Top Gamification tips: How games are re-wiring brains and shaping behaviours of the future

Article credit to NetImperative.

A ‘games mindset’ is permeating and influencing in areas well outside of what we understand as ‘games’. Marcus Thornley, Founder of Play Consulting explains how consumers, business leaders, and even the nature of work itself is increasingly receptive to, and driven by, the triggers, stimuli and approaches pioneered in games.

A little bit of me dies when I hear the word ‘gamification’.

Gamification just sounds a bit pseudo… like bogus Consultant-babble. In fact, during 8 years working in mobile games, I never once heard or used the word. We just made great experiences that were obsessively focused on the player. Easy!

But coming out of the industry, deconstructing what games actually are, and successfully applying a games mindset to solve real business challenges at Play, has taught me how powerful game approaches can be within business.

More than ever, I’m convinced that this games mindset is permeating and influencing in areas well outside of what we understand as ‘games’ – that consumers, business leaders, and even the nature of work itself is increasingly receptive to, and driven by, the triggers, stimuli and approaches pioneered in games.

Moreover, for reasons set out below, this pervasive trend is only going to speed up. The world is getting gamified – you better hold tight!

Gamified since birth

The word gamification may stick in the throat – it may be glibly used by people who don’t know what they’re talking about (you know who you are) – but the notion that game approaches can revolutionise engagement, motivation and behaviour is proven. At Play we are doing it, day in and day out – across healthcare, financial services, media, utilities and retail.

That doesn’t mean that a leaderboard, some XP and a couple of badges are going to make one iota’s difference on their own. I view the mechanisms of games (leaderboards, points, levels, badges, challenges, goals, teaching-by-doing, re-engagement etc) a bit like lipstick: used with a beautiful product, they augment, improve and enchant; used with a pig of a product… well, it’s like putting lipstick on a pig!.

That’s because it’s the product that matters – the slavish focus on the user/player and solving real problems for real people. Only once you understand the core of the product can you supercharge it with gamification: optimising the core loops, creating the right tone, crafting the onboarding and re-engagement… ultimately, nailing the experience!. That’s what most people who spout forth on gamification don’t understand – the lipstick salesmen don’t care about product. At Play, product’s all we care about.

Games are, over and above anything else, beautiful products – designed to be used with incredible frequency to deliver win moments, value, emotional engagement and behaviour change. Yes, there are characters, and whizzing, and spinning, and sometimes guns or candies or divine beasts, but at their core they are engagement experiences that drive billions of people to dedicate time and feel joy.

Games have grown exponentially in the last two decades – in large part due to the growth of mobile as a platform and casual as a genre. This year the games market is estimated to be worth $100bn – and growing 9% y-o-y. That’s more than cinema, more than recorded music. User growth has also been staggering. In 1995, there were an estimated 100m gamers – that figure is now 2.6bn, with the demographic balance shifting from adolescent teens to mums, dads and older players. The average player age is now 35.

More significant than games’ revenue or player base, is the societal trend that they are ushering in. Mary Meeker’s Internet Trend Report was fascinating – games were the biggest single story – and in one line she nailed what is now the reality – ‘Millennials and Generation X have been gamified since birth’.

Take that in. The next wave(s) – your employees, your customers, your future business leaders, regulators, partners and suppliers – they get games, they respond to games, they thrive on game loops and the inputs, feedback and notions of AMP (autonomy, mastery and progression). In short, they are wired to respond to the games mindset.

This breakout from games to wider product is already happening. Look at the most successful products and leaders on the planet and you’ll see games represent. Linkedin – gamified product, with Hoffman on record saying it was his childhood gaming that informs his strategic sense. Facebook – you think likes and the re-engagement loop doesn’t borrow from games? Zuckerberg has said it was his love of games that drove him to programming. The list goes on: Trip Advisor,EbayCodecademyTinderFitbit  – they’re all gamified, all habitual, all examples where the customers (and the leadership in most cases) have been gamified since birth. In Mary Meeker’s words, games are now foundational to digital success.

Looking forward

I can only see this trend accelerating. Consider VR, AI, AR – games are likely part of the first use case and the adoption medium for these technologies. Games are the context in which new technologies will be introduced, optimised and reinforced.

