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Spring Forward and Spring Cleaning

Florida sunset with palm trees

Living in Florida is always a vacation, except when in traffic

Howdy y’all!  Wish I could say I was on vacation to someplace exciting, but it just ain’t so.

Been busy though and now I’m going to pay some attention to you and this blog…  Take a moment to fill out my survey and tell your friends and your friends’ moms to fill this bad boy out.  Only available for a limited time!

Soon we will be coming back strong with amazing blog entries all about the use of technology in learning and of course, gamification!  I want to hear what you want first though… bring it!

Team Turtle: World Cup Predictions, FIFA Gamification & a Catspiracy!

Neil deGrasse Tyson Dr. Who Meme

My favorite time and space exploring doctor doesn’t need a screwdriver or police box to be awesome.

Big Head? He’s the Brazilian loggerhead turtle that is predicting FIFA Cup team winners before the games take place. He’s 1 for 1 now, eating a fish underneath a Brazilian flag instead of under a Croatian flag or soccer/football to represent a draw. Though, according to this article, the legendary footballer Pele believes Chile will take it all. I’m a hometown girl and will be rooting for the US of A during their games.

While there is no overall gamification strategy throughout the FIFA World Cup Brazil site, they do have a few corporate sponsored games with the possibility of winning physical prizes. The Castrol’s Predictor Challenge does use leagues/teams with leaderboard and points. The game also provides golden questions that are only available 24 hours before the game to encourage daily visits to the site.  How would you have gamified the World Cup website to make engagement better?

While FIFA players are going to fight it out like cats and dogs, back home at the “GSummit” (G for gamification), Neil deGrasse Tyson in his keynote speech suggests that we all have something to teach at the end of the day. If anyone else headed to GSummit, please drop us a line here and share your thoughts.  We are made of star-stuff/star-dust and the universe wants to kill you. Change your perspective because 1/3 of galaxies rotate counter-clockwise. Guess what- he knows where Krypton is! Cat memes have messages? There are probably as many science memes as cat memes. Okay, wait a minute! While blogging at BBWorld13 last year, keynote speaker Clay Shirky highlighted cat memes and now Neil deGrasse Tyson brings them up. This sounds like a “catspiracy”.  Why not turtle memes? The turtles and tortoises of the universe are revolting.

Big Head approves this message.

7-step Customer Gamification Cookbook

Interesting blog post (this is me saying you should read it). Really ties into a couple of basic principles. 1. who, what, when, where, why and 2. Activity Loops: Engagement loops (motivation, action, feedback) or Progression loops (onboarding, challenge, rest- repeat a few times with increasing challenge slowly leading up to a boss fight). Badges are good example of an engagement loop. 3rd principle this post ties into is go social. People want to share what they do with their time. It connects us.

Game Notes

You are doing good business now. The idea behind gamification is that you want your business to be even better. This means utilizing the best of your current practice to motivate existing customers to recognize your brand, participate, and spend more.

A well designed customer gamification program identifies and enables power social media users to become social media brand ambassadors. Using the best practices in the industry, gamification can be turned to a powerful social customer acquisition and activation mechanism.

1. Define the gamification target. Your target determines everything. Understanding the habits of your target will make or break your gamification program.

2. Measure statistics about target. How often does your average customer engage now? What are the statistics divided by type of activity, divided by customer age, location, device usage, product usage?

3. Build gamification achievements based on statistics. Abstract how measurable statistics change over time throughout the customer lifecycle…

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7 Tips for good Gamification Design — Gamification Nation

See on Scoop.itgamified2learn

My 7 tips for good gamification design in under 7 minutes… http://t.co/hJV47JlnWD

Sky V. King‘s insight:

Great video (with a lovely accent)- take a gander!  7 top tips to help you design a successful gamification design… What do you think is the most important?

See on gamificationnation.com

How to (not) score a gamification epic fail

Turkey day is near, as is Black Friday (Blue Sunday, Cyber Monday etc).  It’s the “big day” for the retail world.  Currently, gamification is the biggest buzz word in the business sector.  Businesses want to increase engagement with their clients and develop customer loyalty which can reap substantial financial rewards, especially during the high holiday season. Let’s examine Target’s use of gamification in their Facebook page for Black Friday- the busiest shopping day of the year.

