Activities Learning and Teaching Grants Stories

Learning and Teaching Grant: Freestyle Socials

Bryan Koivisto, Professor

Anthony Morgan, Science Educator and PhD Candidate

Organic Chemistry

Bryan Koivisto, who teaches organic chemistry at Toronto Metropolitan University, collaborated with Anthony Morgan to digitize and bring Freestyle Social into the classroom with the LTG grant.

In a Freestyle Social, a question is asked and players are given 10 seconds to form an answer. Then, they move to whichever side they agree with and each side gets to explain to their opponent why they chose their answer. If someone changes their mind through the explanation, they are allowed to switch sides. 

Since everything moved online when the pandemic struck, Bryan decided to do the same with Freestyle Social. According to Bryan, students come to their organic chemistry classes with a predefined opinion. They develop a fight or flight response to the course which limits their thinking. Freestyle Social is a great tool for students to fearlessly explore organic chemistry while expanding critical thinking skills.

A large part of the LTG grant went to developing the digital platform to play Freestyle Social in an online setting. The pair looked to the American Association of Colleges and Universities to evaluate their approach. The AACU developed rubrics for assessing critical thinking, enquiry and analysis, and several different domains tied to academic performance. With these resources, they were able to assess whether playing this game actually improves academic performance in real measurable ways.

According to Bryan, Freestyle Social is transferable between different disciplines.