I see games as the perfect digital onboarding mechanism (for both leaders and users), as well as the perfect reference point for other products. I admit this can get all a bit meta – watch this Musk video on the chance we’re actually living in a simulation to really go to extremes. But, God being a game-designer or not, it’s clear that:

  • Billions of people now understand, accept and respond to game approaches – they are hard-wired to
  • A games mindset is core to many of the top performing digital products – they have become foundational for success
  • This trend is only likely to accelerate – new technology will build on this shared context

At Play, we’ve been at the vanguard of this game mindset approach for three years now – when the only people mentioning gamification were clueless consultants and Gartner’s meaningless hype-curve. It’s super validating that it’s now hit the horizons of people like Mary Meeker and is starting to be socialised outside the industry and early-adopters.

The future is one where a games mindset and personal data allow us all to self-optimise and win. It’s hopefully also one where we have a better term to describe what we do – until then, gamification (or ‘gasification’ as Apple charmingly auto-corrects to) can stay…

By Marcus Thornley

Founder

Play Consulting

 

About Play Consulting

Play Consulting is a digital product innovation studio based in London and Dublin. Founded in March 2014 by Marcus Thornley, it’s grown to a team of 22 people, with alumni from EA, PopCap and Mind Candy. Play’s built on the belief that game techniques can be used to create habits that help people achieve their goals. Play’s mission is to create digital products that help individuals make great decisions and build positive behaviours.  For more information about Play Consulting, visit: http://www.play-consult.co.uk/

 

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EU Code Week is celebrating its 5th birthday on 7-22 October – get ready, join in and learn how to create with code!

Europe is skilling up in digital – the fifth edition of EU Code Week will take place 7-22 October 2017. Join the celebrations and learn how to express yourself with code. Create an app, a game, a website, make an interactive story or why not tinker with some hardware or make a robot move? Organise coding events for your parents, grandparents, friends or children and colleagues and help them understand and become active in our digital world.

EU Code Week is a grass-root movement run by volunteers who promote programming, computational thinking and related activities in their countries as Code Week Ambassadors.

The aims of this initiative are to show how people can bring ideas to life with code, to make programming more visible and bring motivated people together to learn. Anyone is welcome to organise Code Week events and all event organisers – schools, non-for profit organisations, businesses, libraries, code clubs etc. – add them to the codeweek.eumap that serves as a catalogue of coding initiatives.

Since 2013, the Code Week initiative organised more than 33000 coding events in +50 countries in and outside Europe.  In 2016, almost a million people participated. out of which 46% were girls or women.

 

Getting ready for Code Week:  On 30th June the Code Week Ambassadors will be meeting in Brussels for a Code Week hunting game across the city! Follow the events on Facebook and Twitter.

Get involved during Code Week:

  • Organise your own coding event and add your event to the map!

Background

As part of the Digital Single Market, the European Commission promotes various initiatives aimed at increasing digital skills for the workforce and for citizens e.g. the Digital Skills and Jobs Coalition and EU Code Week. The Commission supports communication activities and invites the Code Week ambassadors to two meetings per year. Some other partners offer other forms of support i.e Google grants money this year for innovative events targeting children aged 5-18.

Get in touch

Website:             CodeWeek.eu

Blog:                   http://blog.codeweek.eu/

Twitter:               @CodeWeekEU, #codeEU

Facebook:          CodeEU

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The European Commission invites organisations to attract more girls and women into digital

Through the Digital Skills and Jobs Coalition the European Commission invites companies and organisations to organise activities to equip more women and girls with digital skills and enthuse them to pursue ICT studies and careers.

“Technology desperately lacks gender balance on all domains – STEM education, digital jobs, decision making and tech business. Today less than one in five ICT graduates is a woman and the share is not progressing. Moreover, only 16% of the almost 8 million people working in ICT are women. Activities to improve the situation in ICT education and work could help women to succeed in a variety of domains.”

Employment in the ICT sector has been growing in the last ten years. However, only around 16% of the almost 8 million people working in ICT are women, and their share of workforce is declining. Attracting more women to technology would ensure a boost to the economy and would contribute to further economic empowerment of women, as ICT is a sector where almost no pay gap between men and women with equivalent levels of qualification and responsibility.

