Curtin University is proud to announce that it is the Australian organiser for participation in the UNEP-DHI Eco Challenge 2015.
Water is essential for all life as we know it. A simple fact that sometimes feels forgotten as political and commercial interests take priority.
UNEP-DHI Eco Challenge 2015 provides an exciting and authentic learning experience for students aged 11-17 through the online strategic game "Aqua Republica". Addressing national curriculum priority dimensions of Sustainability and Asia and Australia's engagement with Asia the experience provides many learning opportunities across Social Studies, Science, Humanities, Health and Physical Education, English, Geography, and more.
Educators from the University of Southampton played the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) Summit to see how game techniques and social media can enhance teaching. Part of the Iliad Education Innovation event series.
Kim Flintoff's insight:
Blending table top game approaches with social media interaction.
We are seeking original contributions that advance the state of the art in the technologies and knowledge available to support development and deployment of serious games. Experimental studies are strongly encouraged.
Gamification: At the online New England College of Business and Finance, both undergraduate and graduate students may find themselves in courses that include gamelike modules designed to take advantage of students’ ambition.
"They’re very business-focused and they’re very competitive, so we play off that," says Paula Bramante, the school’s senior vice president of student services.
The school’s online MBA students participate in a simulation where they steer their own businesses, then justify their results to a fictitious board of directors.
In the undergraduate digital marketing program, students compete with classmates to build the best website for a preselected nonprofit group. Those who had the top three submissions as selected by faculty then get to offer their finished product to the organization.
Jason Kramer, an e-learning instructional technologist at the school, says gamifying courses – or infusing them with a competitive element and rewards – helps students retain knowledge.
"Taking game-based mechanics and aesthetics and applying it to learning elements allows us one sort of tool that we can use to make the learning experience an exciting memorable one," Kramer says. "One of our goals is to get our students talking about our classes afterwards."
Finland will introduce a new primary education curriculum from 2016. Schools across the country are either introducing or have already implemented concepts like cross-disciplinary and game-based learning as part of the modernized syllabus.
"Watson has now been trained in molecular biology and finance, written a cookbook, been put to work in oil exploration. It is learning to help solve crimes. This fall, Wired aired predictions that Watson would soon be the world’s most perfect medical diagnostician. It has folded so seamlessly into the world that, according to IBM, the Watson program has been applied in 75 industries in 17 countries, and tens of thousands of people are using its applications in their own work. In these experiences, Watson has functioned as an early probe into the relationship between humans and intelligent machines — what we need from them, what gaps they fill, what fears they generate.
"The honest way into philosophy is by accident, through the disorienting flash of a new experience. Watson’s creators, many of whom have worked on the project since its inception, talk about their machine differently than Tegmark does. They see a chronology of experiences, of developing skills and propulsive failures, as if the machine had its own biography. Some of them describe their experience with Watson in more personal terms, as if they were the parent and the machine the child. Last October, IBM moved the project into a new home, a foreboding office tower that inscribes shadows over Astor Place, which has given Watson a neat, humanlike path through time: Its early years spent in a family atmosphere in the suburbs; then an educational course to prepare it to support itself in a more complicated world; then, to make money, a move to the East Village and a search for employment. It has also meant that it is possible to leave your office, as I did one recent afternoon, walk across lower Manhattan, take an elevator upstairs, situate yourself before a stadium of screens, notice what looks like a small stack of hard drives in the corner, contemplate the human place in the scheme of things, and hear a placid computerized voice say, “Hello, Watson here. What are we working on today?”
The Stanley Parable is one of the most innovative games of the last years. It challenges your mind, contradicting everything you have previously known or heard about video games, making you play with the rules, and not by them. Do you have the opportunity of making real choices at games or at life? Never mind. To play or not to play: that’s the only question.
Stanley is introduced to us as an office worker with no other task than to push buttons in a determinate order. One day, his computer shut down and he has to think and start to figure out what is going on. Here starts the challenge: will you follow the narrator’s rules or will you experience alternative ways? But, if every action has a reaction already expected by the game designers, do you actually have a choice at any point at all? The only real choice would be to not play.
In “Game Design Across the Curriculum: Students as Designers,” the state of games in education begins the discussion. Larry Cocco, co-founder of the Games4Ed initiative, covers its inception and purpose, as well as the Games for Learning Summit. Cocco, Matthew Farber, and Steve Isaacs attended the event in New York City in April.
Students as game designers is the focal point of this webinar series. To this end, game jams is the focus of this first discussion. Like hackathons, game jams task designers with creating games in a short time period based on a challenge or a theme. In October 2014, the White House hosted its first game jam, inviting designers from around the country. Kevin Miklasz initiated the Moveable Game Jam, which brings the concept to students. He talks about challenges, the guide he published, and the Quest to Learn Game Jam. Matthew Farber discusses his use of tabletop game jams in his middle school social studies classes, as well as his digital game jams in the after school club he advises, and Steve Isaacs talks about his use of game jams in his middle school video game design class.
