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?

  • game-play works with the current trends of changing the teacher from being the expert to more inquiry based learning. game-play is not talking about playsheets which just gamify doing rote tasks, but rather learning through the exploration of the game. With the common core bringing computerized testing, more schools will have the capability to have game-play for their students to discover the learning. Rather than a flipped teaching model of just watching a video, the game-play allows for the student to discover the learning. - mrskeeler mrskeeler Feb 28, 2013- deirdre.butler deirdre.butler Mar 5, 2013
  • gamification, applying the gaming mechanics rather than playing games, is popular amongst teachers in the forms of badges. Especially as more and more companies are providing badges (see the Denny's app) it is a natural extension that this trend goes to the classroom. As consumers become more aware of different badging systems, educators will be able to feel comfortable applying this to student motivation. - mrskeeler mrskeeler Feb 28, 2013
  • - davidwdeeds davidwdeeds Mar 2, 2013 I'm happy to see that "Virtual Worlds" and "Games/Gamification" are being considered separately here, because one of my constant struggles is distinguishing between the two categories...for administrators, teachers...and students! Virtual Worlds are #2 on my Top Ten List, Games are #3. In a K-12 environment, one of the hardest things to get kids into is collaboration. Virtual worlds are good for this, but not great...I consider them to be more of a means to teach project management. Nothing beats games for motivating kids, both for individual and team efforts. - deirdre.butler deirdre.butler Mar 5, 2013The concept of badges is a distinct item on our list, but I fold this concept under Games/Gamification.
  • Simulations, game play and virtual demonstrations allow for greater understanding of concepts. - deirdre.butler deirdre.butler Mar 5, 2013There are now many apps for the iPad that add significant value to learning. Just found a new game to keep the chores moving at home. http://www.chorewars.com/help.php- michael.lambert michael.lambert Mar 4, 2013~- oysteinjohannessen oysteinjohannessen
  • Games/Gamification has been constantly growing here in Brazil. We still lack games in Portuguese, but this doesn't decrease the number of projects arising. One great way of working with games is having students design their own games (game workshops). This has been done with Scratch, for example, and there are many other easy to use tools that can be explored. It is definitely a huge topic to look at.- cristiana.mattos cristiana.mattos Mar 5, 2013
  • Gamification is highly integrated into online courseware. The Nashville Public Schools virtual high school student center is actually in SecondLife. - kecia.ray kecia.ray Mar 6, 2013

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

  • I think the failure to specifically mention badges is missing. The short term the badging is what is going to be the gateway to gamification, but that will lead into mastery learning (stars of mastery like in Angry Birds), progress bars instead of grades, leveling, collaborative learning (such as in World of Warcraft or other role playing games which include teaming up with others who lack the players strengths in order to accomplish the task), etc... - mrskeeler mrskeeler Feb 28, 2013- cristiana.mattos cristiana.mattos Mar 5, 2013
  • - davidwdeeds davidwdeeds Mar 2, 2013 This is implied in the description, but it's worth stating explicitly: This is what kids are doing anyway! Nothing completes the teacher transition from "sage on the stage" to "guide on the side" quite like every 12-year-old knowing more about, e.g., Minecraft than you do! (That's "reciprocal learning" for you PhD candidates.) ;)- cristiana.mattos cristiana.mattos Mar 5, 2013 I totally agree. I have just started a project with Minecraft with our 9th graders and they really blew me away with how much they know!
  • Gaming and app simulations intertwine. Have a look at this app that teaches surgeons: http://www.psfk.com/2013/03/surgeon-teaching-ipad-app.html - michael.lambert michael.lambert Mar 5, 2013
  • I mentioned last year that I struggle with the fact that we've lumped games and gamification into the same category, as I seem them as two distinct entities. Gamification of learning is much different from learning with online or gesture based games. - kari.stubbs kari.stubbs Mar 6, 2013
  • I think that in the future we'll see much more work in gathering assessment data through game play - which decisions to students make over the course of tackling obstacles within a game and how can that information inform future teaching and learning. - kari.stubbs kari.stubbs Mar 6, 2013
  • Games and gamification are interesting with regard to embedded formative assessment ~- oysteinjohannessen oysteinjohannessen
  • I've argued before that School is already a game with a goal, rules, feedback and voluntary participation (Jane McGonigal's definition). We can use game analysis to find flaws in the existing game of school. Predominantly the existing rules have been designed to manage scarce resources of teacher time. To fully take advantage of digital abundance (content, computing power, assessment, data) the rules much be changed -- the fact that school is a game remains. A simple example: In a typical video game you can return to a save point if you fail to defeat the boss monster. That way you can immediately try again. But in the game of school if you fail the final exam it's game over -- reset and start the whole class over. The reason for this rule is that it's too demanding on teacher resources to allow multiple tries at the final exam. But if exams are computer managed (composition from a question bank, administration and scoring) then there's little cost to the institution to allow multiple tries. You can generate many more examples as soon as you start analyzing school as an existing game that could be improved. - brandt.redd brandt.redd Mar 7, 2013

