April 30

Gameful design. Reflection 4.2

Gameful design could be a useful way of engaging users with an information system and it is applicable to a wide range of contexts including work places and education.

My understanding thus far… In business it is most commonly used in sales and marketing since that lends itself naturally to the concept of leader boards, scores, badges, rewards and positive feedback. However the game design concepts are also used in ‘customer  relationship  management  system  (CRM)   to  support relationship  marketing,  i.e.,  creating  a  personal  connection  between  the  company  and  its  customers through value creation,  multichannel  integration, and information  management  (Payne & Frow,  2006).

The example given by Monu&Ralph (2013) is of the Nike app which gives Nike valuable information about their customers while giving customers activity reports, personal progress information and competition/ comparative information.

In education games are used in varying ways and with varying degrees of success. Traditionally the drill and practice serious games have been quite widely accepted, however introducing gameful design to other information systems may be quite challenging.

Firstly, it is vital to be very clear on the objectives and desired outcomes, identify desired behaviours and then devise rewards which will appeal to users to produce the outcomes and behaviours. This requires an intimate knowledge of the learners and the context and the curriculum. The user is all important since it is their interaction with the “game” which will to a large extent determine the success of the experience.

Secondly implementing the mechanics of gameful design can be both daunting, challenging and time consuming.

  • Educators need to be very aware of establishing a clear goal/purpose in order to move the experience from play as described by Deterding et al. (2011) as free form, improvisational and expressive, to gaming, which is more structured, rule bound and goal directed.
  • Educators need to consider the degree to which technology will mediate the experience
  • “Successfully gamifying work for diverse individuals may require appealing to diverse player motivations.” (Monu &Ralph, 2013, p 5). As a result, educators need to consider this in the design in order to engage all learners and avoid isolating some.

The potential of this approach is wide ranging and impressive, personally I am very excited and motivated by the concept. The challenges are not insurmountable in education however it always seems to go back to the same issue…teachers attitudes, appropriate training and support… for it to be widely accepted and successful.

Retrieved from https://vimeo.com/63520492

In my searches I found this LMS, which is marketing itself as embracing gameful design… at a glance, it certainly looks interesting. It may be a good indication of software designers responding to the increasing demand.


Monu, K., & Ralph, P. (2013). Beyond gamification: Implications of purposeful games for the information systems discipline. arXiv:1308.1042 [cs]. Retrieved from http://arxiv.org/abs/1308.1042




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April 29

Information behaviour and how it applies to game narrative and construction. Reflection 4.1

Maybe finding that sweet spot where knowledge, skills and behaviour intersect will help us move from transmission of information to meaningful learning. We tend to focus on knowledge and skills but what about behaviour? This is where information behaviour becomes important. I have gained an understanding that information behaviour involves two main parts: seeking information and then communicating information.

Problem solving is integral to meaningful learning, so once posed with a problem, learners seek knowledge to solve that problem. Information seeking can take a variety of forms including active seeking of information, scanning sources, sometimes serendipitous discovery or it can be provoked.

Seeking that information efficiently requires a variety of information and media learning skills. Some vital skills include the ability to do the following: (Latham&Hollister, 2013)

  • acquire vital information by seizing opportunities
  • evaluate and interpret information
  • interpret signs and symbols
  • manipulate information analyse messages and interpret their meaning

Effective game narrative and construction should reflect these behaviours and be constructed to promote learning in this way. The narrative needs to start by posing a problem which motivates the learner to seek knowledge. The structure needs to offer opportunities for players/learners to seek knowledge. I suspect that a game which offers a variety of methods to discover knowledge would be most engaging and effective, so at times knowledge needs to be actively sought, it may be found by scanning the game, it may be provoked by other characters in the game or it may be serendipitously discovered.  The players will use that acquired knowledge to interact with the game, communicate and manipulate their findings to solve the problem.

To me the most powerful element of information behaviour presented by high end games like World of Warcraft is the potential of the social group in helping the player to make meaning of their experience. John Seely describes the power of the guilds to generate exponential quantities of ideas and knowledge. Games which harness this collaborative communication, encourage reflection and feedback in a safe environment will potentially encourage the most productive and engaged behaviour.



Latham, D., & Hollister, J. M. (2013). The games people play: Information and media literacies in the Hunger Games trilogy. Children’s Literature in Education, 45(1), 33–46. doi:10.1007/s10583-013-9200-0

Stanford eCorner. (2010, December 9). John Seely Brown: The knowledge economy of World of Warcraft [Video file} Retrieved from https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RZG6WTRP-6E



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April 15

Good game characteristics. Reflection 3.6

Games characteristics incorporated in the WOW in school project…This project’s success is probably attributed to the characteristics of good games which have been incorporated into the learning. James Gee describes this with clarity in his keynote address.

