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Gamification in Teaching and Learning

“Time to take a break from work. Let’s play this game called Work.”

 

What is Gamification?

A business view of Gamification by John Broadbent

Gamification is a concept that allows for a non-game-based activity to use game elements in order to motivate persons to carry out tasks. For example in businesses, games are developed to allow persons to carry out their everyday tasks. While there are several business applications, I am longing to see much more research and application of the technology in teaching and learning. There have been some takers already.

 

What are Key Elements of Gamification?

There are several key elements of gamification. I have listed some here.

Element Description
Goals A clear idea of the outcome of the game is known by all.
Points Every activity carried out a score for completion.
Badges Badges are visible rewards for complete different levels of the game.
Ranking You can see how you rank among all participants of the game.

 

Motivation Players are motivated to achieve.
Competition Healthy rivalry challenges others to initiate new strategies to complete tasks.
Collaboration Teams rally their expertise to help each other to complete tasks.
Cool graphics The “gamified” experience is one that should be aesthetically pleasing.
Fun This is perhaps the main reason for gamification. A task that otherwise could be considered drudgery is made pleasurable.

 

Application to Education

Every time the term comes up, I want the students to participate in a “gamified” experience that will help them to overcome that particular troublesome topic. I want them to be so immersed in what they are doing that they do not even notice their surroundings, the time or the fact that this was a topic that they had shunned.

 

Where did I start my exploration?

 I started on Youtube. Cooper McNiece has given some tips to start the process.

 

So what will I have to do initially?

I have to change my mind set when planning my lessons. I must look at things from a gaming perspective.

  • Have a way to let players know the goals and timeline for the “gamified” experience.
  • Replace percentage scores with experience (XP) points.
  • Have places where players (students) can work with each other to complete tasks to get more points.
  • Award points and badges with each level of progress.
  • Have visuals with points, badges, progress bars and a record of what tasks have been completed and which have not all with user friendly messaging.

 

Next, I will need to examine first of all any tools that can create a game relatively quickly. I found a cool link.

http://gamesined.wikispaces.com/Game+Creation+Tools

 

What other topics could I explore? I can delve deeper in the following topics that I have only had surface knowledge about and see examples of how they can enhance my knowledge of game creation for my classes.

  • Location Based Games

http://venturebeat.com/2014/03/01/location-based-mobile-games-how-apps-like-in-a-space-help-developers-earn-millions-while-kids-learn-their-geography/

  • Augmented Reality

http://www.digitalbuzzblog.com/top-10-augmented-reality-examples/

  • Transmedia Storytelling

http://www.tstoryteller.com/transmedia-storytelling

  • Bunchball (they have worked in the area from the beginning)

http://www.bunchball.com/gamification

  • The Initial Research (Deterding et. al)

http://85.214.46.140/niklas/bach/MindTrek_Gamification_PrinterReady_110806_SDE_accepted_LEN_changes_1.pdf

 

In the next 5 months or so, I would like to have a prototype with which to work.

 
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Posted by on April 19, 2014 in Uncategorized

 

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Video

Emerging Technologies and Privacy

“Do I really want all that hanging out there?”

Having watched several YouTube videos on Pranav Mistry’s Sixth Sense, as well as Google Glass and observed persons using regular smart phones, the issue of privacy can arise when thinking about picture and video media creation and communication. With the click of a button, a picture or a video can be made, even modified and uploaded to a social media site. If it is made public, especially without the person’s knowledge, there is really no way to get that memory back. In another area of use, persons might divulge all their business in communication with others. Some of the content might not be fit for air play. For persons thinking in a socially responsible manner, ideas about misdeeds using the technology may be furthest from their minds. They want to see the technology advancing such areas as health, education and many others and think of uses with that in mind. However, what do we do when persons violate privacy rights?

Sixth Sense:

Benefits of the Devices When media can be placed into the right hands it can be beneficial. Some benefits of these communication, picture and video media capturing devices include:-

  • Capturing important moments.
  • Allowing viewing and playback right away.
  • Permitting the addition of captions and special effects (with the right apps).
  • Sharing of recorded media with family and friends.
  • Inclusion of persons in other geographical locations to get in on the action. (No travel costs or leaving the comforts of home).
  • Looking “cool”. (As one person says, people can “show off” with them).

