I strive to engage and support learning through games, escape experiences and game design.
Gaming, Learning and Library Specialist
I am a certified elementary school teacher and school librarian. I currently work as Coordinator of the School Library System and Media Services for an educational services agency that supports the libraries of 27 rural districts in western New York. I was named a 2015 Library Journal Mover and Shaker and am the co-author of Libraries Got Game (ALA, 2009) along with several books in the Teaching through Games Series (Rosen, 2015). I am also the designer of the award winning board game Freedom: The Underground Railroad (Academy Games, 2013).
Designs and Publications
Thoughts and play with education in mind
Create Interactive Stories in Twine
Learn how to create, code and share your own interactive stories using Twine. Marrying story development with coding, Twine based Interactive Stories created provides an avenue to build rich, narratives while learning accessible, natural-language based coding. This book walks teens through how to approach, create and code interactive stories using the popular Twine program.
Teaching the Underground Railroad Through Play
Rosen Publishing, 2015
Slavery is a sensitive topic in American history. This book provides resources and lesson plans for a week-long unit covering slavery, the Underground Railroad, and the abolition movement built around an award-winning board game. In Freedom: The Underground Railroad, students will take on the role of abolitionists helping slaves reach freedom in Canada. Background knowledge, primary source documents, and detailed lesson plans on teaching slavery and using the game provide full support for instruction. Customized Freedom mini-game scenarios designed by Brian Mayer and Christopher Harris. Game: Freedom: The Underground Railroad. Brian Mayer. Academy Games, 2013.
Freedom: The Underground Railroad
Academy Games, 2013
Freedom is an award winning card-driven, cooperative game for one to four players in which the group is working for the abolitionist movement to help bring an end to slavery in the United States. The players use a combination of cards, which feature figures and events spanning from Early Independence until the Civil War, along with action tokens and the benefits of their role to impact the game.
2013 Game of the Year - Drive-Thru Review
2013 Theme of the Year - De Tafel Plakt! (The Table Sticks)
2013 Board Game of the Year - The Wargamer
2013 Winner Best Historical Game - Club Fantasci Board Game Awards
2013 Winner Most Innovative Game - Club Fantasci Board Game Awards
2013 Winner Best New Designer - Club Fantasci Board Game Awards
2013 Winner Best Thematic Game - Board Game Quest Awards
2013 Winner Cooperative Game - Board Game Quest Awards
2013 Winner Best Co-op Game - Dice Tower Awards
2013 Winner Best New Designer - Dice Tower Awards
2013 Winner Best Game Theming - Dice Tower Awards
2014 General Strategy Nominee - International Gamers Awards
2014 Best Historical Game Nominee - Origins Awards
2013 Golden Geek Best Thematic Board Game Nominee - Board Game Geek
2013 Best Strategy Game Nominee - Dice Tower Awards
2013 Most Innovative Game Nominee - Dice Tower Awards
2013 Best Game of the Year Nominee - Dice Tower Awards
2013 Game of the Year Nominee - Club Fantasci Board Game Awards
2013 Best Co-Operative Game Nominee - Club Fantasci Board Game Awards
2013 Best Thematic Game Nominee - Club Fantasci Board Game Awards
Print and Play Game
Quark is a lighter weight card game based on particle physics. Players have two actions each turn they can use to collect quarks, decay quarks down into other quarks, annihilate quarks for energy or to create particles. Players attempt to influence and guide the swirling mass of the smallest bits of matter back together to form sub-atomic particles while also racing to build the biggest atom. At the end of the game, players score points for particles created, the best atom created and any energy they have left over.
Libraries Got Game: Aligned Learning through Modern Board Games
American Library Association, 2010
The high-profile topic of gaming in libraries gets thorough consideration from two educator-librarians, who explain exactly how designer board games—which are worlds apart from games produced strictly for the educational market—can become curricular staples for students of all ages. Drawing on their experience as game aficionados and developers of a nationally recognized program that brings games to school library media centers, the authors equip colleagues with everything they need to initiate a board game project with
Workshops and Keynotes
Professional Development, Student Workshops and Keynotes drawn from nine years of experience implementing games, design and escape rooms in classrooms and libraries across grade levels.
Games and Education
Engaging Curriculum Through Games
Games are a participatory resource that provide safe environments for students to explore different strategies for engaging with curriculum within a framework that provides context and meaning.
Game Design in Education
Rigorous Showcase of Content Mastery
Non-digital game design provides a project based approach to demonstrating content understanding and mastery. With varying entry points that range from just getting started to crafting original games, design gives students the opportunity to both practically apply curriculum while also giving a non-traditional approach to synthesizing their learning into creating something new.
Escaping into the Curriculum
Escape Rooms provide a narrative driven, non-linear learning space that requires players to work together through problems and obstacles. Through the blending of narrative and puzzles, escape rooms provide unique opportunity to allow students to explore and use their curricular skills.
Create and Code
Interactive Stories with Twine
Marrying story development with coding, Twine based Interactive Stories provides an avenue to build rich narratives, while learning accessible, natural-language based coding. Participants will learn the foundations of creating interactive story games, foundational coding concepts, and the tools and skills needed to create and share games using Twine.