Monday, July 11, 2016

Gamificação na prática: aplicar elementos e técnicas de jogos na sala de aula.

III Jornadas Pedagógicas - A sala de aula do séc. XXI: desafia-te! 



Sessão Gamificação na prática: aplicar elementos e técnicas de jogos na sala de aula.
Escola Secundária de Valongo, 13 de julho de 2016


Friday, May 13, 2016

Jogos Sérios: Video INESC TEC

Publicado a 29/04/2016
Jogos Sérios: A jogar por boas causas

Os jogos virtuais não têm apenas um carácter lúdico. Neste documentário o INESC TEC mostra como os jogos sérios podem ser úteis na reabilitação física ou no ensino.

O objetivo destes documentários é mostrar ao público em geral o impacto económico e social do INESC TEC na sociedade e nas empresas.

 

Friday, April 29, 2016

Gamification FAQ #3: What are Game Elements? (Part I)



Several researchers and developers proposed different definitions for gamification. A central component in most of those definitions, including the one from Deterding et al. (2011), is the notion of game elements or game mechanics.  

http://www.epicwinblog.net/2013/10/can-we-use-game-mechanics-for.html

There is an unclear distinction between the concepts of game mechanics and game elements, like in Huang and Soman (2013) view that refer “... game-like elements, also called game mechanics ...” (p. 13). Most of the times, mechanics refers to what is considered as elements and for other sources they are a mixture of both. For example, Manrique (2013) proposed a list of 35 mechanics, the wiki on gamification.org shows another list with 24 mechanics and Paharia (2013) identified 10 gamification mechanics. The items in these lists came from the observation of actual video games, finding the components that are present in most of them.

To emphasize the lack of agreement in the classification of game elements, Dicheva et al. (2015) showed that a widely used game element – the badge – is classified by different authors as a game interface design pattern (Deterding et al., 2011), a game mechanic (Zichermann and Cunningham, 2011), a game dynamic (Iosup and Epema cited by Dicheva et al., 2015, p. 3), a motivational affordance (Hamari et al., 2014), and a game component (Werbach and Hunter, 2012). The study conducted by Dicheva et al. concluded that there is not a commonly agreed classification of game design elements. Other terms are also found, like gameplay mechanics, game attributes (Wu, 2011), or game metaphors (Marczewski, 2012). The most common term is game mechanics. These game mechanics are often listed without taking into account that there are elements with very different characteristics, purposes and roles within the game. Most of the times, game mechanics usually appear related to interface design patterns, like badges, trophies or leaderboards.

In industry, digital marketing practitioners, place greater emphasis on the use of the terms game mechanics and game dynamics, often making little distinction between them. Some mention that game mechanics and game dynamics are confusing terms usually used interchangeably. The mechanics are indicated as the rules and rewards that allow players to play the game and intending to cause certain emotions in them. The dynamics represent the motivations and desires that lead to such emotions. Players are motivated by game mechanics due to the presence of game dynamics. Zichermann and Cunningham (2011) also define game dynamics as “the player’s interactions with the game mechanics”. Most of these definitions are unclear.

Approaches from the academia and from authors who position themselves as game designers and game developers, try to be more rigorous, applying terms like game elements, game mechanics and game dynamics distinctively but not always with the same meanings. According to Dormans (2012) “when the game design community talks about game systems, they prefer the term ‘game mechanics’ over ‘game rules’. ‘Game mechanics’ is often used as a synonym for rules but the term implies more accuracy and is usually closer to an implementation” (p. 6). Still concerning game design, the MDA games framework proposed by Hunicke et al. (2004) considers mechanics and dynamics as design elements.

Within the gamification community of researchers and practitioners, Codish and Ravid (2014) mention that “game elements are also referred to as game mechanics and dynamics” (p. 36) and Werbach and Hunter (2012) consider dynamics and mechanics as categories of game elements. For Deterding et al. (2011), game design elements are all the elements that are characteristic of games or that can be found in most of the games. Deterding et al. proposed a taxonomy for game design elements by different levels of abstraction (ordered from concrete to abstract): game interface design patterns (e.g. badges, leaderboards, levels); game design patterns and mechanics (e.g. time constraints, limited resources); game design principles and heuristics (e.g. clear goals, enduring play); game models (concerning models of the components of games); and game design methods (concerning game design-specific processes). 