Ethical Issues with Conversations and Media Capture

Many of us have gotten used to ignoring persons on mobile phones, though it can be a little annoying when you realize the person using the device is not addressing you. There are times when the nature of the conversations can be traumatic. Do I really want to hear a conversation about your drama? I have had a long day at work and I just want some peace and quiet. There will be more of that to tackle with the advent of these other devices.  

Man playing a prank on others using Google Glass:

Unfortunately, not everyone will observe ethical guidelines in their dealings. Some live to push the limits without any care as to whether they violate person’s privacy rights or not. There may be many more of those persons in the future since so many are using the technology to shift the ethical limits in the name of liberty. They will still snap a picture or create a video and tell you that it is their property. Even with you in it. They will still upload it to a social media site. Ethical guidelines still need to be set to protect the innocent and there will still be persons who will uphold them—for the greater good. Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.

How to Defend yourself from Privacy Violations?

  • Strive to be on your best behavior.
  • Do the reverse. Play act all the time. (Except when dealing with your boss. You might get fired.)
  • Invest in a sensor that can alert you when someone is about violate your privacy (This one does not yet exist. Maybe you can create the blueprint).
  • Verbally appeal to the better nature of individuals who you can speak with.
 
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Posted by on April 19, 2014 in Uncategorized

 

Innovations: Decisions of Investors & Customers

 “Shall I put money into this thing?”

 

Liz Van Steenburgh – Dreamstime Stock Photos

I am no investment pundit so this is definitely not a “how to” for stock market investment. I simply wanted to know if everyone was rushing to invest in emerging technologies.  I took a glance at a few popular US venture capitalists who had been investing in social networks as well as other ventures and what was their response over the past year. For many, a simple choice is what makes the difference.

 

Find one article here:

http://connection.ebscohost.com/c/articles/86169612/venturing-forth-cautiously

(It may require logging into EbscoHost).

 

Emerging Technologies Investors

Last year, it was reported that some key investors such as New York’s Fred Wilson, prominent venture capitalist, did not make any investments in emerging technologies. A few others also held back. Some persons may have wanted an explanation, especially novice investors. Was something amiss? Or was it just a freedom of choice? Will persons always choose to put their money into emerging technologies? I have not had conversation with them. I cannot give you an answer.

 

Venture capitalists may choose for various reasons not to invest in emerging technologies even though they are of benefit to the general public. Sometimes they may be cautious seemingly without reason. They may simply have a temperamental nature. They may be operating on business intuition. Whatever the reason, investment is a risky business and persons may simply choose to live by learning. The thing is, when investments are made in one area, a “get-rich-quick” mentality ought not to rule. Tell that to young investors. They may be headstrong and have a desire to make millions. More seasoned investors may tell them to take it easy and diversify their portfolio. Stay safe. They may choose not to take that advice. Choose.

Emerging Technologies Customers

With the fanaticism for acquiring the latest mobile devices, comes the analogy of little boy Johnny who wants a new toy, say a new bike. He will stop at nothing to get this toy. If we think about the technology as a “toy”, individuals can buy emerging technology gadgets or software.  We also have our small businesses which have been pressed to keep up with the technology race. They want all their employees to find a way to use the new technology. Never mind that many times there is no training in the specific area. Schools and universities all want apps and hardware that can facilitate learning. And then our large corporations want to merge the technology with their business dealings to give “oomph” to their bottom line.

 

What are the Implications for Inventors?

Emerging technologies do not fund themselves, especially the ones that customers can access for free. Having read the biographies of many of the technology giants, I have noticed that their great ideas do not go away and even if one product does not work well with the market, many inventors will continue to look for ways to be relevant and work at something new. They will seek out investors and sometimes they may have a hard time finding them and other times things might just flow on a monetary high. Investors will decide which areas to invest in. When inventors release their products, persons will make a choice to partake and will pay good money to facilitate their desire to keep up with the times.

