Ellis on playful living: "this is my personal library of what I've learnt so far while I'm still mischievously exploring..."

Ellis, play alchemist

Succesfull learning course for teachers co created!

07/07/2017 09:40

Together with Hieke Hoekstra and Ate de Boer we developed a course at Effectief Onderwijs and noordelijkonderwijsgilde.nl for teachers in special-needs education about digital teaching materials and tools. Our 16 participants explored many digitals tools and created their own research plan:

  • developed a research question based on their pupils needs and abilities
  • designed a pilot test to run
  • run a pilot test
  • created a video and presentation
  • wrote a report about their insights with recommendations for their organisation plus peers

A final magazine with reviews on different digital tools and providers has been created as a library to continue with as a team, one of biggest finding is that the way to get a tool is a first obstacle, to implement a tool second, but once you are interacting with the pupils, they very often surprise their teachers with their talents and abilities to explore these objects. Like my pupils surprised me happily during this course ; ) Read more


apply play, educational, english

QS 2017 Conference ‘My Health Scars’

16/06/2017 23:55

I’ll share my “quantified body” as tracked by my physical scars. The data on my scars includes date of the injury, size of the scar, impact of the scar, and healing time. (All scars are accidental, by the way.) quantifiedself.com Read more


art, data-visualisation, english, event, QS

How play elicits innovation

10/05/2017 18:10

Thanks to a temp. teaching job at the Amsterdam University College, I read this article:

Play in evolution and development” by Anthony D. Pellegrini, Danielle Dupuis and Peter K. Smith.

I love for instance this quote:  “… leading us to posit that play may be an important mechanism at the vanguard of behavioral innovation” in this article a lot more reasoning on the how and why. Read the complete article, or ask me next time we talk ; )




17/04/2017 10:10

Three years ago today I did a TEDx talk, and i’ve not been able to look at the video till today! I still agree with the message: we do need to play more! I personally will try (again) to make obstacles as challenges and find better balance in life. See the talk here (it is only 8 min)

Read more


Alice, apply play, english, event, favorite, game, gamification, serious

Double plus good Play

02/04/2017 11:18

I am a huge fan of Foooty, it’s a ball to play anywhere and anytime, since it fits in your pocket.

Recently at my birthday I received a Foooty+ as a gift. Double plus clever game design, inside the Foooty is a puzzle placed… really not that easy to figure out! Plus I love the simplicity of the round transparant ball with inside a transparant cube… contrasting yet matching perfectly. Love it!


apply play, braintraining, design thinking, english, favorite, play

Apply play

12/03/2017 11:04

For over 20 years I have been developing interactive and playful products. Through my work, I learned about designing motivational and persuasive games, and have been doing research and taught people one-on-one, in classes and through lectures about how to design play for impact. Now I wish to scale that message and allow it to find its audience. I hope to reach people who are trying to share their message and teach them how to engage an audience through play and games. They will discover how play empowers the audience to participate with a topic, which creates meaningful interaction.

Want to order the book Apply play • to get ahead of the game?

BUY HERE! or at Bol.com plus soon online for sale on Amazon.com in paperback and e-book.



Extra materials from inside the book to print for hands-on play:

Download the Game Concept Design Canvas for print >>

Download the Player Journey Canvas for print >>

Download the game elements Cheat Sheet for print >>



Alice, apply play, english, favorite

Pac-man is alive and kicking!

18/02/2017 13:23

As most people might know by now, I am a big fan of Pacman, and often talk about pacman when trying to explain the theory of gamedesign.

Now I am happy to announce that Paladin Studios made a tribute to Pacman in their game Galaga Wars. Read more about the how and what here >>

Read more


apply play, english, pacman, play

Once i was a product designer…

31/01/2017 23:12

About 7 years ago, I “designed” this ring, to be as cheap as possible, customisable in size on the spot, sold for one euro at Queens day in Amsterdam….

Found the photo just now, and it made me think of the magic circle as a model… also born approx. 7 years ago?


english, favorite

Interesting book Game Didactics (in Dutch)

30/01/2017 21:04


Boek: Gamedidactiek, het hoe en waarom van spellen in de les.

Beknopte samenvatting

Spellen en computergames worden steeds meer ingezet in de les. Gamedidactiek legt uit wat het nut van spellen in de les is. Waarom en hoe kun je spellen inzetten in je les?


learninggames.nl >>
databankgames.nl >>
gamesvooronderwijs.nl >>
MASS project >>
leerspellen.nl >>
Center for Games & Impact >>
gameplaylearn.com >>
Science Center >>
Room Recess >>
Wise Play >>
Portmantoo >>


apply play, educational

Workshop on teaching and learning with refugees

26/01/2017 20:14

For a project titled: ‘Acquiring Knowledge And Skills In Emergencies’  with  several organisations together (among these the Red cross and IJsfontein) I was asked to do a workshop with refugees in the Netherlands, to investigate their preference, needs and wants on how to be taught new knowledge or skills or how they would be able to bring their knowledge and experience while migrating.

For this we executed several interviews, plus a hands on workshop at an asylum near Barneveld. With 10 participants from Eritrea, Syria, Afghanistan and Ethiopia plus 3 translators, 2 volunteers and 2 employees of the organisation, we worked creating 5 worksheets to get a perspective and insights.

Worksheets: “Who I am”, “My Journey to get here today”, “What and how do I wish to teach or learn”. See some examples of their work below.

My biggest learning in this workshop was how eager the particpants were to engage, they are hungry for communication, collaboration and to share their experiences, with their peers, and with us Dutch hosts. Their past is certain defined and painfully clear but their future is so vague and unsure, so each conversation helps them create a more certain and solid future.

A quote from a volunteer: It touched me deeply, this young man missing his wife and eager to work or do anything here, but has not yet been in touch with any Dutch person outside the isolated asylum in 10 months time.





design thinking, educational, english, favorite, workshop