See our Seminars page for regular Teaching and Scholarship seminars. For specific events with BTLE participation, watch this space...

Past Events

Transition to Higher Education
Thursday 28th June 2018
RSB Biosciences Learning and Teaching Workshop, Faculty of Biology, Medicine and Health, University of Manchester
Set Chong and Pen Holland (speakers)

How can we use games and play to encourage students to become active participants in creative learning?
Friday 22nd June 2018
Pen Holland and Katie Smith (workshop organisers)
University of York Learning and Teaching Conference

The most important thing in developing life-long learners is not how they learn, but that they learn because they want to. This workshop will discus how we can harness the desire to play via games and gamification - the embedding of game mechanics or motivational techniques in a non-game environment - and use games as a platform on which to practice research skills, to offer students an opportunity to learn in an uninhibited, independent and personalised way without fear of failure. Delegates will have the opportunity to play with some case study games and activities, primarily in the Biosciences but with general applications. The workshop will finish with audience discussion around the pros, cons and potentiall applications of this approach for students and educators in HE education.

#YorkLT18 #gamesandplay @YorkBTLE

Details of the workshop and a Panopto recording of the presentation (University of York log-in required) can be found on the York Forum webpage.

Celebrating Cake & Craft in STEM
Wednesday 11th October 2017
2.30 - 4.30 pm (drop in or stay a while)
K Block Atrium, Department of Biology, University of York

Like-minded individuals applying their STEM talents to the art of baking and crafts brought science themed cupcakes and mathematical meringues to share, and spent an hour knitting a numbat, painting a peptostreptococcus, quilting a quaternary arch, or borrowing a crochet hook and starting their own amigurumi STEM role model library or coral reef. Cake and chat top priority.

Ada Lovelace Day is an international celebration of the achievements of women in science, technology, engineering and maths which aims to increase the profile of women in STEM and create new role models for both girls and women studying or working in STEM. This independently organised Ada Lovelace Day event is part of a global celebration of women in STEM. To find out more about other events around the world, and more about Ada Lovelace Day itself, please visit or follow @findingada on Twitter.

It was also Biology Week! This is an annual celebration of the amazing world of biosciences, for everyone from children to professional scientists. Visit the Royal Society of Biology Biology Week 2017 calendar to find other events, follow @RoyalSocBio on Twitter, and see the Physiological Society BioBakes competition!

#ALD2017 #BiologyWeek #bakeyourscience #BioBakes
#craftyourscience #cakeandcraft #womeninSTEM 

HUBS workshop: Learning through games and play
Wednesday 19th July 2017
Pen Holland and Katie Smith (workshop organisers)
Department of Biology, University of York

This workshop on learning through games and play was hosted by Dr Pen Holland and Dr Katie Smith at the University of York. Staff from York (Biology, Health Sciences and the Hull York Medical School) were joined by delegates from academia and scientific education travelling the length of the UK  and from overseas.

The keynote speaker was Dr Louise Robinson from the University of Derby, who engaged the audience on the convergent evolution of games and education. She introduced ideas of flow (complete immersion) and gamification, and gave numerous examples of how to incorporate games and game mechanics into teaching in higher education, to change student behaviour and improve engagement and learning.

Micro sessions were led by Dr Pen Holland (York: using Lego to learn sampling and analysis for ecology), Dr John L. Morton (South Wales: using jigsaws to interest biology students in biochemistry), Sam Butcher (Labster: enhancing bioscience courses through gamified laboratory simulations), Dr Mel Lacey (Sheffield Hallam: gamification in the first year, and creating an app), and Dr Louise Robinson (Derby: Park Life, a board game for conservation). Although these represented a wide range of angles from which to approach games and play, a number of common topics became apparent. Key among these were the promotion of teamwork among students, improved attendance and engagement with the course, and the opportunity and freedom to fail safely.

Plenty of time was built into the schedule for conversation, and this was kick-started by a riotous game of delegate Top Trumps, using information about areas of bioscience interest, favourite games, etc. One way to get started with games in teaching is to use a game that you like and know well, and think about how it can be adapted to be a teaching tool. To this end, a range of card and board games were available for delegates to play with and talk about over lunch and coffee. The day finished with group discussions about the use of games for teaching and scholarship in the biosciences on an individual and an institutional level. The mix of listening and doing in an informal atmosphere made the day a great success, and everyone went home with new friends and new ideas.