 

As a customer, I may not get caught up in the “new device madness rush” but if I want a new toy–a gadget or software, I will pay.  After a short time if that toy does not integrate into my daily life, it will be discarded. Something else will catch my eye and I will decide whether to buy or not but, like with investors and  customers, it is going to be my choice.

 
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Posted by on April 19, 2014 in Investment

 

Social Motivations in Game Playing

Jon Helgason – Dreamstime Stock Photos

Games are fun. They allow persons to be engaged in another world, however, long or short that time might be. Let us look at some social motivations for game playing.

Collaboration

Gamers usually gain new ideas from a collaborative effort. Many minds come together on a particular topic and a problem may be able to be solved more strategically or faster when everyone gives a response to the challenge/task at hand. Once discussions are held, the best solutions can then be decided upon.

Competition

All games have some kind of incentive and give points and/or other rewards for achieving goals set out in the game. Many, if not all, players are driven to get ahead of the next person, level-wise, on the ranking table while they strive for the current incentives at a particular level in the game.

Mutual Response

In a game, if someone attacks, it may very well spur you on to prepare a counterattack. If other players assist you in some way, you may want to return the favor.

Sharing Experiences

When playing games, many game designers offer areas in the game or maybe use some social networking facility to allow players to share the experiences they had, strategies they used and other gaming tips and tricks.

Socializing & Networking

Most games call fellow players, friends. And so they are. They may not meet around a social topic, however they still relate to persons and possibly gain opportunities to make new friends through current friends.

 

Here is the link to a video that summarizes social motivators in gaming. (It runs a bit quickly so you may want to pause it where necessary.)

http://animoto.com/play/MtpKNo80dnXGb9a70GZlbg

 

 
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Posted by on February 24, 2014 in Uncategorized

 

Collaboration, Gaming and the Bottom Line

 

Andres Rodriguez – Dreamstime Stock Photos

Team Playing in the Real World

Poised to start production at the beginning of the work week, many employees face their aspect of the job alone, dread the mundane set of assigned tasks to be accomplished, and long for the day when their jobs would give them fulfillment. Office talk often leads to how productive they have been in a variety of games in which collaboration and team-play are facilitated and where they feel a sense of control. They dream of the time when somehow they could gain job satisfaction through similar means, for the truth has been that team playing in many organizations has been a drudgery especially when projects dragged on for too long. Many bosses, have appreciated the good business relations among staff members, lauded those who accomplished tasks on schedule, and been proud of those who worked to achieve productivity within the workplace. Some have, however, released verbal whips on staff members when many of the mundane tasks, which they believed, when performed, would allow the organization to be more profitable, get set aside even when deadlines are unrealistic. Their main concern: the bottom line.

What Do Games Have to Offer Businesses?

Games deliver a non-traditional way for working. We have seen the caliber of games dramatically improve over the past few years. Players are guided by an interesting story arc. They are offered a fun, entertaining, exciting world in which to carry out tasks, yet with adequate challenge, allowing them to compete on tasks or complete tasks with other participants. Games provide a facility for individuals to be immersed into another world, work in teams and gain rewards for achievements while being there, including team building. Team members have the ability to help others and may even get rewards for doing so and they gain wise ideas from those with whom they “work”.

Game Design—A Contributing Factor to Profitability

Game designers spend much time in developing a product that impacts a particular market. For business gaming, the company’s general objectives and the job descriptions of each individual can be expressed in quantifiable terms. Flow of information can be assessed and then games created with all the elements a business needs to function. Couple that with an interesting story world and have the players go through virtual job interviews to position them in the company. Already persons are clear on their tasks and personal objectives. Factor in the team aspect of the job. Let players know or be able to discover what is needed (inputs) for the tasks. Set realistic deadlines for completion of tasks whether a person was working solo or in teams. They ought to know what is expected of them (outputs) to complete the tasks but they can have the autonomy of developing the methodology (processing). There may be some items that they will need to keep (storage) to carry the story line along. Clearly outline what rewards can be achieved and at what levels and keep them striving to level up. Many games already require skills that are needed on the job for collaborative work. Factor in the fun. Let players know what prize they are aiming for. Leave them to figure out how to put their skill set to good use in the game working with others (an aspect of trust). Offer support features through the game design but implement other features to have team members use and document best practices on tasks. Expert knowledge can be harnessed quite readily. On a broader scale, think what can happen when the game is released to all its players nationwide or worldwide. Get rid of the uncertainty in the virtual workplace by giving everyone a task that is manageable, throw in the risk factor and already business will begin to look up because the staff can be fully engaged and focus on the real task at hand. Profits will definitely increase as players know what is expected of them and can accomplish their roles in a fun way.