Retrieved from https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gauKUKfOo6w

As James Gee (2012) described at Games for Change in 2012, this WOW project has become a good “BIG G” game. A big G game is where the software is offered in an affinity space (a space where people come together with a common passion) combined with the principles of good games.

Good games…

  • have collective intelligence- a system which is smarter than the individuals playing, a system good at managing your attention
  • use good gamification- direct people and motivate them to achieve
  • include smart tools, tools which make the player smarter
  • encourage a form of crowd sourcing, encouraging as many contributions as possible
  • embrace convergence, must use multi media
  • collect copious data which they represent back to the players
  • build an assessment, not as a score but as a trajectory towards mastery
  • set standards which are indigenous
  • be about distributed intelligence, shared and networked intelligence
  • emotional and social intelligence
  • embodied intelligence, show you what it feels like, experience = tacit understanding
  • represent situated understanding- words and representations should be related
  • induce critical, design (modding mentality) and system( multiple variables) thinking
  • allow creativity and innovation
  • are about literacy- the articulation of tacit knowledge
  • teaches problem solving, where you use facts as tools
  • make people producers, it empowers them
  • push you to mastery through a cycle of expertise
  • prepare the player for future learning
  • make you see the world in a new way, new possibilities for solutions


Games for Change. (2012, July 30). Dr James Paul Gee Keynote [Video file]. Retrieved from https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gauKUKfOo6w

Haskell, C. (2013).Isuu.com. Understanding quest based learning. Retrieved from https://issuu.com/loraevanouski/docs/qbl-whitepaper_haskell-final




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April 15

What technologies allow students to use sensory feedback? Reflection 3.5

Sensory feedback is a positive motivator and a method of engagement. Digital games use visual feedback, sound effects and even responsive controllers. In a classroom we need to recognise the value of feedback. Different students will respond to different feedback differently, so having a range of options and allowing choice is highly effective.

In my classroom here are a few tools at my disposal:

  1. We use the Schoology learning management system and feedback options are numerous. In a literal sense when providing feedback on tasks, I can write a comment, record an audio message, or even send a video message. Having these choices gives me the opportunity to respond to individual needs and strengths.
  2. A Swivl. This is an audio and video recording device which can be used to capture lessons, for collaborative learning, or for recording of “performance” to provide feedback or for self-evaluation. Swivl can capture slides, information and synchronise with video to bring context to learners.


  1. Interactive whiteboards may becoming “old” technology however they still have much to offer. Students can interact with visual stimulus and the physical interaction when using the pen offers a tactile and kinaesthetic multisensory benefit
  2. Smart phones which are prolific in my environment have much to offer. Feedback is available in so many ways depending on the application in use. Voice recorders, cameras, interactive games, visual calculators, video stimulus and tutorials etc.….
  3. Although not high tech, posters or any static stimulus around the room has the potential to offer feedback, particularly when combined with AR elements developed in programs like Aurasma or even just QR codes
  4. Google cardboard is a low cost option for providing interactive visual and kinesthetic feedback/ stimulus for students

google cardboard

These are just some options which I use, I am sure there are many more.

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April 15

Creativity and learning for personal fulfillment and empowerment: Reflection 3.4

As a learner I feel that creativity is just another form of problem solving. When faced with a challenge, the learner must create solutions. Creativity is not necessarily an artistic talent but rather a way of thinking and an approach to learning. Creativity of this sort requires an open mind, willingness to explore and the confidence to take risks. Finding solutions to a problem can be both satisfying, empowering and motivating.

Trying to find creative solutions, sparks a process of problem analysis, systematic evaluation of possibilities and then synthesis of information to propose a solution. These are all higher order thinking skills which as educators we are aiming to develop in our students. Developing critical thinking skills could improve academic achievement and better prepare students with those 21st century skills required.

Creativity empowers the learner when they have agency to determine the outcome. Creating is doing, and in keeping with the constructivist approach, learning will be more likely to happen and more likely to have lasting effect.

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April 14

Characteristics of games for educational purposes. Reflection 3.3

Dr Who: the first adventure- Opening  Retrieved from https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cYlqzluU49E

What characteristics of this early game remain relevant?

Fascinating how so much has changed but in fact how little has changed…The characteristics of this game almost all remain relevant today. Recent technology available has allowed better communication of the characteristics, but the concepts remain the same.