References:
  • Deterding, S., Dixon, D., Khaled, R., and Nacke, L. (2011). From game design elements to gamefulness: Defining ”gamification”. In Proceedings of the 15th International Academic MindTrek Conference: Envisioning Future Media Environments, MindTrek ’11, pages 9–15, New York, NY, USA. ACM.
  • Huang, W. and Soman, D. (2013). A practitioner’s guide to gamification of education. Technical report, Rotman School of Management University of Toronto, Canada.
  • Manrique, V. (2013). The 35 gamification mechanicstoolkit v1.0
  • Dicheva, D., Dichev, C., Agre, G., and Angelova, G. (2015). Gamification in education: A systematic mapping study (in press). Educational Technology and Society, 18(3).
  • Zichermann, G. and Cunningham, C. (2011). Gamification by Design. O’Reilly.
  • Werbach, K. and Hunter, D. (2012). For the Win: How Game Thinking Can Revolutionize Your Business. Wharton Digital Press.
  • Wu, M. (2011). What is gamification, really?
  • Marczewski, A. (2012). Gamification: A Simple Introduction. Marczewski, A.
  • Dormans, J. (2012). Engineering Emergence: Applied Theory for Game Design. PhD thesis, University of Amsterdam, The Netherlands.
  • Hunicke, R., Leblanc, M., and Zubek, R. (2004). MDA: A formal approach to game design and game research. In Proceedings of the Challenges in Games AI Workshop, Nineteenth National Conference of Artificial Intelligence, pages 1–5.


Thursday, April 07, 2016

Third International Workshop on Gamification for Information Retrieval (GamifIR 2016)


Gamification is a popular methodology describing the trend of applying game design principles and elements, such as feedback loops, points, badges or leader boards in non-gaming environments. Gamification can have several different objectives. Besides just increasing the fun factor, these could be, for example, to achieve more accurate work, better retention rates and more cost effective solutions by relating motivations for participating as more intrinsic than conventional methods. In the context of Information Retrieval (IR), there are various tasks that can benefit from gamification techniques. Think, for example, of the manual annotation of documents in IR evaluation or participation in user studies to tackle interactive IR challenges. Gamification, however, comes with its own challenges and its adoption in IR is still in its infancy.

Important Dates:
  • Submission deadline: 29 May, 2016
  • Notification date: 19 June, 2016
  • Camera-ready due: July 3, 2016
  • Workshop date: July 21, 2016

Sunday, March 20, 2016

Jornal Expresso: A Jogar é que a Gente Aprende

Jornal Expresso - 19 de Março de 2016:



Com a ‘gamificação’ do ensino, os alunos tornam-se jogadores, as aulas desafios, há pontos e medalhas. Motivar é o grande objetivo. Em Portugal já se experimenta.

With 'gamification' of education, students become players, and classes become challenges where there are points and medals. Motivating is the ultimate goal. Portugal is already trying.


Algumas pequenas contribuições para o artigo:






Friday, February 26, 2016

Gamification FAQ #2: What Gamification is Not

Gamification and games are different things. A gamified application is not a game but, sometimes, it may look like a game. Gamified applications' users should feel like players in a game, but they are noy playing a game. They are doing something else, probably some useful task.


Paharia (2013), about the differences between games and gamification, argues that “gamification is not about creating games at all” and Kapp et al. (2014), refer that “gamification uses parts of games but is not a game” (p. 69). Also Huang and Soman (2013) point that “if it is already a game, it is not a form of gamification” (p. 15). Hence, gamification is not a game (Wu, 2011) neither an attempt to simply make an application look like a game (Kumar and Herger, 2013) and also not about building full-fledged games, like serious games (Deterding et al., 2011; Werbach and Hunter, 2012). Serious games, are not the same as gamification (Schlagenhaufer and Ambert, 2014). 

Similarly, gamification of education is not the same as Digital Game-Based Learning (DGBL), an approach that uses actual games (serious games, commercial games or games made by students) in a learning environment. It is not also the same as simulations, although all of these terms are related. Kapp et al. (2014) use the notion of Interactive Learning Event (ILE) to describe these different approaches: games, gamification and simulations. In Kapp et al. perspective, gamification is a type of an ILE and different from the other two types. 

Therefore, gamification should not be confused with a process of transformation of some non-game activity into a game. Particularly, regarding education, the application of the concept does not mean that the contents of the various subjects are taught in the form of a game. 

See also FAQ #1: What is Gamification?

References:

Paharia, R. (2014). A new day for gamification, or is it? [Blog post].

Kapp, K., Blair, L., and Mesch, R. (2014). The Gamification of Learning and Instruction Fieldbook: Ideas into Pratice. Wiley.

