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Towards a Model of Critical Gamification: Writing Games, Rules Deployment, and Real World Success
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Towards a Model of Critical Gamification: Writing Games, Rules Deployment, and Real World Success

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My presentation for the annual Conference on College Composition and Communication (http://www.ncte.org/cccc/) on the gamification (or the process of making things more game-like) of classrooms.

My presentation for the annual Conference on College Composition and Communication (http://www.ncte.org/cccc/) on the gamification (or the process of making things more game-like) of classrooms.

Published in Education
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  • 1. TOWARDS A MODEL OF CRITICAL GAMIFICATION: WRITING GAMES, RULES DEPLOYMENT, AND REAL WORLD SUCCESS Guiseppe Getto gettog@ecu.edu Nathan Franklin nfinitum.nathan@gmail.com
  • 2. What We’ll Cover  What we mean by writing games  iFixit’s writing game  Towards a model of critical gamification  Implications
  • 3. Writing Games  Definition  A problem-solving activity [involving writing], approached with a playful attitude – Schell 2008
  • 4. Writing Games, 2  Rules deployment  Gamesfacilitate human contact, are enjoyable, use rules to create problems for people to solve, and engage creativity - Radoff 2011  The closer you get to this with rules you build, the better  Thus rules deployment in writing games should be rhetorical (e.g. critical, epistemological, persuasive)
  • 5. iFixit’s Writing Game  TheTechnicalWriting Project (http://edu.ifixit.com/)  Free devices and tool kits shipped to technical writing instructors  Teaching and technical support  Students create real documentation for the repair of devices
  • 6. iFixit’s Writing Game, 2
  • 7. iFixit’s Writing Game, 3
  • 8. iFixit’s Writing Game, 4
  • 9. iFixit’s Writing Game, 5
  • 10. iFixit’s Writing Game, 6
  • 11. iFixit’s Writing Game, 7
  • 12. iFixit’s Writing Game, 8
  • 13. Critical Gamification  Some problems with gaming theory  “Gamification is bullshit” - Bogost 2011  E.g., you can’t gamify anything that isn’t already a game  But this essentializes a “game” as something that is a priori designated as a game, and rules out everything else  So, because iFixit labels theirTechnical Writing Project a “project,” can it never be a game?  Isn’t there more than one way for something to be a game?
  • 14. Critical Gamification, 2  Some problems with gaming theory, 2  Definitions of games are too facile and don’t discriminate between different types of games  Immersive  Mobile vs. online vs. offline  Social networks vs. individual  Competitive vs. casual  Micro games vs. large-scale games  Gamified professional environments like classrooms
  • 15. Critical Gamification, 3  Some problems with gaming theory, 3  We don’t have enough empirical research on gamification to say definitively if it works or not  We know people like games  Thus folks are busing gamifying things on the assumption people will like them more  We need comparative studies between gamified situations and non-gamified situations
  • 16. Critical Gamification, 4  Some problems with gaming theory, 4  Gaming studies uses “correlationism” to define what is and is not a game  Correlationism = saying there is an a priori arrangement for all possible networks - Meillassoux2009  The response is “contingency”  Network arrangements are always already contingent on the specific arrangement of both human and nonhuman actors that emerge within a given network - Latour 2005, Bennett 2009
  • 17. Critical Gamification, 5  Some attempted solutions  More empirical research on gamification!  An open question: can gamification be critical? Meaning:  Used rhetorically, but ethically - Rickert 2013  Used democratically rather than as a marketing ploy - Reeves and Read 2009, Chatfield 2010, Radoff 2011  Viewed as a way to change the ways actors relate to one another within a given network
  • 18. Critical Gamification, 6  iFixit’sTechnicalWriting Projectis a “social experience game” (or an experience that uses game-like features to enhance engagement)- Radoff 2011  Successful rules deployment  Turns technical documentation into a more social and more enjoyable experience  Engages writers in “structured creativity” - Radoff 2011  Real world problems, e.g. new knowledge will be democratically negotiated with other users  Thousands of engaged users from all over the world
  • 19. Implications  Certainly, not everything is a game  Perhaps elements of games can be used critically for teaching and other forms of professional engagement  Need more research!  This critical gamification must be rhetorical, ethical, and based in the contingencies of specific networks