TThere is growing interest in the use of digital games as part of K-12 teachers’ classroom instruction. For example, in Washington State, legislation is being considered to create a pilot program for integrating games into the school curriculum. And in the fall of 2014, the White House and U.S. Department of Education hosted a game jam 2 to encourage and promote the development of learning games. As with all educational technologies, the most frequently asked question is, “Do they work?” The answer — and the question itself — is complex. Work for what purpose? To help students learn? Learn what? Core content knowledge or 21st century skills? Or is the purpose to engage students? In comparison to what? As with all educational technologies, the real answer to any of these questions is, “It depends.” It depends on lots of factors, including the features of the game and, most importantly, what teachers do with those features as part of their instruction.
Gamindex focuses on bringing games to education through game reviews written for teachers. Each review features a summary, benefits to the game, challenges for implementation, and ideas for class use. You can also search for that perfect game based on your content area, gaming platform, and other information.
The transplanted Canadian Kiwi, Dr. Kate Raynes-Goldie has made a name and a home for herself in the Australian Games Industry.
Raynes-Goldie is the Founder and Creative Director of Games We Play and the inaugural Director of the Games and Interactive Program at FTI in Perth. Kate also serves as an Adjunct Research Fellow at Curtin University’s School of Media, Culture and Creative Arts.
Thanks to a little startup sprouting up from Boston, I was able to map out a small section of a neuron through EyeWire, a company that’s gamifying its neuroscience research in order to enlist the help of people from all over the world.
To understand how the brain works, scientists need to figure out how electrical impulses travel through its vast network of 85 billion neurons, connected through 100 trillion synapses. And to do this, they need to map the structure and connections of all these neurons. Enter EyeWire, a company that’s crowdsourcing this mapping process with a fun and addictive online game.
The game essentially works like a 3D puzzle. Players are tasked with the challenge of mapping the structure and connections of neurons by isolating individual cells from large three-dimensional microscopic image datasets. Think of it like a coloring book.
Kim Flintoff's insight:
Games and gamification can be applied to research activity as well as teaching and learning.
Looking back at this year’s Games for Change conference in New York it’s interesting to consider the evolving role games and learning is playing among those seeking to use games for all sorts of social goods.
In the past keynotes and panels dotted the G4C schedule, but this year nearly all of the games for learning content was packed into a one-day, invite-only Games for Learning summit hosted by the U.S. Department of Education and Games for Change and sponsored by Entertainment Software Association.
This dissertation presents a framework for understanding playfulness, play, and games. The framework presented is developed for the needs of a constructionist ludology, rooted in realist social constructionism. The work is situated in the field of game studies. The contribution of this work is threefold: firstly, it presents a foundational theoretical framework for understanding and separating playfulness, play, and games. Secondly, contributions to mid-level theory as models for understanding social play are presented. Thirdly, with the help of these tools, more practical insights are examined, in three substudies.
The primary contribution in this dissertation is the presented framework. A very wide spectrum of play is considered, from animal play to human play, and from the play of children to the play of adults. The starting point is very inclusive, considering all activities that are performed for their own sake, regardless of how they are culturally valued. Thus the framework tackles ‘good’ and ‘bad’ play: play that is positive and widely considered as desirable, as well as play that is transgressive or destructive. The framework is also used to understand games, both digital and non-digital, in a larger context of play, and there is even room in the framework for enacting play with a goal-oriented mindset. The framework postulates a boundary between play and non-play, but play is not considered to be exceptional or fundamentally detached from everyday life. The framework is not designer-centric, and can handle games both as artefacts and activities.
In the framework playfulness as a mindset and play as an activity are separated. Through these two are connected, and in practice intertwined, analytically they can be separated. Both are rooted in the biology-based tendencies of humans and other animals. The playfulness of humans and other animals is a realist brute fact, but humans are the subject of the more complicated conceptualisations of play and games as they are aided by the awareness of their own playfulness and affected by social construction.
The framework draws together and builds on earlier research. Much of this earlier work has existed in disconnected pieces. Building bridges between game studies and other fields, as well as positioning the current study of games in relation to other research efforts into games and play during the last century, is an important part of this work. The framework presented is an original synthesis that extends and elaborates earlier attempts. The constructionist ludology framework presented provides a theoretical grounding that delimits playfulness, play, and games without disconnecting them from the world around them. The boundaries surrounding play are also untangled. The secondary contribution of the dissertation is the presentation of more specific models relating to social play. One of these is for the categorisation of game playing based on the number of participants. All game playing is to some degree social, even single-player games. Another model is presented for navigating the juxtaposition of mindset and context. This tool shows the usefulness of separating playfulness as a mindset, and playing as a socially recognised activity.
The tertiary contribution takes the form of substudies, which bring the framework and models to bear on three particular topics. Firstly, an analysis of grief play and trolling shows a side of play that is often seen as negative, or even as not-play. The analysis helps explain the creativity and enjoyment of acts of griefing without profiling the participant. Secondly, the challenges faced by gamification and other serious games are reframed in the analysis as stemming from the confusion between game as a cultural artefact, and playfulness as a mindset that need not be connected to it. Thirdly, the challenge of lacking explicit rules of play – as well as having divergent player expectations regarding how to play a game – are analysed in relation to the pervasive game Conspiracy For Good.
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