IL 2011: Closing Keynote: The Great Gamification Debate
11/20/2011 11:41:00 PM | Author: Christa
Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Liz Lawley, Director, Lab for Social Computing, Rochester Institute of Technology

Gamification is the application of gaming mechanics to non-gaming environments.

Lee Sheldoen – “the multiplayer classroom”. How to use game mechanics in the classroom – instead of grades, exp points. Students are doing better, more engaged, better grades, hand in more assignments. – Ian Bogost – gamification is bullshit. “–ification is simple, repeatable, proven techniques. Is always easy and repeatable, and it’s usually bullshit”.

Earning points in games like Scrabble and Words with Friends, isn’t because you got a 50 point word, but because it was difficult. The feeling of accomplishment is very important.


Microsoft Research gave some money to help them get started, and is continuing to fund it.

Foursquare – gamification that really seems to work. Allows you to reflect back on what you’ve done and think about your accomplishments.

4sq&7yearsago – emails you each day to tell you what you were doing a year ago.

Experience of competence is important. Students should want to do it, not just do it for the reward.

What behaviors did we want to reward and encourage?

What feelings of competence could we engender?

What did we want our students to remember and reflect on?

Bartle’s Player Types – kinds of people who play MUDs. Killers, achievers, explorers, socializers. Too generic a model, overly simplified.

New way of thinking of achievements – apprentice, journeyman, master. Individual and shared (group work). 

Just Press Play.

Game launched last week at RIT.

“Why can’t students get achievements for being awesome?” Game that overlays students day-to-day activities. Beta launched for RIT’s School of Interactive Games and Media. 720 students.

RFID keyfobs for some activities – go places. Some activities give them cards (faculty collectible cards).

Experiences the students will remember. Humor, playfulness, engaging with people around them. Humanizes faculty for students. Connects students to each other.

Will open source at end of summer!

The platform is important, but also need to spend time thinking about the content, designing the experience. What works for students at RIT won’t be the same for students at another univ. Will have to modify for the kind of content your students will respond to. Put the time and energy into it and you can really transform with the power of games.

Sense that they’ve really accomplished something that matters.
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