Poor gamification design in Black Friday campaign

Target's Black Friday gameGamification.co describes the poor design of the Target’s 2012 Facebook Black Friday campaign- notice that they didn’t run the same or similar campaign again this year.  The gist of the campaign is that you choose between two items to guess which item is on sale for Black Friday.  It then tallies and records how much you would save if you bought 20 “secret” items.  This information is already available through various formats- no new information.  The choices that the player makes is not meaningful. It ends up being gamification for gamification’s sake, what Gamification.co describes as “pointsification,” ie poor gamified design.  After reviewing Gamification.co’s article, below are a few take-away lessons.

    • Lesson 1:  Games elements enhance the game play experience.
      Don’t make people play the game to discover information that is readily available.  Below we’ll discuss examples of game design that successfully reveal new information through puzzles and/or “easter eggs.”  The objective of Target’s game does not align to the game activities that players perform.
    • Lesson 2: Social sharing should engage others to play.
      Target allowed players to share how much they would have saved if they purchased the 20 “secret” items.  Ability to socially share accomplishments in game play is important to elements of engagement and competition. Besides the fact that completion of the game as the only result of the game, the act of sharing this “achievement” does not engage others to play the game. After sharing, your friends should want to compare their game play to yours or in example, beat the “savings” you earned.  People are social by nature and usually want to connect with others by sharing their activities.

      Text correct of Harry Potter manuscript, bonus content from interactive puzzle

      Bonus content from J. K. Rowling’s Scholastic website

2 Examples of Good Gamification Elements

Using puzzles and/or providing “easter eggs” within a game can progress game play, as well as adding elements of mystery and excitement.  Prior to book releases or major press releases, J. K. Rowling used interactive puzzle games on her Scholastic website to entice her fans to discover bonus content or new information before it was shared through traditional venues.  Fans were required click on items in a certain sequence to reveal the bonus content or news releases.

Easter eggs refer to hidden items inside of the game or activity, as if they were eggs hidden during the Easter holiday during a scavenger hunt.  Sometimes these easter eggs will be graphics or textual clues to assist in resolving a larger puzzle or task.

Kevin Werbach’s Gamification course on Coursera uses easter eggs by changing items in a bookcase seen behind him in video lectures each week.  These items when collected or noticed by the students are evaluated to determine its value.  Werbach offered bonus points to the first student who guessed the hidden message adding a level of competition, as well as bragging rights as a form of reward.  This type of game element supports players who like to explore or play a discovery role.  Werbach’s secret message was related to learning about games and added an extra layer to watching class lectures.

Target made the mistake of using redundant information in their Black Friday game which invalidated the game objectives, resulting in an epic gamification fail.  Kevin Werbach used hidden clues in video lectures that provided new, but optional information to students to encourage additional motivation to watch lectures.  What other types of easter eggs, hidden clues or puzzles can be added to a course to make learning fun?  Would using these elements distract you from the primary message of the course content?  How does one balance adding an engaging activity so that it doesn’t overshadow the primary learning objective?

How to Beat the Game- Motivation in Education

boy walking with carrot dangling from a stick via a hat contraptionMotivating students to achieve, learn, retain.  It’s what instructors and instructional designers want.  The question continues to be how to do it best, your newest buzz word- what’s “best practice”?  Gamification is another buzz word being throw around in various sectors from corporate business to education, with claims to increase interaction, sales or engagement by supposed triple number percentages.  Gamification is the process of applying game elements to ordinary activities to affect a desired change. A best practice, possibly. Get ready for a news flash: education is already gamified.

But, Education Is (Poorly) Gamified

Is education is already gamified? Some say yes it is, yet poorly. We say poorly because students aren’t effectively engaged and compete poorly on a global scale.  Let’s address some game design elements currently used in education:

  • Course objectives are goals for attainment.
  • Students earn points for completing tasks (assignments=quests).
  • Students collaborate in groups (guilds).
  • Students get feedback through grades.
  • Students level up based on points, moving from C-> B -> A. Students level up through grade years as well.
  • Grades K-12 have honor rolls while universities have the Dean’s List in the way of leader boards.
  • The ultimate badge/certification is a diploma.

The imperative is to address these game elements, as well as others, in order to make them more effective towards the course objectives. Game design is everywhere, as Elizabeth Sampat argues.  Gamification is one tool for learning in education, not a solution or magic formula.  It depends on the design, the mechanics.  Good Design = Good Gaming.