The game has:

  • Sound effects – as identified by the research of Wood et al (2004) to be one of the most important features of a game. Although not “realistic “in this game, sound is a major feature.
  • Narrative- A strong narrative creates a context for the problem. Game designers recognise that compelling and engaging narratives allow for immersion and agency, which motivates participation. (Dickey, 2012, p. 245)
  • Goal/challenge- there is a clear goal or challenge for the gamers to aspire to.
  • Rewards – success is rewarded, but even if you fail, you can regenerate and try again. The notion of risk taking is encouraged, failure is not final.
  • Surprise- play offers surprises in the form of new discoveries

Which ‘adventure game’ characteristics might be used in your classroom?Adventure games offer the opportunity for exploration, puzzle solving and storytelling. In my ideal classroom I would embrace all 3 characteristics of adventure games.


  • Encourage curiosity
  • Avoid the linear tradition of subject based teaching.
  • Avoid the compartmentalisation of subjects and promote tangential learning which accommodates individual interests and strengths
  • Promotes collaborative learning, sharing of ideas and peer teaching

Puzzle solving:

  • Set clear challenges with incremented achievable goals
  • Adopt a problem solving approach
  • Encourage a sharing and supportive environment


  • Create compelling real world of fantasy contexts for learning through narratives
  • Support immersion in the experience through engaging narrative
  • Encourage creativity and imagination

What three instructions would you suggest are key to game based learning?instructionsIn Rise of the video game: Level 1 (2012), the developer talks about 3 simple instructions to play the game “Pong”. If I had to give 3 instructions for game based learning, based on my knowledge thus far…which may well change…I would suggest:

  1. “Insert a quarter”

Learners need to “buy into” their learning. Create context, agency and credibility.

  1. “Ball will serve automatically”

Make it easy, convenient and comfortable for students to engage in game based learning. Consider learning styles, access and social and cultural context.

  1. “Avoid missing the ball”

Identify what outcome you want to achieve. Then set the challenge accordingly, so that students to develop the skills to achieve the desired learning outcomes.


Dickey, M. D. (2006), Game Design Narrative for Learning: Appropriating Adventure Game Design Narrative Devices and Techniques for the Design of Interactive Learning Environments. Educational Technology Research and Development, Vol. 54, No. 3  pp. 245-263. Retrieved from http://dh101.humanities.ucla.edu/DH101Fall12Lab4/archive/files/1d83421eae7a8dc06b5aa855329dd627.pdf

[hauntdos}. 92012, November 4). Rise of the video game: Level 1 [Video file]. Retrieved from https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3u3Hc13wzHE



April 14

What are some of the most important features of video games? Reflection 3.2

The writing of Wood et al (2004). The Structural characteristics of video Games: A psycho-structural analysis. Provides a powerful insight into what motivates gamers to play or to continue to play a game. The lessons learned offer a wealth of information for the educator trying to apply the principles of good games to promote learning.

In my opinion, the table below highlights some key considerations for the use of gaming concepts to improve engagement.

  • Most interestingly is the idea that gamers do not consider a linear structure, as important. This idea could/should revolutionise how we deliver subjects. Players like to explore new ideas and 75.2% rate an element of surprise as important in a good game. Learning should embrace this concept and introduce a more tangential approach to content, allowing exploration and introducing the element of surprise to motivate learners to continue to engage.
  • If 74.4% of gamers find fulfilling a quest as an important characteristic of the gaming experience, then a clear quest at the outset of the learning experience ought to be motivational. In order to fulfill that quest players seek to develop skills and to be recognised for that achievement.

Wood et al (2004) Participant ratings of structural Characteristics

Structural characteristics of good games Woods et al (2004)

Players enjoy a sense of “agency”   (Extra Credits 2012). The idea of being able to control their destiny. The concept that different choices have different outcomes develops a sense of empowerment. The option to achieve a different ending, find different things of collect different items all rank highly and support the idea that players and by comparison learners will respond positively to a sense of agency.


Another element which Woods et al (2004) point out as important is the absorption rate i.e. How quickly the player can get into the game. 76.5% of players rated this as important. Again I believe that in the classroom, learners need to be able to engage really quickly and easily with the learning “game” if they are to enjoy the experience.

The question which remains is how to do this… now that we know what is important, the implementation of these concepts remains challenging given the limitations of time, curriculum and expertise. Some of the concepts can easily be applied but some require major pedagogical shifts, which are just not that simple!



