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20 NMC Horizon Report: 2013 Higher Education EditionGames and GamificationTime-to-Adoption Horizon: Two to Three YearsT he gamer culture is growing to include a physically present. When the games industry began to substantial sector of the world’s population, incorporate network connectivity into game design, with the age of the average gamer lowering they revolutionized game-play by creating a vast each passing year. A 2012 survey conducted virtual arena, where users from all over the world could by the Entertainment Software Association connect, interact, and compete.showed that the age demographic of game players inthe U.S. is split in almost equal thirds with people ages The Internet offers gamers the opportunity to join18-35 representing 31% of gamers. As tablets and massively multiplayer online (MMO) role-playersmartphones have proliferated, desktop and laptop games, such as “World of Warcraft,” and to build onlinecomputers, television sets, and game consoles are reputations based on the skills, accomplishments, andno longer the only way to connect with competitors abilities of their virtual avatars. Whatever the scenario,online, making game-play a portable activity that can online games enables strangers to build camaraderiehappen in a diverse array of settings. Game play has and social networks in mere minutes, and to competetraversed the realm of recreation and has infiltrated in a public forum where recognition is highly desirable.the worlds of commerce, productivity, and education,proving to be a useful training and motivation tool. Advancements in mobile technology further expandWhile a growing number of educational institutions opportunities for game-play, allowing participants toand programs are experimenting with game-play, engage any time from any place. Anyone who owns athere has also been increased attention surrounding smartphone or tablet can become a gamer. Free mobilegamification — the integration of game elements, games abound, and the most popular have becomemechanics, and frameworks into non-game situations widely used outlets for social interaction and connectingand scenarios. Businesses have largely embraced family and friends, such as “Words with Friends” — agamification to design work incentive programs and modern take on Scrabble. Social networking featuresmobile apps that engage employees through rewards, of mobile games support the prevalence of game playleader boards, and badges. Although still in its nascent in a culture that is increasingly concerned with stayingstages, the gamification of education is gaining in touch and being connected all of the time; in thisfurther support among researchers and educators sense, the appeal of online games is not just about whowho recognize that games stimulate productivity and is playing, but who in one’s personal network is playingcreative inquiry among learners. — and winning.Overview Gamification, or the notion that game mechanics can beThe popularity of digital games has led to rapid applied to all manner of productive activities, has beendevelopment in the video game industry, facilitating employed successfully by a number of mobile app andinnovations that have broadened the definition of social media companies; one of the most well known isgames and how they are played. In the past, game- Foursquare — its reward system encourages people toplay could only be conducted via game consoles and check into locations and accumulate points. Ultimatelydesktop computers, while the number of competitors the goal is to collect enough points to be recognizeddepended on the number of controllers or people through badges like “Super User,” “Local,” and “Mayor,”
Time-to-Adoption Horizon: Two to Three Years 21which are public-facing distinctions that can be posted mindsets, and motivations — researchers are gettingon social networking sites, such as Facebook. Users of better at designing adaptive games and effective gameFoursquare also benefit from tangible rewards, including frameworks that transform learning experiences.free goods and perks from frequented establishments.The notion of incentivizing users is nothing new; reward In the context of higher education, when students areprograms were initially implemented by the airline and expected to think critically in order to solve problems,hospitality industries, and continue to be huge draws game-like simulations can be leveraged in any disciplinethat attract and retain consumers. to reinforce the real world applications of concepts. At the IE Business School in Madrid, for example, studentsIt is not uncommon now for major corporations and are learning the complexities of global economic policyorganizations, including the World Bank and IBM, to through a game called “10 Downing Street” (go.nmc.consult with game experts to inform the development org/street). In this simulation, students take on the roleand design of large-scale programs that motivate of the British prime minister and work with key figuresworkers through systems that incorporate challenges, including Paul Krugman, Margaret Thatcher, and Miltonlevel-ups, and rewards. While some thought leaders Friedman to come to an agreement that will affect theargue that the increasing use of game design in theworkplace is a short-lived trend that yields short-termbursts of productivity, companies of all sizes in all sectorsare finding that workers respond positively to gamified Game play has traversed the realmprocesses. Game-like environments transform tasks intochallenges, reward people for dedication and efficiency, of recreation and has infiltrated theand offer a space for leaders to naturally emerge, whichlends itself to myriad applications in higher education. worlds of commerce, productivity, and education, proving to be a usefulRelevance for Teaching, Learning, orCreative Inquiry training and motivation tool.This year, game play in the sphere of education is beingviewed through a new lens. Referred to as Game-Based well being of the national economy. In teams of six,Learning in previous editions of the NMC Horizon students engage in debates to determine the mostReport, this field of practice has expanded far beyond viable policy option, which is then put into practice afterintegrating digital and online games into the curriculum. a general election. Scenarios like this one demonstrateThe updated reference, Games and Gamification, the power of games to mimic pressing issues, requiringreflects the perspective that while games are effective students to do higher-level thinking and exercise skillstools for scaffolding concepts and simulating real world pertinent to their area of study.experiences, it should also include the larger canvas ofgamer culture and game design. Another feature of games universities are experimenting with is badging, a system of recognition that allowsResearch has long indicated that video games help students to accumulate documentation of their skills,stimulate the production of dopamine, a chemical that achievements, qualities, and interests in a visual public-provokes learning by reinforcing neuronal connections facing format. Launched in September 2011, Mozillaand communications. Furthermore, educational game- Foundation’s Open Badges project (go.nmc.org/badges)play has proven to increase soft skills in learners, such is a free online platform for designing and collectingas critical thinking, creative problem-solving, and badges in portfolios that can be viewed by peers,teamwork. This idea is the basis of the relationship professors, and potential employers. Mozilla’s Openbetween games and education. By exploring the Badges has sparked considerable discussion about howway people engage with games — their behaviors, to recognize informal learning experiences, especially