Thematic call for women in ICT pledges

In order to bring attention to these issues and foster new solutions, the Digital Skills and Jobs Coalition is opening a thematic call for pledges on Women in ICT, which will run in parallel to the general pledging for action in the four general categories of the Coalition:

  • Digital skills for all – developing digital skills to enable all citizens to be active in our digital society
  • Digital skills for the labour force – developing digital skills for the digital economy, e.g. upskilling and reskilling workers, jobseekers; actions on career advice and guidance
  • More and better trained ICT professionals in Europe – developing high level digital skills for ICT professionals in all industry sectors
  • Digital skills in education – transforming teaching and learning of digital skills in a lifelong learning perspective, including the training of teachers

Organisations wishing to pledge could focus on organising the following activities:

  • providing digital skills training with a special focus on women and girls
  • raising awareness about the opportunities available for women in ICT
  • giving visibility to female role models that would inspire girls
  • upskilling, re-skilling women, etc.

How do I make a pledge?

Your organisation should become a member of the Digital Skills and Jobs Coalition and make a pledge for action by end September 2017. Pledges could be by individual organisations or companies or collectives. Selected pledges with this thematic focus will be invited to present their initiatives at a Digital Skills and Jobs Coalition event in December 2017. The Secretariat of the Coalition will also support pledgers in facilitating further collaborations or scaling up actions.

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UK Pilot: Adventures in Space!

We have been working alongside pupils at Sneinton St Stephens Primary school which is one of the 4 NOLB partner schools in the UK.

Adventure game template: Science topic – Space themed

This is a year 5 (9-10 year old) class working on the half term topic: Space, focussing on science yet linking with several other areas of the curriculum. The pupils have had a previous half term’s introduction to Create@School, navigating the app, building their coding ability, and developing skills improving their confidence in independent learning.2

Working alongside the class teacher; Mr Gill, we identified objectives in the medium term plan that could be developed and enhanced through the use of Create@School in this topic:

literacy: using their composition skills developed through the term, pupils have created a written story, they adapted this into a series of sections within a storyboard to link with the separate ‘Levels’ within the adventure game template.

Computing: The ‘storyboarding’ of their written work helped complete a computing objective of creating an interactive story board.

History: the template’s layout is similar to a quiz, so questions reinforcing their knowledge of details about the space race and space ‘firsts’ can be added to the text to be answered correctly to reach the next part of the adventure.

Science: The adventure template has a space theme preprogramed within it and lends itself to this topic which describes the size, order and distances of the planets from the sun, the movement of the Moon relative to the Earth, movement of the earth and other planets relative to the sun in the solar system.

This being the pupils own work, we did not give them a series of objectives to meet, and allowed them to create their own stories – taking charge of their own learning.

Creating the game

3Through a constructivist approach, pupils actively tested their ideas within the template, developing both their programming and problem-solving skills. Collaborating with their peers to test ideas they questioned their ideas and strategies.

We found that as the lessons moved on, pupils felt more comfortable trying things out without asking for help, and the teaching staff took the role of encouraging role for the pupils to inquire and solve problems themselves.

 

What we achieved

By the end of the series of lessons all pupils had created a space adventure based on their literacy work. Some had uploaded their games to the PocketCode website, whilst others had shared their devices to the rest of the class.4 5

The topic has a gallery of their ICT projects with the space adventure viewed as a celebration of their achievements.

The pupils have all gained confidence in problem-solving, independent learning and programming skills and has enhanced their understanding of the topic itself and improved engagement with pupils who had struggled previously.

When they knew we were leaving, there was an audible moan. Though this raised to a cheer as we proclaimed ‘we’ll be back’!

 

 

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The Planet!2:  https://share.catrob.at/pocketcode/program/27547

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Create@School has a new round of update

Create@School aims to create digital games and game-making for education, promote inclusive gaming creating and experiences in formal learning situations. Since it´s publication, it has good number of downloads and has been demonstrated in several pilot schools in Spain, Austria and UK.

Since it´s launch, the project is fixing and adding different features. Recently, a new round of fixing and features have been updated. The details include:

  • Media assets are only available for Create@School users
  • GPII:
    • Simple brick feature
    • Intro/hints for Formula Editor
    • help link to EV3 bricks
  • 4 Templates
    • race
    • adventure rpg
    • life simulation
    • strategy

You can download the lastest version of Creat@School from here.

