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.r instruments that can teach a user how to operate them.

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

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

  • This topics seems to be focused on PLAYING games, yet there are exciting projects that are about game DESIGN for learning. This other dimension of "games for learning" offers other benefits, and may be an excellent entre to "engineering design" for schools that will be adopting the Next Generation Science Standards in the US. One K12 example is the work of the Learning Games Network, that has developed a Game Design Tool Kit that helps teachers incorporate Game Design into their classroom (explained in their new, HP Catalyst Academy mini-course, "Game Design for Learning"). In addition, "game design" seems to have a significant positive effect when used as a strategy to engage higher education students in very challenging subjects, such as electrical engineering (e.g. National University's use of game design in their engineering program). - jim.vanides jim.vanides Aug 31, 2013 - Zeinab.El.Maadawi Zeinab.El.Maadawi Sep 3, 2013
  • It is important to note that the use of simulation in teaching in STEM has a long history. They are derived from the models generated from the research in the field. Games can add a new element of providing the scenario around these simulations that add the elements of realism that can make a numerical simulation interesting. - alanwolf alanwolf Sep 2, 2013
  • I think it is also important to quote Dr. Box, "Remember that all models are wrong; the practical question is how wrong do they have to be to not be useful." When using games to teach, we must also teach the limitations of the models that underlie them, and more importantly that these models can and do frequently change, sometimes incrementally, sometimes by being entirely replaced with a new model.- alanwolf alanwolf Sep 2, 2013

(3) What do you see as the potential impact of this technology on STEM+ education?

  • Games offer several features of value in STEM education - driving interest in STEM fields, contextualizing STEM methodologies in true to life scenarios, offering citizen science opportunities (e.g. FoldIt), providing practice to learners to master procedural skills outside of physical activities (wet labs).- alanwolf alanwolf Sep 2, 2013
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(4) Do you have or know of a project working in this area?

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