Extra Credits. (2012, May 13) Gamifying Education [Video file]. Retrieved from https://www.youtube.com/watchv=MuDLw1zIc94&list=PLhyKYa0YJ_5BIUqSDPmfBuKjTN2QBv9wI

Wood, R. T. A., Chappell, D., & Davies, M. N. O. (2004). The Structural characteristics of video Games: A psycho-structural analysisCyber Psychology & Behavior, 7(1), 1–10

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April 12

Beyond film, TV and the internet: Reflection 2:4

Consider how AR could affect the physical design of learning spaces, and how could ‘second screen’ applications could be used to control learning games?

AR could transform our learning spaces from places where the students are passive receivers of information to actively engaged participants in their learning. Imagine how the traditional poster on a wall could become an engaging and dynamic resource. Imagine how learning could become physical and mobile. I know most students are happy to move around as much as possible, so AR encourages that. It supports the visual and kinaesthetic learners by expanding the virtual boundaries, it allows them to see related elements within and surrounding a previously static object.

Aurasma tutorial. Retrieved from https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=B6gi8c3JdbM

I have used AR (only Aurasma) with some success. I have used it to deliver content but most successfully, I have allowed students to use Aurasma to add the additional layer to presentations. We were studying Alchemy (as part of an English novel study extension activity). They researched in groups different aspects of the topic and then added the AR elements to their presentation. This engaged students in higher order thinking and required advanced searches/ research in a collaborative situation. When we displayed them around the room, students were drawn in to find out about the parts of the topic they didn’t do- I even found them bringing students in from other classes to see what they had done. It was contagious.

The ideal use of a second screen application in a classroom would enable and embrace individualised, differentiated learning. If each student is using their second screen app to interact, the possibility exists for each students learning to be adaptive and responsive according to their needs and strengths…just imagine the possibilities…

How much of these practices do you think students willingly engage in when playing games at home? What aspects of this do you find appealing? Are there any you disagree with or think are omitted?

I think people willingly adopt all of these practices when playing games at home. The most appealing part of this is the potential for learning in more formal contexts like the classroom. The learning behaviours we want to encourage like risk taking and problem solving in context seem more likely to occur with a game base approach. Traditional schooling has for too long discouraged exploration, practice and creativity. This approach encourages experiencing, doing and therefore knowing, in shared and collaborative, networked spaces which are linked to the real world. It is more likely to encourage complex thinking and develop the 21 century skills.

The obvious challenge with using GBL is time to source or develop appropriate curriculum and resources along with the ever increasing challenge of meeting the benchmarks which are prescribed by curriculum and standards. This requires a very different pedagogical approach for which educators need to be trained and equipped. The appraoch can be successful even without technology but certainly the use of technology takes it to the next level. In the ideal world there would be strong collaboration with software designers, educators and administrative stakeholders to enable the implementation of this approach…not sure if that wide scale change is likely to occur any time soon in education in Australia or globally???

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April 12

Corporeal and hyper real worlds Reflection Module 2.3

Kinect for classroom. Retrieved from https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ffNRfO1HrpM

What could a handheld device connected to a second player screen be used for in the classroom?

I envision some very literal uses for a handheld device in terms of sports training; learning and training to throw the discuss or play tennis or bowl a ball in cricket, but also as a reflective tool. I imagine using it to look back at performance and reflect on possible improvements. I can imagine in the performing arts, music, singing and dance the applications could be quite similar.

On the other hand it has potential to cater more widely for different learning styles. The kinaesthetic learners learn through physical activity, the aural learners who respond to sound and music, the visual learners who need to see things to understand and remember…etc Given the right stimulus, in the form of a game which suites the needs of the context, interaction with this more physical, visual and aural environment would definitely improve engagement and learning.

The trick here is finding the right software to suite needs and then working out the logistics of a classroom full of kids…and maybe one screen. I know it has potential but the implementation would have to be carefully planned to make it effective.

Retrieved from https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NBGkSuaqWEE

How has this vision of home and user interaction changed since 2009 (Project Natal, Project Milo). How has media shifted?

Media seems to have shifted to accommodate the devices we already own and to get them to talk to each other rather than requiring a particular device in order to achieve a purpose. Smart TVs exist and the majority of people have smart phones and devices so the development of apps to manipulate that existing technology seems to make more sense. There seems also to be a shift to more mobile and transferable uses as opposed to the very static and fixed nature of a TV and game console. The interesting use of the Smartglass app is how while watching a movie on one screen the other can explore different features /parts or information about the movie. This seems to cater to a generation of technology users who have “hyperlinked” minds. They are so used to the internet mode of consuming media that their minds want to be “hyperlinking “to other aspects of the topic while watching.



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