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Create@School showcased at Bett Show 2017

On 25th Jan 2017, Create@School is showcased in Bett Show 2017 in London, which features as the world’s leading education technology event celebrated in the UK. Create@School shares the vision of Bett which is to believe in creating a better future by transforming education and bring together people, ideas, practices and technologies so that educators and learners can fulfil their potential.

Create@School is an Android-iOS App and a learning analytics web platform designed for teachers to facilitate their engagement in class. It has a special focus on gender equality and support to kids with special needs. With this app, students from 10-18 years old can create their own games with full set of available visual elements. They can directly play with it either in school with tablets provided or at home with their own mobiles, there is no intermediate obstacles to complicate their learning process. Create@School is optimised for classrooms by allowing to be projected from their own tablet or phone to the wall.

The interface of Create@School is highly user friendly. Just like in Scratch, Create@School implements an easy-to-navigate visual interface where the creation of programs, animations, digital books and games is simply at their fingertips if they can drag and pull the building blocks together. It´s also a gaming process about collaboration. Besides intellectual challenge resides in game building, Create@School can also be a tool that incite the team spirit and the spirit of mutual support. For instance, teachers can organise a game jam in class to teach students about collaboration in a simple and intuitive way.

The uptake of Create@School is easy and simple and it can be very powerful. It offers hundreds of functionalities and ready-to-use blocks. It also allows to program Raspberry Pi, Arduino, Micro:bit, as well as Lego Mindstorms robots in an intuitive way. Other than that, the Create@School approach has surpassed all its precedents in the order of magnitude. It offers interfaces that are rich in visual, animated, adapted to mobile and other multi-media platforms. Moreover, it also integrates tablet and phone sensors, the device camera, spoken input and output, as well as computer vision.

Create@School won lots of prizes and awards in Europe and the US. For instance, the Re-Imagine Education Gold Award from QS Stars and the Wharton School of Business in the US for the best European Learning App for over all fields in December 2016, the Yound Minds Award of the European Commission, as well as the Internet for Regugees Award 2016.

 

This App is available in more than 30 languages and offers a set of educational classroom materials for teachers, tried out with more than 600 students in 3 experimental pilots, covered up to 12 subjects and has been installed more than 500,000 all over the world.

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New EU Code Week record: A million coded during the 2016 edition

Last year, almost one million people (970,000) took part in one of the 23,000 EU Code Week 2016 events that took place in more than 50 countries around the world – a 70% increase in participants from 2015. Almost half (46%) of the people creating with code were girls or women and the average age of a coder was 11 years. 2017 marks the fifth anniversary of Europe Code Week, which will take place during two weeks – 7-22 October – to cater for different periods of school holidays in European countries.

Andrus Ansip, Vice-President for the Digital Single Market said: “I am happy that this grassroots movement has grown so popular, especially since coding is becoming increasingly important in today’s world. Confidence and creativity in using digital technologies are essential for everyone in Europe to participate fully in our digital society. Moreover, basic coding skills will most likely become indispensable for the future jobs.”

Alessandro Bogliolo, EU Code Week coordinator said: “I’m amazed by the effect that CodeWeek 2016 produced in thousands of schools, where teachers and pupils shared passion and creativity to learn and have fun together. The fifth anniversary of CodeWeek will be a great opportunity to increase and consolidate the impact of this game changer initiative.”

In addition to the nearly million people who coded under the EU Code Week umbrella in some 50 countries, another 430,000 young Africans in 30 countries were introduced to coding as part of the second Africa Code Week, which is a public/private/non-profit partnership.

EU Code Week is a grassroots movement that was created by the Young Advisors to the Digital Agenda in 2013. The goal is to show that anyone can create and build things with code – just as we do with stones, bricks, clay and wood. The initiative also wants more people to learn computational thinking, understand how computers work and get different groups – teachers, engineers, business, schools, non-profit organisations – together to offer more coding opportunities for young and old.

Young people and schools very active

Thousands of events took place both outside and in schools and engaged young people in coding, working with hardware and robots or in other ways practicing computational thinking during EU Code Week.