Huang, W. and Soman, D. (2013). A practitioner’s guide to gamification of education. Technical report, Rotman School of Management University of Toronto, Canada. 

Wu, M. (2011). What is gamification, really? [Blog post] 

Kumar, J. and Herger, M. (2013). Gamification at Work: Designing Engaging Business Software. The Interaction Design Foundation., Aarhus, Denmark.

Deterding, S., Dixon, D., Khaled, R., and Nacke, L. (2011). From game design elements to gamefulness: Defining ”gamification”. In Proceedings of the 15th International Academic MindTrek Conference: Envisioning Future Media Environments, MindTrek ’11, pages 9–15, New York, NY, USA. ACM.

Werbach, K. and Hunter, D. (2012). For the Win: How Game Thinking Can Revolutionize Your Business. Wharton Digital Press.

Schlagenhaufer, C. and Ambert, M. (2014). Psychology theories in gamification: A review of information systems literature. In European, Mediterranean and Middle Eastern Conference on Information Systems 2014, Doha, Qatar.

Thursday, February 04, 2016

Gamification FAQ #1: What is Gamification?

#1: What is Gamification?

Although the concept is around since 2010, there is no commonly accepted definition. 

So, what is gamification, after all? The most common and accepted definition for gamification is the one proposed by Deterding et al. (2011): “the use of game design elements in non-game contexts”. This is a straightforward definition but it lacks the purpose of the concept and raises some questions. What are game design elements? What is the point of using game design elements in non-game contexts? How should they be used? The main goal is that, by moving game elements to other contexts, it will be possible to induce, on people acting in those contexts, the same engagement that players feel when they play a game. If people are deeply motivated and engaged with some task they are performing, it will be more likely that they exhibit the right behaviors concerning the completion of that task. Gamification has as final objective the improvement of users’ involvement. As also pointed out by Kumar and Herger (2013), gamification is about motivating users. 

The definition I use is

The use of game elements and game techniques in non-game contexts, to drive game-like engagement in order to promote desired target behaviors.

This definition is related to what Nicholson (2012) calls meaningful gamification. With meaningful gamification, people engage in an activity because they are intrinsically motivated to perform the activity.

The concept of implicit gamification, proposed by Chou  is, in fact, what is considered to be gamification under the above definition. 

It is also close to what Kapp et al. (2014) call structural gamification rather then their notion of “content gamification”. In Kapp et al.’s view, “content gamification” is closer to serious games and simulations, since it aims to make contents more game-like.

Marczewski’s notion of intrinsic gamification or Long Term Deep Level Gamification is also close to what I understand as gamification. 

Behavior change gamification, proposed by Werbach and Hunter (2012), seeks to form new habits among a target population and is also emphasized in the last part of my definition – to promote desired behaviors. Werbach and Hunter point that this category of gamification includes “redesigning the classroom to make kids learn more while actually enjoying school”. 

It is also worthwhile to watch this video from Andrzej Marczewski:



and also this post: Gamification: What’s Play Got to do, (Got to do) with it?


References:

Deterding, S., Dixon, D., Khaled, R., and Nacke, L. (2011). From game design elements to gamefulness: Defining ”gamification”. In Proceedings of the 15th International Academic MindTrek Conference: Envisioning Future Media Environments, MindTrek ’11, pages 9–15, New York, NY, USA. ACM. 

Kumar, J. and Herger, M. (2013). Gamification at Work: Designing Engaging Business Software. The Interaction Design Foundation., Aarhus, Denmark. 

Nicholson, S. (2012). A user-centered theoretical framework for meaningful gamification. In Proceedings of Games+Learning+Society 8.0, Pittsburgh. ETC Press. 

Kapp, K., Blair, L., and Mesch, R. (2014). The Gamification of Learning and Instruction  Fieldbook: Ideas into Pratice. Wiley.


Werbach, K. and Hunter, D. (2012). For the Win: How Game Thinking Can Revolutionize Your Business. Wharton Digital Press.   

Tuesday, February 02, 2016

PhD Thesis Online





My PhD thesis

Using Gamification to Improve Participation in Social Learning Environments

is available online at ResearchGate and Academia.edu










Abstract:

This thesis addresses the problem of students’ disengagement by investigating if gami- fication can make a contribution to solve the problem and how. Gamification is a new trend that aims to improve people’s engagement, motivation, loyalty or participation. It started as a marketing tool but widespread to several different areas where peoples’ involvement is a key issue. Gamification is inspired by the success and popularity of video games and looks for ways to use game’s features in non-game contexts, as a way to drive game-like engagement. 

