Thursday, October 24, 2013

WorldCIST'14: Call for Papers

Call for papers for the 2014 World Conference on Information Systems and Technologies (WorldCIST'14) is a global forum for researchers and practitioners to present and discuss the most recent innovations, trends, results, experiences and concerns in the several perspectives of Information Systems and Technologies.

Main themes: 
  • Information and Knowledge Management (IKM); 
  • Organizational Models and Information Systems (OMIS); 
  • Intelligent and Decision Support Systems (IDSS); 
  • Software Systems, Architectures, Applications and Tools (SSAAT); 
  • Computer Networks, Mobility and Pervasive Systems (CNMPS); 
  • Human-Computer Interaction (HCI); 
  • Health Informatics (HIS); 
  • Information Technologies in Education (ITE).

Important Dates :
  • Paper Submission: November 15, 2013 
  • Notification of Acceptance: January 10, 2014  
  • Camera-ready Submission: January 19, 2014

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Leaderboards: A Social Game Element (Part II)

Another paper presented at Gamification 2013 shows how to use a leaderboard to improve behaviour change (see this previous post Leaderboards: A Social Game Element). 

The paper, Time's Up: Studying Leaderboards For Engaging Punctual Behaviour (João Costa, Rina Renee Wehbe, James Robb and Lennart E. Nacke) studies the use of a leaderboard for improving punctuality of participants to regular work meetings. Again, the authors conclude that leaderboards are more effective if they are used as a social game mechanic. They conducted an experiment where data were collected from 28 participants, members of the Laboratory of Games And Media Entertainment Research (GAMERLab). The arrival times to meetings of laboratory members were recorded for nine meetings.
Concerning the different kinds of leaderboads, discussed in the previous post, the leaderboard in this experiment was a multiplayer leaderboard, ranking high performance peers.

These are the authors' main conclusions:

"Our study showed that leaderboards do give way to positive social behaviours like social comparisons, which were of great importance to the majority of the participants, in particular to assess their improvement or standing in comparison to those who were of their interest, as opposed to assessing themselves in the global panorama of punctuality.
In conclusion, our study shows the possibility of gamifying meetings to improve the punctuality of the work group. This can help individuals project a better self-image, keep on task and increase their productivity.

The paper is available in the conference proceedings.

Sunday, October 13, 2013

Leaderboards: A Social Game Element

Leaderboards are one of the most popular game elements that are used in gamified systems, along with points, badges or achievements (see How Gamification Can Drive Behavioural Change). Essentially they appeal to extrinsic motivation and are a means to give feedback to the players. Badges are probably at the top of this list. They are used in many systems and recently, Moodle's latest version also includes badges (see All About Badges and Open Badges). There is a lot of information, blog posts and academic papers about how to use badges and there are even MOOCs on badges.

On the other hand, leaderboards are less mentioned although they are also common in gamified systems. Applications like Leaderboarded can be used to easily create leaderbords. Gamified systems in the education sector do not use leaderboards so often, probably because they appeal to competition.

A recent paper presented at Gamification 2013 (see this other post), Reimagining Leaderboards: Towards Gamifying Competency Models through Social Game Mechanics, discusses how to use leaderboards as social game mechanic. Leaderboards are game elements that can be collaborative and qualitative and not only quantitative and competetive. In this way, leaderboards are a social game element. The paper proposes a framework that uses a prosocial leaderboards. Prosocial interactions occur when individuals act in the interest of others.

The paper defines social gamification as "... an emerging subgenre of gamified systems that use game mechanics and elements from social games, which feature interactions designed for close peers and direct ties to social networking systems , in which they are often embedded". It then cites one of our previous works, A Social Gamification Framework for a K-6 Learning Platform, mentioning that in our proposal, game elements were taken directly from social games. We also have our own definition of social gamification: the use of design elements from social games in non-game contexts to drive game like engagement in order to promote desired behaviours

In the Gamification 2013 paper, leaderbords are defined as "... a performance comparison game element". They can be single or mutiplayer. Single player leaderboards compare the players latest score to the previous scores. Multiplayer leaderboards can display rankings of near performing peers (a usual approach in social games) or rankings of high performing peers (where players with lower score may not be present, leading to demotivation, which is a drawback for this kind of leaderboards).

An example of a multiplayer leaderboard of high performing peers is the Gamification Gurus Leaderboard built with Leaderboarded:

The prosocial learderboard approach uses elements like status, scarcity, karma points and group leaderboard. These elements are used to encourage prosocial behaviours. In this prosocial approach all users must benefit and social interaction is achieved through altruism, sharing, reciprocity and gratitude. The concept is being applied in a competency-based assessment system for medical education.

Leaderboards, that at first are nothing more than an extrinsic motivator can, in this approach, be used to promote social interaction and to foster intrinsic motivation. It appeals to relatedeness and to a feeling of doing something not just for our own sake but for the sake of our group or community.