22 NMC Horizon Report: 2013 Higher Education Editionthose that cannot typically be conveyed through credit will be brought to life. Functional maps show thehours or grade point average. early architecture of historic buildings, and interactive scenarios with characters like George WashingtonAdvocates of open badging systems point to the and Patrick Henry allow students to participate inegalitarian quality of a system where the rules are clear discussions of the times: go.nmc.org/wil.and the platform’s ability to explain much more in theway of accomplishments and goals than a college > Nursing. The University of Minnesota’s School oftranscript. Purdue University has developed two mobile Nursing has partnered with the Minnesota Hospitalapps, Passport and Passport Profile (go.nmc.org/ Association and a technology company, VitalSims, topassport), that integrate the Mozilla Open Infrastructure develop web-based interactive games that engagesoftware (go.nmc.org/zonbp). The badging system was nursing students with real-life scenarios. With initialadopted by Purdue in order to identify skills that are versions of the game already completed, health carenot represented by a student’s degree, and to provide educators are looking forward to implementing theseeducators with another outlet to recognize student digital learning tools in 2013: go.nmc.org/serious.accomplishment and concept mastery. Games and Gamification in PracticeAs game play continues to be a major focal point The following links provide examples of games andof discussions among educators, some believe that gamification in use in higher education settings:gamified learning is merely a trend, and carries the dangerof immediately disenchanting students if executed Global Social Problemspoorly. To negate this challenge, more universities are go.nmc.org/cjqogpartnering with organizations and companies skilled The Global Social Problems, Local Action & Socialin game design to develop and integrate games that Networks for Change project at St. Edward’s Universityare relevant to the curriculum and to students’ lives. positioned learners in the role of superheroes to tackleGames and gamification in education include a broad large-scale global social problems at local levels.set of approaches to teaching and learning, and whenimplemented effectively, can help with new skill HML-IQacquisition while boosting motivation to learn. go.nmc.org/fre At the Henry Madden Library at California StateA sampling of applications of games and gamification University, Fresno, students play a game that is built intoacross disciplines includes the following: Blackboard called HML-IQ to orient themselves with the available library resources and how to use them. Top> Architecture. SimArchitect is a simulation game scorers are awarded gift cards to the library’s coffee and social connection site for architects, developed shop upon completing each level. The games were by IBM Center For Advanced Learning. Players are created with open source tools including Snagit. issued a request for proposal by a fictitious client and must respond, conducting meetings with the Open Orchestra client and team and then proposing a solution. IBM go.nmc.org/canar created a performance scorecard that evaluates the McGill University’s Open Orchestra simulation game player’s communication with the client, architectural uses high definition panoramic video and surround methods, and more: go.nmc.org/ibm. sound to provide musicians with the experience of playing in an orchestra or singing in an opera.> History. The Historical Williamsburg Living Narrative project at the University of Florida is an effort to create an interactive fictional game in which the geography, culture, and characters of early Williamsburg, Virginia
Time-to-Adoption Horizon: Two to Three Years 23Queen’s University “Exergames” student engagement, creativity, and innovation are allgo.nmc.org/exergame areas that are addressed in this article.A professor at Queen’s University in Ontario, Canadais involved in a collaborative study that explores how Gamification in Education: What, How, Why Bother?“exergames” — or video games that require physical go.nmc.org/ykgumactivity — improve the well being of teenagers afflicted (Joey J. Lee and Jessica Hammer, Academic Exchangewith cerebral palsy. Quarterly, 2011.) Educators at the Teachers College at Columbia University outline the fundamentals ofSocial Media Innovation Quest gamification and explain how game mechanics andgo.nmc.org/sljsmi frameworks can increase the motivation to learn. TheyAt the Fox School of Business at Temple University, a also point out the challenges and risks that may ariseprofessor designed his social media innovation course when implementing a gamified model.as a quest in which students earn points for bloggingand engaging in social media activities. They are Motivating Students and the Gamification ofawarded badges, and those that excel earn a place on Learningthe leader board. go.nmc.org/gamhie (Shantanu Sinha, The Huffington Post, 14 February 2012.)The University of Bahia’s Games and Education The president of the Khan Academy explores effectivego.nmc.org/gamesa ways to integrate game mechanics into education, andThe University of Bahia’s Games and Education makes the case that games help learners by providinginitiative, based in the Brazilian state of Bahia, supports them with real-time feedback that they may otherwisecollaborative, scholarly research along with publications not receive.about educational games. One of their missions is to aidin developing games that simulate teaching scenarios. Taking a Cue from Video Games, a New Idea for TherapyUniversity of Washington Business Simulations go.nmc.org/takinggo.nmc.org/fsb (Hayley Tsukayama, The Washington Post, 17 OctoberThe Foster School of Business at the University of 2012.) Games could play a positive role in supportingWashington partnered with game developer Novel Inc. war veterans by providing positive, practical goals. Thisto take real, complex scenarios from major companies, has implications for many higher education areas ofincluding Starbucks and Nike, and turn them into study, including psychology.enterprise simulation games. Where Does Gamification Fit in Higher Education?For Further Reading go.nmc.org/uvedgThe following articles and resources are recommended (Jimmy Daly, EdTech Magazine, 30 November 2012.) Thisfor those who wish to learn more about games and article covers the foundational ideas of gamificationgamification: and outlines the elements of games that have been leveraged to engage students. It also includes a detailedGame Based vs. Traditional Learning — What’s the infographic based on research conducted by the MITDifference? Education Arcade.go.nmc.org/xwidb(Justin Marquis, Online Universities, 16 August 2012.)Taking a deeper look at gamification and its potentialoutcomes raises concerns for some. Authenticity,