Get Practice in Game Design

Before you begin to apply game elements to your lessons, you may want to get into the “trenches” first. Playing well-designed games is a great way to start to get experience in gamification and game design.  Find games that have a “stickiness” factor- the addictive qualities or that desire to make you want to keep playing.  Ask yourself why you keep playing?  What makes you think about the game when you are not playing? What game elements are used and what continues to motivate you?  What frustrates you, though not enough to make you want to give up? These are the elements you should captivate and employ to increase collaboration and engagement in your courses.

Check out 16 principles of good game design by James Gee for more details how to apply game elements to education.  My favorite is “pleasantly frustrated,” whereas I continue for the past 249+ days to try to beat level 147 in Candy Crush with the sound turned off (because it is annoying), without contributing any money to it’s company, King.

Examples of Applying Game Elements to Education

1) BOSS LEVEL

Applying game elements to education is especially effective when you teach the players how to build their own game.  This Edutopia article describes how students create their own boss level assignment to overcome. The phrase “boss level” refers to the culminating challenge in a video game where players use all the skills they have to solve the problem. Students apply what they have learned during the semester to create a challenging task, a Rube Goldberg machine (a machine designed to accomplish a simple task in a complex way, usually through chain reaction)- transitioning the learner to leader.  This approach provides prime opportunity for a student-centered learning environment.

2) LECTURES

Professor Lampe from University of Michigan teaching informatics shares how he gamified his class lectures here through- *gasp* a video. Prof. Lampe has received testimonies from his former students noting they have a better recollection of the class experience and the course content compared to others classes.  Study is still ongoing to quantify the result of the gamification of his course.

3) THE QUEST

Steven Johnson from Temple University introduced The Quest to his MIS3538 Social Media Innovation course.  He used self-paced learning and self-selected activities that progressively got more difficulty providing feedback through points, badges, ranking through a leader board and recognition for leveling up.  Read more about it.

Hopefully this has your brain gears churning away of how to apply gamification principles to engage students.  Don’t forget to leave us a comment especially if you think Candy Crush’s music is weird or if you have used gamification in your course. Until next time, keep on gaming!

If Wearables Are Going to Grow Up, Games Might Point the Way

See on Scoop.itgamified2learn

If Wearables Are Going to Grow Up, Games Might Point the Way AllThingsD Conference attendees packed one of the meeting rooms at the Los Angeles Convention Center last week to hear Mind Pirate CEO Shawn Hardin and VP Unni Narayanan pitch games for…

Sky V. King‘s insight:

We’re so close to making the “Sight” video a reality.
http://youtu.be/lK_cdkpazjI
Would you want a gamified layer on top of real life, smart glasses that help you navigate life?  Google glass is here… just needs a little more development.

See on allthingsd.com

TRENDING: Disney’s Second Screen Live Gamifies the Movies!

We’re going to take a break from talking about game elements that contribute to gamification right now and discuss a new trend in entertainment. Yes, I know I said that this blog was about gamification applied to education, but it’s a complex world where most everything is related.

Ever hear about the restoration of wolves to Yellowstone National Park? I rest my case about the fact that everything is connected (which I would love to include the article link, but as I’m writing this there is a government shutdown affecting the websites- link was placed in after government continued functioning fully).

American Idol & The Voice Give Opportunities for Engagement

microphone

By Lestat (Jan Mehlich) [CC-BY-SA-2.5]

American Idol and The Voice are singing competitions where audience members can vote on their favorite performances. American Idol allows audience members to vote during a two-hour window by calling, texting or submitting their votes online. The Voice allows audience members to vote through iTunes song downloads.

Both shows encourage live tweeting with performers and judges. These two shows really set the stage for audience members interacting with each other and their entertainment shows.

Disney’s Second Screen Live- Gamifying the Movies

Disney re-released “The Little Mermaid” in theaters with the following twist: bring your iPad downloaded with Second Screen Live App to interact with the movie while you are watching it. In fact when you enter the theater, you are split up into different teams named from the different characters to add a sense of competition to the mix. In addition to tapping out bubbles and fireworks, audience members solve trivia questions to rack up points.

Disney has applied game elements such as points and competition to watching a movie. Would you pay movie theater prices to watch a movie you’ve already watched? Most likely not, unless you have special connection or you watched it when you were a kid and now you have kids of your own. Disney’s betting on that too.

