT-SA team, says the workshop not only motivated participants to create table-top games, but also reinforced existing skills in terms of creating innovative and creative teaching and learning strategies.


Curious and playful

World-renowned gaming expert and enthusiast Dr Carolina Islas Sedano from the University of Eastern Finland (UEF) was the workshop facilitator. On her LinkedIn profile, Carolina describes herself as a context advocate, a curious and playful learner and an entrepreneur at heart – all characteristics which came to the fore during the workshop.


One of the activities on the agenda was the “Marshmallow Challenge” that dared participants to build the tallest freestanding structure possible, using sticks of spaghetti, tape, string and a single marshmallow. This particular challenge focused on developing skills such as teamwork, conceptual and spatial skills, creativity and innovation.


Carolina’s main research interests include using technology innovatively to achieve outcomes or experiences that would otherwise not be possible. She also explores ways of using technology to create meaningful and enjoyable playing-learning experiences, and takes the environment into account in playing-learning applications.


The workshop participants have requested a follow-up workshop to explore and investigate the effectiveness of using board games in teaching and learning.