Tuesday, April 29, 2014

EUTIC - European and interdisciplinary research network on issues and uses of information and communication technologies is pleased to announce its X Symposium - The role of ICT in the design of informational and cognitive processes, to be held in October 22-24, 2014, at Universidade NOVA de Lisboa, Portugal. 

  • Scenarios for digital learning;
  • Information and communication science and technology;
  • Political and institutional communication;
  • Publishing and dissemination of information;
  • Culture promotion and heritage preservation;
  • Management and organisational strategies in the professional world;  
  • Employment and social inclusion;
  • Environmental protection and nature conservation.

Important Dates:
  • Call for papers - 7th March 2014 (extended to 12th May 2014)
  • EUTIC 2014 LISBON - 22, 23, 24th October 2014


Tuesday, April 22, 2014

CSEDU 2015: Call for Papers

CSEDU 2015, the International Conference on Computer Supported Education, aims at becoming a yearly meeting place for presenting and discussing new educational environments, best practices and case studies on innovative technology-based learning strategies, institutional policies on computer supported education including open and distance education, using computers. In particular, the Web is currently a preferred medium for distance learning and the learning practice in this context is usually referred to as e-learning. CSEDU 2014 is expected to give an overview of the state of the art as well as upcoming trends, and to promote discussion about the pedagogical potential of new learning and educational technologies in the academic and corporate world.

Conference Areas:
  • Information Technologies Supporting Learning 
  • Learning/Teaching Methodologies and Assessment 
  • Social Context and Learning Environments 
  • Domain Applications and Case Studies 
  • Ubiquitous Learning
Upcoming Deadlines:
  • Regular Paper Submission: December 16, 2014
  • Regular Paper Authors Notification: March 11, 2015
  • Regular Paper Camera Ready and Registration: March 25, 2015

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Vote for the Top 100 Tools for Learning 2014

Vote for the Top 100 Tools for Learning 2014 until Friday 26 September 2014. The list will be revealed on Monday, 29 September 2014. It is possible to vote through the c4lpt website or by tweeting to @C4LPT. Voters much choose 10 tools for learning.

My vote in 2013 and my vote for 2014:

Small differences regarding the choices in 2013. I still vote for Classdojo, the only gamified tool in my list.

Last year's list is available at The Top 100 Tools for Learning 2013 (#1 Twitter, #2 Google Drive, #3 Youtube). 

Friday, April 11, 2014

A Brief History of Gamification: Part V - The Definitions (Again)

This is not exactly history (yet) but the discussion about the recent proposal for a gamification definition proposed by Brian Burke, a research analyst at Gartner, brings new issues that will help to understand the concept of gamification and, therefore, will probably be part of its history.

Gamification is “the use of game mechanics and experience design to digitally engage and motivate people to achieve their goals”

They care to explain in detail the components of their proposal:
  • Game mechanics describes the use of elements such as points, badges and leaderboards that are common to many games.
  • Experience design describes the journey players take with elements such as game play, play space and story line.
  • Gamification is a method to digitally engage, rather than personally engage, meaning that players interact with computers, smartphones, wearable monitors or other digital devices, rather than engaging with a person.
  • The goal of gamification is to motivate people to change behaviors or develop skills, or to drive innovation.
  • Gamification focuses on enabling players to achieve their goals. When organizational goals are aligned with player goals, the organization achieves its goals as a consequence of players achieving their goals.
Concerning game elements, not much to say. The examples given are the usual game elements found in gamified applications. Calling them game mechanics or game elements is another issue. I prefer the term "game elements". "Mechanics", in my view, are related to the rules that govern the use of the elements, how are they related and how they can motivate people to achieve their goals.

Experience design is, to my knowledge, a new term in the gamification universe. I believe it is related to the player journey (see this post). In the explanation there is a connection to play, which is a central component in gamification.

A major issue concerning the definition, that raises most of the discussion, is about "digitally engage". In this definition, gamification can only be applied in a digital context. That is not the view of many gamification researchers and practitioners (or gamification gurus). In fact, the concept can be used in any context, digital or non-digital. Digital technologies can help by providing the platforms to assist the implementation of the concept in a non-digital context, but that is not mandatory. See this post about the different application contexts of gamification.

The last part of the definition, motivate people to achieve their goals, is interesting since it focus on the players (the people with goals to be achieved) and not on the organizational goals (that must be aligned with the players' goals). But, in many situations, the target users of a gamified application, may not have such clear goals. In these cases, the gamified application tries to change the players behaviors, to achieve certain goals, that are useful for them but that they are not aware of (or concerned about). Therefore, the goals are set by the organization, and the gamified application tries to motivate the players to reach those goals, that must be clear for the players and that must be, ultimately, the players' own goals. This is particular relevant in educational contexts.