Seaborn, K., Pennefather, P., Fels, D. (2013). Reimagining Leaderboards: Towards Gamifying Competency Models through Social Game Mechanics, Proceedings of Gamification 2013, Stratford, Ontario, Canada, 107-110

Simões, J., Redondo, R. D., Vilas, A. F. (2013). A Social Gamification Framework for a K-6 Learning Platform. Advanced Human-Computer Interaction 29, 2, 345–353.

Friday, October 11, 2013

Digital Games for Empowerment and Inclusion

(Shared by Zac Fitz-Walter on Gamification Weekly, issue 20)

Digital Games for Empowerment and Inclusion (DGEI): The Potential of Digital Games for Empowerment and Social Inclusion of Groups at Risk of Social and Economic Exclusion: Evidence and Opportunity for Policy (European Comission - Joint Research Centre, Information Society Unit).
This report shows the potential of games to support those at risk of social and economic exclusion (Gamification Weekly). The report finds that "games-based approaches offer a particular opportunity to reach people at risk" in particular young people not in Employment, Education or Training (NEETs).

Gamification, as a new concept is referred. A definition is provided and the relation of gamification with serious games is addressed. Also, the report mentions the potential of using digital games in education.

Definition of Gamification (Glossary, page 205):

Applying game design elements to non-game activities, often with the goal of engaging people more in these activities.

The “Serious Game” and "Gamification" Industries (page 125)
However none of these terms has captured the imagination so much as the term ‘Gamification’, a sufficiently vague concept that has served to reinvigorating some of the serious game work, which may be too serious, Gamification focuses on how to exploit the gameplay elements of digital games in applications that are not digital games, but in practice implementations are frequently based in online services and mobile apps. In 2012, Gamification ideas, long used in weight-loss and child motivation, are attracting considerable interest from consultants and policy makers linked to ideas of 'nudging'. However it is not immediately clear whether those with the expertise to develop gamification are game designers or have any relationship with digital games development, and whether the tools of gamification can be considered part of 'serious games and gaming'. However discussion of gamification often end up addressing 'serious games', and proponents of ‘serious games’ are starting to appropriate the term to promote their own work. As Escribano (2012) suggests, conventional and low key use of game approaches has taken a technological turn (Escribano, 2012). One of the key popularisers of the idea through her games and publications is game designer Jane McGonigal, who explicitly developed the idea in developing an online tool with game-based techniques to promote personal empowerment, using the resilience approach. Clearly, the current trend of gamification is closely linked to the potential of ICTs, and the rich tools of digital gaming, and the popularity of the gamification idea focuses attention more clearly on the game like motivational elements of 'serious gaming' rather than the technological elements.

Education (page 128)
Use of digital games in the education sector is one of the oldest applications of games. From the supply side they can be developed as part of an educational publishing business, and more recently, the elearning industry. However, educational games, according to the report of the EC Engage project122, have always been "low budget, low tech, poor cousins of the computer game industry. Up until recently, very few commercial companies have provided good quality educational games. Historically, these games have been written by teachers and academics who wish to utilize the technology within there teaching, but usually do not have the skill, not the finance, to create a high quality product". This is changing with new expertise, tools andchanging business models for distribution. Games in education can be replacements for text books and other media, or tools for game-making and a more radical gamified approach to teaching and learning. Serious uptake in the formal education sector however, depends on significant innovation in practices of formal schooling, and in the procurement and certification systems for education products.

Thursday, October 10, 2013

Gamification 2013: Proceedings

The Gamification 2013, the First International Conference on Gameful Design, Research, and Applications was a three-day, dual-track conference that took place in the University of Waterloo (October, 2-4). 

Education and Serious Games were some of the conference topics:

"This conference is the first of its kind and we will use this opportunity to unite the burgeoning area of gamification with the best approaches from professional user experience and game designers. Our program is a blend of academic research and experimental applications with industry and non-profit examples, procedures, best practices, goals and results. It gives an idea of what all is now possible in the field of gamification. Our topics range from using citizen science games for motivation to best practices of exergames and classroom gamification. Not to forget the necessary discussion of the overlap between serious games and gamification".

In this conference gamification is defined as the use of "... game design in systems that primarily support non-game tasks to make them more fun, engaging, and motivating. With this motivational power of games comes great responsibility to go beyond using playful badges and point systems to truly tap into the intrinsic motivation of users".

The conference proceedings are available. Here are some of the papers related to gamification of education:

Full Papers:
  • Competition as an Element of Gamification for Learning: an Exploratory Longitudinal Investigation; 
  • Improving Participation and Learning with Gamification; 
  • The Design and Evaluation of a Classroom Exergame;
  • Driven to drive: Designing gamification for a learner logbook smartphone application;
  • Gamification and Serious Game Approaches for Introductory Computer Science Tablet Software.
Short Papers:
  • Gamifying Behaviour that Leads to Learning;
  • Improving Student Creativity with Gamification and Virtual Worlds.