This is a small selection of writings by me (or about me) that I believe are the most interesting.

If you’re a teacher looking for a good understanding of the principles of game-based learning, including ways you can turn your lessons into games, scroll down to my seminal article “Composition Games in the Classroom.”



EdSurge: "Game On: How Four Community College Professors Spawned the CUNY Games Network"

Even EdSurge is writing about us! Their article provides an excellent overview of how I brought game-based learning to the City University of New York.


BrainPOP: Game-based Learning Design Workshop

BrainPOP and Game-Based Learning NYC team up to offer New York City designers and educators a game design workshop—featuring Joe’s unique card game What’s Your Game Plan?


Daily Edventures

Joe discusses the innovations of game-based pedagogy, common obstacles for students, and the need for teacher professional development in Microsoft’s blog about heroes in education.


Composition Games for the Classroom-BannerCrop

Composition Games for the Classroom

Published in Computers and Composition Online, Spring 2012.

Teachers should be able to design their own simple, non-digital games! This easy-to-read, highly visual web essay offers a summary of the core principles of game-based learning (Gee and Prensky), followed by a list of commercially available games for composition classes, then Joe’s original classification system for designing educational games called “Complex Mechanics.” Although the example games are for writing classes, the theories he describes are interdisciplinary. Read about the essentials of educational game design in one essay. (Teachers from all fields have told him that they appreciate his system because it provides them with a method for using their existing lessons.)


Diplomacy and Writing, or: Everything I Needed to Know About World Domination I Learned in English Composition

The idea is simple: take the Diplomacy World War I board game—a game of pure persuasion and rhetoric—and use it to help emerging writers learn the art of thesis-driven writing. Contains reflections on our successes and failures, as well as two semesters of sample exercises and videos. (Co-authored with Carlos Hernandez.)


The birth of a community, the death of the win: Player production of the Middle-earth Collectible Card Game


Published in Transformative Works and Cultures, no. 2, 2009.

Once the publisher Iron Crown Enterprises lost their license to the Middle-earth Collectible Card Game (MECCG), the fan player community stepped forward, and kept the game running unofficially. This lead to greater fan design of the components of the game, a more casual playing environment, and the “death of the win.” Includes a brief history of collectible card games and the great appeal of J.R.R. Tolkien’s world. Also, philosophical ruminations on the purpose of a competitive playing environment in general.

U2 Conference Pic-Crop

Yeats, U2 and Imaginative Experience

Published in Kritikosan international and interdisciplinary journal of postmodern cultural sound, text and image Vol. 7 (September-October 2010)

“O may the moon and sunlight seem/ One inextricable beam.” A close reading of Yeats’ poem “The Tower” and U2’s song “Lemon,” that shows a similar mythology of symbols between Irish poet Yeats and Irish singer Bono (such as the imagination, the female, the sun and the moon).