A game is a game until it’s a history lesson

I don’t play a lot of people on Words with Friends but just a few to have some fun and to stay connected.  Oh, and the odd challenge or smash talking over words.

There are some people that can beat me with their eyes closed it seems.  For the most part, my games are fairly competitive.  I used to play it on my iPad but it’s so slow and crashes with applications that I seldom do anything with it.  Instead, I have moved to an old Android Smartphone which makes for an excellent replacement.

In the beginning, I thought that both of the games were the same.  Except that the Android versus had some new features, including daily coins, etc.  Since I started playing the game without them, I don’t use them and apparently have reached the maximum that you can collect.

I just enjoy playing the game.

I enjoy it even more with a new feature that showed up recently.  It’s a challenge to play against famous explorers.


Quite honestly, I had ignored the link until yesterday when it was pretty crumby weather around here and I was looking for something to do.  Lots of people beat me; why not let some AI get some gratitude on me.

I was surprised that the game board was a little different from normal which made for a more interesting game.  But my curiosity went over the top when I checked out the names of the explorers that I was playing.  I do remember studying Magellan in school but the rest were new to me.

So, I did what any curious learner would do.  I searched for them and did some engaging reading about each.  I love it!

Is this learning by happenstance?  Probably but I found it really interesting to head off on these tangents.

According to the scale, these were easy people to play against but that’s OK.  As I head up the ladder, there are more difficult players in my future.

Better than that though, there’s some new history to learn about and you can’t beat that.

Published by dougpete

The content of this blog is created by me at the keyboard or as a result of an aggregator of my daily reading under the title OTR Links. On Fridays, look for my signature post "This Week in Ontario Edublogs" where I try to share some great writing from Ontario Educators. The other regular post appears Sunday mornings as I try to start a conversation about things that have gone missing from our daily lives.

3 thoughts on “A game is a game until it’s a history lesson

  1. As I mentioned in my Twitter comment, I love that you chose to find out more about these historical figures. From a classroom perspective, I think about the value in sharing what you did with kids. Does this help create an environment of wonder? There’s still so much talk about inquiry in the classroom, and I think that an important component is creating an environment where we invite and expect children to share questions, ideas, and wonders. It’s about making inquiry more than just a project. I think that what you did could be the start of that. I’m curious to hear what others think.



  2. Thanks for the comment, Aviva. Throughout writing the post, I thought about the concepts behind gamification. Of course, this isn’t that principle by definition, but I was intrigued by something that I enjoyed doing led me to a bit of self-directed learning. Is it possible to do the same sort of thing with other activities?


  3. I love the word masters challenge – mostly because I’m impatient and like that it’s so quick but also the learning. Usually there’s a few or most of the people that I know and then a few that make me curious. Whoever creates these challenges ensures that they are not all ‘old white men.’ There are always women represented and a range of cultures. Some recent challenges were Famous Poets, Famous Inventors, and the cast of Princess Bride (no need for research there!)
    I think it would totally work to use this type of ‘gamification’ with units of study. How about one on Famous Teachers: Anne Sullivan, Aristotle, Maria Montessori, Jaime Escalante, Emma Willard…..


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