What are Games and Gamification?

The games culture has grown to include a substantial proportion of the world’s population, with the age of the average gamer increasing with each passing year. A 2012 survey conducted by the Entertainment Software Association showed that the age demographic of game players in the U.S. is split in almost equal thirds with people ages 18-35 representing 31% of gamers, along with roughly equal proportions among those younger than 18 and those older than 35. As tablets and smartphones have proliferated, desktop and laptop computers, television sets, and gaming consoles are no longer the only way to connect with competitors online, making game-play a portable activity that can happen in a diverse array of settings. Game play has long moved on from simply recreation and has found considerable traction in the worlds of commerce, productivity, and education as a useful (and engaging) training and motivation tool. While a growing number of educational institutions and programs are experimenting with game-play, there has also been increased attention surrounding gamification — the integration of gaming elements, mechanics, and frameworks into non-game situations and scenarios. Businesses have embraced gamification as a way to design incentive programs that engage employees through rewards, leader boards, and badges, often with a mobile component. Although more nascent than in military or industry settings, the gamification of education is gaining support among researchers and educators who recognize that it is well established that effectively designed games can stimulate large gains in productivity and creativity among learners.

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(1) How might this technology be relevant to the educational sector you know best?

  • address the 'motivation' agenda in all the ways we can! - dirk dirk Feb 10, 2014
  • provide feedback in new ways - gillysalmon gillysalmon Feb 6, 2014
  • provide an alternative approach to problem-based learning - dirk dirk Feb 10, 2014
  • Relevance – clever design can provide for 'learning by stealth' – the user actually enjoys the challenges and problem solving. Rewards achievement that can promote more learning through competition, collaboration, the narrative or even by drawing on the user’s emotions. - joanne.woodrow joanne.woodrow Feb 18, 2014
  • Significance of playful and low-risk exploration as a learning approach.

(2) What themes are missing from the above description that you think are important?

  • badges- gillysalmon gillysalmon Feb 6, 2014 - dirk dirk Feb 10, 2014
  • The darker corporate side of gamification as an exploitative (or lamely implemented) loyalty scheme or marketing approach - David.Cameron David.Cameron Feb 22, 2014
  • Are our mature aged learners motivated by gamification and badges? I know i'm not. i think it's a nice to have, but not a game-changer. I doubt whether the possibility of getting a digital badge is going to make a person do/try something that they may not have already decided to try. So it might help to improving the perception of the quality of the experience and their loyalty to the educational brand (well, services marketing theory would suggest so, and education is a service) by making an intangible experience a bit more tangible. But will it have any impact when it comes to getting a student to try something they don't want to do in any serious way? I have my doubts. - slambert slambert Feb 24, 2014

(3) What do you see as the potential impact of this technology on teaching, learning, or creative inquiry?

  • its probably about rethinking pedagogy = it kind of needs a 'MOOC push type revolution@ how can we do this push? - gillysalmon gillysalmon Feb 6, 2014
  • the problem is that serious games will always compete with commercial games. my studies on motivation within game-based learning environments show that the initial positive motivation is lost through to the missing excitement of serious games http://www.ifets.info/journals/17_1/5.pdf - dirk dirk Feb 10, 2014. It's the 'chocolate coated brocolli' syndrome that games designers talk about - how do you get the serious bit to be as engaging as the game bit, and, of course, the cost! - s2.vaughan s2.vaughan Feb 18, 2014 I agree totally with the 'chocolate coated brocolli' issue and do not think this is a huge game-changer, but i do think it is a nice-to-have - slambert slambert Feb 24, 2014
  • the difficulty of sourcing good designers for a challenging type of creativeness - writing games that interest, motivate and achieve outcomes...and come in on tight education budgets.[[user:joanne.woodrow|1392722278]* Greater consideration is being given to the technology-enhanced learning designs and collaborative problem-solving approaches that some games represent, rather than to co-oopting superficial interface mechanics into current LMS functionality. - David.Cameron David.Cameron Feb 22, 2014
  • I think that as a supplement to role-based learning, a rich gaming interface might make sense. And role-based learning is best applied to practicing the negotiations of complex issues and human interactions - the user can take on the role of a character and try out a number of techniques in a low-risk environment. Eg trainee doctor's working with stressed/emotional patients, trainee lawyers/mediators negotiating custody arrangement of children, trainee diplomats negotiating trade-deals. A role-play is the only way to try these things and to develop skills in a safe way, and a gaming environment could help make it real. So the pedagogical benefit is the anonymity and creation of a safe place to try out skills. But shoe-horning an online game onto teaching any set of discrete foundation level skills for example, why would you do it? It's not going to make it any more fun. - slambert slambert Feb 24, 2014 'Epistemic games' are an example of this connection to existing strategies like role-play or even educational drama where the 'game' is a digital pre-text for a more traditional role-play or problem-solving exercise.(see e.g. http://edgaps.org/gaps/)- David.Cameron David.Cameron Feb 24, 2014
  • integration of student game play as a context for learning, generating in game examples to contrast with instructional/real world examples, providing motivation and a simplified (game world) context that students may understand very well, having had to master an understanding to succeed in the game, can be compared to the more complex real world environment, e.g. flight simulation, political simulation, business simulation, etc. - j.zagami j.zagami Feb 26, 2014
  • student creation of games to simulate some aspect of the real world under study, having to understand the fundamental dynamics of the concepts to be modelled, and the challenges of realistically portraying an aspect of the real world, provides a rich learning experience. - j.zagami j.zagami Feb 26, 2014

(4) Do you have or know of a project working in this area?

The Reading Game (Project being developed at Macquarie University)

A question and answer game in which students, contribute questions and possible answers. The presentation of the questions, the points and rating system and how questions are answered is designed using game thinking and game mechanics rather than a traditional pedagogical model. The aim is to make it fun and challenging at the same time and also look nothing like any educational experience one would expect to be presented within contemporary learning management systems. The Reading Game is designed to encourage learners to become question-makers rather than question-takers.

The Reading Game is being developed as a Moodle plugin and is in beta release. sounds interesting- gillysalmon gillysalmon Feb 6, 2014 - dirk dirk Feb 10, 2014
Parker, R.L., Manuguerra, M. & Schaefer, B.F. (2013). The Reading Game – encouraging learners to become question-makers rather than question-takers by getting feedback, making friends and having fun. In H. Carter, M. Gosper and J. Hedberg (Eds.), Electric Dreams. Proceedings ascilite 2013 Sydney. (pp.681-684)
http://www.ascilite.org.au/conferences/sydney13/program/handbookproceedings.php - helen.carter helen.carter Feb 25, 2014

Carpe Diem MOOC from Swinburne...good go at some minor gamification elements
- gillysalmon gillysalmon Feb 6, 2014

Macquarie University. Three prototype games developed, each covering one of the three knowledge areas taught in Philosophy:
The Fallacies Game tasks students with identifying fallacies in a series of connected statements, using a drag-and-drop interface developed by the project team. Icons represent fallacies such as an "appeal to authority" statement or an "ad hominem" attack on a person rather than a response to their argument.
The Venn Card Game is a matching exercise that students can use to identify syllogistic arguments.
Citizen 66 is an Interactive Fiction game that is played as a quest within a narrative text-based structure.
http://staff.mq.edu.au/teaching/workshops_programs/fpp_overview/showcase/gamification/ - helen.carter helen.carter Feb 25, 2014