GLS Conference Session Format Descriptions


Interactive workshops are 45- or 90-minute sessions during which presenters engage the audience in collaboratively working out a problem (most commonly, a design or instructional challenge or an analysis of data). They are highly participatory and include discussion and/or debriefing following the activity. Although the structure of each workshop is up to the discretion of the presenters, we encourage hands-on, interactive sessions that focus on the use and/or implications of games in everyday classrooms, informal learning environments, and beyond.


Symposium sessions are groups of two 30-minute presentations or three 20-minute presentations that are thematically related. Each symposium concludes with a (30-minute) period of Q&A; from the audience, but we especially welcome presentations that maintain a high level of engagement and interaction among participants throughout. Symposia focus on selected topics considered important to the understanding of games, learning, and society. Presenters within symposia are encouraged to discuss their presentations among the symposium group beforehand in order to build on common themes and to arrange a respondent for their presentations in advance.

Individual Presentation:

Like symposium sessions, individual presentation sessions include either two 30-minute presentations or three 20-minute presentations. (Occasionally, if the topic warrants it, we will go up to 4 presentations total, but this is rare.) Unlike symposia, however, each individual presentation session is also assigned a Respondent whose job it is to comment on the presentations and brainstorm issues they collectively raise. Again, we especially welcome presentations that maintain a high level of engagement and interaction among participants; however, it is especially up to the Respondent to promote interaction among the authors and audience by guiding the follow-up discussion. Proposals for individual presentations, therefore, should focus on the contents of their talk and leave the rest to us.

Fireside Chats:

These 90-minute special sessions are designed to enable informal discussion among smaller groups on specific topics of interest. Oftentimes at conferences, attendees have little chance to personally interact with key conference participants and/or colleagues with shared interests. Our goal of hosting fireside chats is to enable just such informal sociability. Each session will be organized either by special guest (e.g. James Paul Gee) or by theme (e.g. the low-down on "game addiction" theory and research). Looks like an official version of chatting up colleagues? Precisely.

Chat 'n' Frag Session:

These 90-minute sessions enable interested game researchers, designers, aficionados and fans a chance to engage other conference participants in their selected game (off-the-shelf titles or grassroots designed), providing activities or walk-thruís related to key questions and ideas chosen by the session host. The structure and content of these sessions is at the discretion of the host, although sessions that include thoughtful game analysis and hands-on play are encouraged.


A 90-minute moderated conversation between two or more participants on a key issue related to conference themes. While such sessions occasionally include slides, their function is primarily to structure the conversation or illustrate specific points rather than providing the backbone of the talk per se. Audience participation plays a core role in such sessions; with the help of the moderator, speakers are asked to elaborate on topics that emerge from the interaction rather than only those define in advance. In your proposal, please provide an overview of the session, including an argument as to why the chosen debate topic is important and relevant, and the names and bios of each individual participant (both debaters and the moderator).

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