1,833 of the schools took part in the CodeWeek4All challenge, which aims at introducing children to coding in the classroom. More than a third of the schools (692) reached the goal of involving more than half their students – or at least 200 of them – in a coding activity. They will receive the “Certificate of excellence in coding literacy” from the European Commission.

EU Code Week’s fifth anniversary: 7-22 October 2017

EU Code Week celebrates its fifth anniversary in 2017. To make it easier for schools to participate despite differences in holiday periods in Europe, EU Code Week will take place during two weeks 7-22 October. It is already time to start planning your coding event. Get in touch with partners, book rooms, find coaches… Participants of all ages will flock to all Code Week events. There are toolkits, lesson plans and guides available on the EU Code Week website, to make the organisation of events easier.

Background

The fourth edition of EU Code Week took place 15-23 October 2016. It brought together children, teenagers, adults, parents, teachers, entrepreneurs and policymakers in events and classrooms across Europe to learn to create with code.

The initiative was launched in 2013 by the Young Advisors for the Digital Agenda for Europe. The movement has grown fast. In 2013 10,000 people tried coding, in 2014 more than 150,000 people participated, in 2015 570,000 people and in 2016 970,000 expanded their digital skills.

The EU Code Week movement is led by ambassadors who volunteer their time coordinating coding events in their countries, but anyone can organise a programming workshop and add it to the codeweek.eu map. The European Commission supports EU Code Week, by helping with communication, as part of its strategy for a Digital Single Market.

Useful links

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ITAG Hackathon is Counting Down

ITAG16 Hackathon will once again be hosting the ITAG16 Hackathon at Nottingham Trent University. At the end of the challenge, participants will get the opportunity to demo their work to win prize money of £250 per team!

Taking part in several jam sites across the globe, the ITAG16 Hackathon invites game designers, artists and programmers to join us. We are challenging you to develop games or assistive technology that helps address and raise awareness of the problems surrounding health, education and disability in a little over 24 hours.

For more details please click here.

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Submit Your Abstract Now at ICERI2016

No One Left Behind encourages you to submit your abstracts for ICERI2016, the 9th annual International Conference of Education, Research and Innovation, which will be held in Seville (Spain) on the 14th, 15th and 16th of November, 2016. The deadline for abstract submission is July, 14th, 2016.

Every year, ICERI brings together more than 700 delegates from 80+ countries to present their ideas and share insights on teaching and learning methodologies and educational innovations. To make this strategic international networking successful and impactful, your paper is very much needed!

All experiences and projects in the area of education, technology and development are welcomed to be submitted as abstract proposal before July, 14th, 2016. More deadlines for different processes please click here.

Publications:

Accepted contributions will be included in the IATED Digital Library to form part of our database of innovative projects in Education and Technology.This publication will be sent to be reviewed for their inclusion in the ISI Conference Proceedings Citation Index.Conference Proceedings from the past editions of this conference (ICERI 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013 and 2014) are already indexed in the ISI Conference Proceedings Citation Index 

Additionally, IATED has become a member of Crossref, a not-for-profit membership organization for scholarly publishing working to make content easy to find, link, cite and assess. Due to this partnership, each published paper in ICERI2016 Proceedings will be assigned a DOI number (Digital Object Identifiers) for its easy citation and indexation.

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No One Left Behind Will Present at EDULEARN16!

The abstract submitted by No One Left Behind partner Helen Boulton from NTNU  titled THE ROLE OF GAME JAMS IN DEVELOPING INFORMAL LEARNING OF COMPUTATIONAL THINKING: A CROSS-EUROPEAN CASE STUDY has been accepted as in EDULEARN16 the 8th annual International Conference on Education and New Learning Technologies, hosted at Barcelona during 4th – 6th July, 2016.

 

EDULEARN is one of the largest international education conferences for lecturers, researchers, technologists and professionals from the educational sector. After 8 years, it has become a reference event where more than 700 experts from 80 countries will get together to present their projects and share their knowledge on teaching and learning methodologies and educational innovations. The 2016 edition of EDULEARN is sure to be among the most successful education conferences in Europe.

EDULEARN is more than a conference. It is an ideal platform for strategic international networking, the best place to present your innovations and projects about education and technology.

For more information, please click here.