McDonald’s Monopoly Game Uses Gamification

In a previous post, we shared a monster of a list noting examples of gamification to include: McDonald’s Monopoly Game. “McNopoly,” as I’m coining it, encourages you to buy something that you might not normally buy in quantity, in the hopes you “win” something. Everyone likes to be a winner. It’s like like the phrase, “it’s 5 o’clock somewhere.” Someone wins at McNopoly, somewhere. However, lots of little prizes: free fries! Bet you buy a Coke to wash those fries down.

Gamifying the Movies- So What Does It All Mean

Most of us multitask, some even while using the toilet. I know, TMI. Do we really need to add another layer of stimulation in our movie theater going experience? However, the entertainment industry wants to capture ALL of your attention.

So what does this means if it was applied to education? How can we increase interaction and engagement by using some of the same elements that Disney has used? Perhaps live tweeting during classes using a specific hashtag (#FSULIS5385)? Hogwarts house style points system for answering questions correctly or doing the right & good things?

What would you do to increase engagement in learning? Would you see “The Little Mermaid” Second Screen Live if it came to a theater near you? Drop us a comment or two about what you think? Until next time, go get your game on! Don’t forget to drop by our Facebook page for additional #gamification content: http://www.facebook.com/tech2games .

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Top 3 “Fun” Fitness Apps to Keep You Fit for the Zombie Invasion

Congratulations, by clicking on this post you’ve burned approximately 1.42 calories!  Not many love exercising- it is what it is.  Most of us don’t have super active jobs anymore so we need to exercise in order to maintain our health and fitness, or improve it.  I won’t harp on the exponentially rising obesity rates in the United States, because we ain’t got time for that. Games are a great way to motivate us to get on the exercise ball!  The combination of video games and exercise, termed as “exergaming” has steadily been on the rise since Nintendo Wii’s inception. Let’s move on, or just start moving!

3. Nexercise

Here’s a basic gamified approach to exercise that awards badges, points and also uses leader boards (BPL).  You can also win rewards: swag, ie free stuff and discounts to merchandise/services.  Share your results easily with friends to add to the  competition game element.  What’s so great about this app?  If you are competitive and a high achiever, this app will get your started on your fitness journey.  However, there is no storyline in Nexercise and no direct engagement while you are exercising.  This app is more akin to a activity monitor with perks!

2. Fit Freeway

Screenshot of Fit Freeway app during play

Lose weight and get fit playing video games. Really! The key is finding exercise you enjoy – that’s Fit Freeway.

This app will get you racing to use the elliptical or stationary bike!  Fit Freeway is an old-style arcade car racing game.  Available for iOS devices, it uses the iPhone/iPad accelerometer to track your activity while you use the front facing camera to steer your speeding car.  Seeing as you need to hold the phone in front of your face for this app to work properly, you’re going to lose some intensity while running/jogging.  However, the faster or more intense your activity- the faster your car goes!

What’s great about this app?  This is fun and sometimes that is all you need.  The fun factor provides a distraction from gym boredom of staring at the wall or the TV.  However, a review stated the vibration detection to determine the car’s acceleration wasn’t spot on.  Fit Freeway might be left in the dust compared to the next top “fun” fitness app listed below.

1. Zombie Run

Zombie Run 2 logo

Get Fit. Escape Zombies. Become a Hero.

Download either Zombie Run ($3.99) available for iOS or Android.  Zombies are big now, much like most of our waistlines. The premise is you are not undead, but the undead are chasing after you.  While you run, you pick up ammunition and medical supplies that you need for your home base.  You create your own music playlist and in between song tracks voice recordings or radio announcements are made updating you to your storyline.  After your run/jog, you use supplies to build up your home base.

What’s great about this app?  Run or die. The future of humans is depending on you; it’s a race for survival.  It’s a severe thought, but a motivating one if you role play in this situation.  In addition, this game has a creation component that allows you to create a virtual living environment as you are responsible of the success and viability of the home base/township.  Psychologically speaking, this type of activity gives an user a sense of control and accomplishment.  This game has 33 free missions (more if you pay for them) to allow you to level up as you play. In addition, this app easily allows you to share your workout logs with others via social media, like Facebook and Twitter.  Stay alive and go get your game on!