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

  • The impact on learning is the look at increasing student motivation and not just on teaching a better lesson. How do we design the classroom environment to engage learners rather than just try to create and engaging lesson. It is the structure of the classroom that is redesigned. This puts a focus on the students mastering concepts rather than covering them, giving individual and public recognition of accomplishments, allowing for choice and individualization of the curriculum. - mrskeeler mrskeeler Feb 28, 2013 Perfect. And I add to that the students learn how to plan, design, test and tweak ideas, basically going through the engineering process (the E in STEM). - cristiana.mattos cristiana.mattos Mar 5, 2013
  • - davidwdeeds davidwdeeds Mar 2, 2013 When I teach, I teach Technology classes...so games represent the proverbial gold mine for me. I have to time my restroom visits around break times, because otherwise I'll have 10 kids nagging me about when they can start Minecraft! Talk about motivation! This applies especially to the potential for future programming classes. Two weeks of object-oriented theory and even my college students would start nodding off. Now that students can make their own apps/games, there'll be no stopping them.
  • Add 'app development' as a course, replace it with a math or integrate it somehow. - michael.lambert michael.lambert Mar 6, 2013
  • There's huge potential for online games to play a role in the application of common core state standards. They provide students with a unique opportunity to apply content knowledge in simulation environments. - kari.stubbs kari.stubbs Mar 6, 2013

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

  • While I have dabbled in this in my own classroom, companies such as www.classbadges.com and www.classdojo.com and others are evidence to me that this is an upcoming trend in education. (Not to mention it was included in previous horizon report). Many masters programs in EdTech and even some doctoral programs include a course in gaming. This shows the impact of gaming has already made on the educational community and as more teachers get masters in EdTech more classrooms will be impacted on the ideas of gamification. - mrskeeler mrskeeler Feb 28, 2013 We're using badges at our school as well. Not completely there, yet..but on our way. - michael.lambert michael.lambert Mar 4, 2013
  • - davidwdeeds davidwdeeds Mar 2, 2013 I've been using games for years, but as I mentioned, now I want to get students into making their own. Still deciding on software. Wish there were a Mac equivalent of MIT's App Developer. Gamestar Mechanic is a possibility...3D Games Lab...maybe even Unity for the high schoolers.
  • I am always impressed at the complex level of programming primary age children (elementary school) can achieve and the persistence they demonstrate as they engage in designing their games.
    Students can design their own games using programming environments such as Scratch and can get support from an online community of their peers to help them with their design problems etc. [[http://scratch.mit.edu/- deirdre.butler deirdre.butler Mar 5, 2013]
  • We have High School students using Games for Change - http://www.gamesforchange.org to talk about Global Conflicts. Our 9th grade students have been using SimCity for over 12 years to study how our city of São Paulo works and how they can improve it. We also started a project with a few 9th graders to build the History of São Paulo through the History of our school using Minecraft.- cristiana.mattos cristiana.mattos Mar 5, 2013
  • BrainPOP GameUp http://www.brainpop.com/games/ As a teacher, you know how much games engage kids. That's why BrainPOP® has teamed up with some of the best educational game creators out there to bring you GameUp™. GameUp offers top online game titles that tie right in to your curriculum. You'll also find an assessment builder, standards alignments, an array of lesson plans, webinars, video tutorials, research, and shared best practices designed to support game-based learning in your classroom. So come play!
    FREE game portal developed in partnership with best of breed game developers like MIT Education Arcade, Filament, ELine Media, iCivics, and more. Up to about 60 games across math, science, social studies, health, and English Language arts. - kari.stubbs kari.stubbs Mar 6, 2013
  • STEM Game Challenge http://stemchallenge.org/ Inspired by the Educate to Innovate Campaign, President Obama’s initiative to promote a renewed focus on Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math (STEM) education, the National STEM Video Game Challenge is a multi-year competition whose goal is to motivate interest in STEM learning among America’s youth by tapping into students’ natural passion for playing and making video games.- kari.stubbs kari.stubbs Mar 6, 2013

  • - mscofino mscofino Mar 8, 2013 (Note: I'm not sure if this belongs here or in the Virtual Worlds trend report) Middle School Humanities teachers Rebekah Madrid and Alex Guenther at Yokohama International School are currently teaching several units through Minecraft. Frank Curkovic (MS Art at YIS) is teaching a unit on community and collaboration through Minecraft. Minecraft is increasingly becoming part of our content curriculum, and collaborative and individual work is being assessed the same way we assess more "traditional" projects. A reflection on the Humanities unit by Alex:
    http://alexguenther.wordpress.com/2012/11/29/course-5-final-project-reflection/ and by Rebekah:

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