Unrealistic Human Resource Management in The Real World

In the real world, there is a lot of interruption, surprisingly even from management. A myriad of e-mails, phone calls, impromptu meetings, and excessive text messages from the job block the productivity of workers. Workers are still expected to carry out their regular functions. Interruptions cost time. In a game environment all those would be able to be controlled. The gaming world has a lot of rules, yet persons may be more comfortable with those than having a boss watching over their shoulder wanting to catch them doing something wrong. Even if there was a representation of that kind of a boss in the game the player can look at it as just a game and get reward from other aspects of the game. The game will automatically promote persons based on their achievements. Promotion is not affected by mean, subjective bosses who are “out to get you” if they do not like you. Another aspect of the human element is that games are constantly collecting statistics therefore it can be easy to analyze with a view of who will need to be motivated. Furthermore, much feedback is given along with the rewards. With collaboration, team members can have access to each members’ statistics and can help them in time of need. (Training/retraining is always accessible). When one player is unable to produce, for whatever reason, it may only cost in that period of play. Errors can be corrected because it will be expected that players may be injured or die. The person will “resurrect” the next time the game restarts. The costs in the game are not detrimental in team play. It is only a game and persons may not hold grudges for long periods of time since actions may differ from day to day and the game will continue. If a player dies, it will not be for forever.

Collaboration—Contribution to Profitability

The players of business games are working together in order that company to be lucrative. If it is they may very well benefit through bonuses and other incentives. What contributes to profitability?

  • Players work together to formulate strategies that can get things done in a fraction of the time.
  • Projects are planned properly and each player knows his responsibility and yet can fill in for others because the training material are available for them to work with. It will take them out of their comfort zone but they would be able to manage.
  • Ideas generated and solutions quickly identified by the group can be pooled together and the best responses can be used to increase productivity.
  • Players (our employees) are engaged and focused on the immediate task, even willing to work overtime, and are well aware that they are needed by the other team members to take future actions to keep the game going.
  • In addition to team collaboration, putting teams to compete against each other can strengthen collaboration within the team lending itself to efficiency, a livelier workplace environment.
  • Players can define their roles ahead of time, their skill set can properly complement these tasks so that even when they are thrust into areas to fill gaps left by other players who are down, stretched out of their comfort zone, then can still function well as there will be training material and virtual classes that will allow them to develop skills in time.
  • When workers are motivated to keep on task and they spend more time working and sales and profitability will be positively affected.
  • If some things go wrong in a game, it will not be wrong forever. Corrections can be made within days as checks and alerts will already be in place.

Money making within the game can translate to real rewards on the “outside”. When players produce, the company achieves much. Players can get really serious about having fun.

 
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Posted by on February 24, 2014 in Uncategorized

 

Welcoming Emerging Technologies!

John Valentini – Dreamstime Stock Photos

Throughout the years, the hearts of humans have dared to dream about technologies that would take us into the future. Among them, is the father of computers, Charles Babbage. While Babbage worked assiduously to complete his documentation for his devices, some sat around and ridiculed him. He never did get to see his machines built in his lifetime. Years later, when the grand devices were built, it was said that there were no errors in the plans.

We continue to laud those who spend sleepless nights dreaming and allowing those dreams to become reality, bringing this world all sorts of technology to facilitate ease of living.

Emerging technologies take us on a journey…where will they lead us?

 
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Posted by on February 14, 2014 in Uncategorized