While schools are struggling with the lack of motivation and engagement of many of their students, technology is part of most children and teenagers lives in today’s societies. They are heavy users of several media that, through mobile and wireless technologies, are almost permanently present and available everywhere. Schools have to compete for students’ attention and time and find the ways to use technology in their favour and fill the gap between school and the outside technological world. Also, most of today’s students are video game’s consumers. Games have been used in educational and training scenarios for a long time. But building full-fledged games with learning purposes has high implementations costs. 

Gamification is a way to take advantage of the games’ power with lesser costs and ef- fort. An initial research on gamification revealed that education was precisely one of the main fields that could benefit from this new trend. As a main goal, the thesis proposes a framework to help teachers using technology-enhanced learning environments powered with gamification. It is expected that these environments can improve students’ behaviors towards school and learning. The framework also defines what should be the high level architecture of gamified digital systems. This architecture is platform independent and is proposed as a way to help developers in the implementation of gamified systems, by highlighting what their main building blocks should be. Based on a broad literature review, this thesis presents the most used game elements and game techniques found in already existing gamified applications. A set of those elements and techniques were included in the proposed framework. 

Further research was needed to investigate the impact of gamification and how to mea- sure that impact. The tendency to experience flow was chosen as a measure of engage- ment. Flow is a psychological state felt by people when they act with total involvement. People can experience flow when performing an engaging task. A high tendency to experience flow means high intrinsic motivation and a better engagement. The thesis addressed these issues by conducting an empirical study with primary education young students. The study investigated if a social learning environment with gamification tools would be more able to increase students disposition to experience flow than a non-gamified version. In this experiment, some gamified learning activities were set following the guidelines of the proposed framework. 

The results from the empirical study showed that there was an improvement in the students’ disposition for flow when using the gamified version of the social learning en- vironment. The students’ average score had an increase and the statistical test taken allowed to conclude that the average score increase has statistical significance.



Thursday, December 31, 2015

2015: My PhD Year


 

2015 is near the end. 2015 is the year I finished my PhD, on November, 27th:


I hope to continue my research around gamification and e-learning in 2016.

For now, this is the thesis abstract:

This thesis addresses the problem of students’ disengagement by investigating if gamification can make a contribution to solve the problem and how. Gamification is a new trend that aims to improve people’s engagement, motivation, loyalty or participation. It started as a marketing tool but widespread to several different areas where peoples’ involvement is a key issue. Gamification is inspired by the success and popularity of video games and looks for ways to use game’s features in non-game contexts, as a way to drive game-like engagement. 

While schools are struggling with the lack of motivation and engagement of many of their students, technology is part of most children and teenagers lives in today’s societies. They are heavy users of several media that, through mobile and wireless technologies, are almost permanently present and available everywhere. Schools have to compete for students’ attention and time and find the ways to use technology in their favour and fill the gap between school and the outside technological world. Also, most of today’s students are video game’s consumers. Games have been used in educational and training scenarios for a long time. But building full-fledged games with learning purposes has high implementations costs. 

Gamification is a way to take advantage of the games’ power with lesser costs and effort. An initial research on gamification revealed that education was precisely one of the main fields that could benefit from this new trend. As a main goal, the thesis proposes a framework to help teachers using technology-enhanced learning environments powered with gamification. It is expected that these environments can improve students’ behaviors towards school and learning. The framework also defines what should be the high level architecture of gamified digital systems. This architecture is platform independent and is proposed as a way to help developers in the implementation of gamified systems, by highlighting what their main building blocks should be. Based on a broad literature review, this thesis presents the most used game elements and game techniques found in already existing gamified applications. A set of those elements and techniques were included in the proposed framework. 

Further research was needed to investigate the impact of gamification and how to measure that impact. The tendency to experience flow was chosen as a measure of engagement. Flow is a psychological state felt by people when they act with total involvement. People can experience flow when performing an engaging task. A high tendency to experience flow means high intrinsic motivation and a better engagement. The thesis addressed these issues by conducting an empirical study with primary education young students. The study investigated if a social learning environment with gamification tools would be more able to increase students disposition to experience flow than a non- gamified version. In this experiment, some gamified learning activities were set following the guidelines of the proposed framework. 
 
The results from the empirical study showed that there was an improvement in the students’ disposition for flow when using the gamified version of the social learning environment. The students’ average score had an increase and the statistical test taken allowed to conclude that the average score increase has statistical significance.


Soon, the all thesis will be on-line.


Happy New Year!