To summarize, this new definition and the discussion about it shows that there is still work to be done to clarify what is meant by gamification. It is now clear that is not the same of games or serious games or simulations or game-based learning (as it was initially confused). But the Burke/Gartner definition reveals that we must look deeper into the contexts where gamification can be applied and to the tools that can be used.

The most common definition, and widely used in the academia, is still "the use of game design elements in non-game contexts". Simple and straightforward. My own definition adds a second part:

It points to the goals of gamification, an engagement like the one people experience with games, as a way to promote some desired behaviors in the target users of the gamified application (that can be digital or non-digital).

Concerning the discussion about the Burke/Gartner definition, see this posts and discussions

Gartner Redefines Gamification: What Do You Think?

A response to Gartner’s new definition of gamification

What gamification is to me – My definition

Gartner is Soooooo Wrong about Gamification…

How #Gartner got Gamification Wrong

This is the fifth post of the series A Brief History of Gamification. See also,

A Brief History of Gamification: Part I - The Origin

A Brief History of Gamification: Part II - The Name

A Brief History of Gamification: Part III - The Definitions

A Brief History of Gamification: Part IV - The Evolution

Friday, April 04, 2014

A Brief History of Gamification: Part IV - The Evolution

This is the fourth post on The Brief History of Gamification, following Part I - The Origin, Part II - The Name and Part III - The Definitions. I invite others to contribute (with comments to the post) if something is missing and to correct what may be wrong or incomplete.

Since the first uses of the word gamification in late 2010, the concept quickly spread. That is due, in great part, to some popular video presentations, even if some of them do not use the word gamification. These video presentations, some at the TED Conferences, highlighted the importance of game thinking, with perspectives from game designers like Tom Chatfield, Jane McGonigal and Jessie Schell (all in 2010) or perspectives from digital marketing professionals, like Gabe Zichermann (in 2011).

In 2011, the word gamification was part of the Oxford University Press short list for the word of the year. In the same year, Jane McGonigal published Reality is Broken: Why Games Make Us Better and How They Can Change the World, a book about how features from video games could be used in different contexts making a contribution to a better citizenship and to a better world. Although McGonigal, a game designer, never mentioned the word gamification, the concept was present and inspired several other gamification’s developers and researchers. Many software applications, digital services, campaigns, products and communication strategies released in 2011 and after were inspired by this gamification movement.

Gartner added gamification to its “hype cycle for emergent technologies” in 2011, pointing for a period of 5 to 10 years for mainstream adoption. Gartner uses hype cycles to track technology adoption: after the “peak of inflated expectations” period, technologies will fall into the “trough of disillusionment”. Then, they will start evolving to the “slope of enlightenment” and some of them will reach the “plateau of productivity”. By 2013, gamification was at the “peak of inflated expectations”. 

Gamification became a buzzword in the business world and a popular term in digital media.

Also with an increasing number of scholars and professionals becoming interested in the concept, along with the general public, the online learning platform Coursera launched in August 2012, a MOOC on gamification, lectured by Kevin Werbach, an Associate Professor from the University of Pennsylvania. The course had more than 80.000 registered students with further editions in 2013 (with 66.000 students) and January 2014 (with 70.000 registrations). After the first edition of the course, Werbach co-authored the book For the Win: How Game Thinking Can Revolutionize Your Business.

Since 2011, a large number of web log posts were released covering gamification related themes. These first references to gamification were very informal and debated the advantages or drawbacks of the concept and look for examples within web applications. Books on gamification were also published (e.g. Gamification by Design, Gamification at Work: Designing Engaging Business SoftwareLoyalty 3.0: How to Revolutionize Customer and Employee Engagement with Big Data and Gamification). Most of them approach the concept with a business or enterprise view and others cover specific areas of application, like education and training (The Gamification of Learning and Instruction: Game-based Methods and Strategies for Training and Education; The Gamification of Learning and Instruction Fieldbook: Ideas into Pratice).

Gamified applications, gamification platforms and a large number of academic papers on gamification also became part of the gamification movement, but that is for future posts.

The concept behind gamification long precedes the emergence of the term although its spread was only possible when the digital games industry has matured and after a generation of gamers was fully active in their working lives. The proliferation of digital media, social networks and other popular Web 2.0 applications have also created the environment that helped the dissemination of a movement that, despite all the criticism, became known as gamification.

This nice infographic (first published here) shows some of the important milestones on the short but rich history of gamification:


See also:

A Brief History of Gamification: Part I - The Origin

A Brief History of Gamification: Part II - The Name

A Brief History of Gamification: Part III - The Definitions