What are Games and Gamification?


The culture around digital games is growing to encompass a substantial proportion of the world’s population, with the age of the average gamer increasing every year. The gaming industry is producing a steady stream of games that continue to expand in their nature and impact — they can be artistic, social, and collaborative, with many allowing massive numbers of people from all over the world to participate simultaneously. A 2013 study by the American Psychological Association highlights the cognitive, motivational, emotional, and social impact video games have on human behavior; this significant body of research underlines the overwhelming potential of games to teach new forms of thought and behavior. Studies like these are encouraging the uptake of games into the worlds of commerce, the military, and education, among others. Gamfication — the integration of gaming elements, mechanics, and frameworks into non-game situations and scenarios for training and motivational purposes — has added another level of complexity to discussions surrounding the potential of games to transform teaching and learning. Although still in its nascent stages in education, the gamification of learning environments is gaining support among educators who recognize that effectively designed games can stimulate large gains in engagement, productivity, creativity, and authentic learning.

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(1) How might this technology be relevant to the educational sector you know best?

  • I would like to see Game Jams and Hack-a-thons as well as regular game production become an aspect of a museum's yearly online activity or web budget. Curriculums are changing to include more experiential learning, games have the ability to deliver experiences not usually available. Using collections as a base for game development, we can use representations of real objects to teach without fear of handling/damage. ( - ryand ryand Oct 23, 2014 )
  • "The use of games-based pedagogies via online and mobile Internet-based technologies is seen as providing much potential for innovative, effective and accessible contemporary teaching and
    learning (Beavis, 2012). Green and Hannon (2006) identified that learning through gaming, specifically online multiplayer games, was often referred to as ‘… accidental learning or learning through doing’ (p.23). Salen (2012) also recognised the synergies between gaming and learning: ‘We see a huge intersection between games and learning, partially because the way game environments are structured is a lot like what good learning looks like’ (n.p.)." Kelly, et al 2014:
    http://musdigi.wordpress.com/2014/09/17/gamifying-the-museum-educational-games-and-museum-pedagogy/ - lkelly lkelly Oct 23, 2014
  • We've folded game structures into existing programs for adults and families, and created new ones around games. Thus far gaming has been brought into our work in analog ways, but we are looking at digital mechanisms for the future. I'd also like to see more formal gaming structures for school groups. - jfoley jfoley Oct 24, 2014
  • We use game based interfaces on a number of our interactives and they are very effective at increasing engagement, especially with middle schoolers. we are also working with American University and their Game Design program to sponsor Game Jams and Hackathons around News Games. The new generation of simple, mobile games has added anew dimension that moves away from the console based, complex multiplayer games. The new language of simple swipe based smartphone games is creating new opportunities for teachers to use specific games to teach specific ideas. - Psparrow Psparrow Oct 29, 2014
  • More museums need to understand the deep pedagogical value of gaming (as organizations like DARPA already do) and think creatively about the type of gaming experiences (on site and off) that lead learners to deeper engagement with the core collections and experiences of the museum, and, as indicated in some of the readings, can link the mission of the museum with broader community, cultural and societal issues. This can happen across the domain of science centers, history museums, and art museums. - marsha.semmel marsha.semmel Nov 2, 2014- jludden jludden Nov 4, 2014
  • I'll reverse the question a bit and ask how might the educational sector we know best become more relevant. We need only look around us to see the proliferation of game playing that is capturing the time and attention of broad bands of ages and backgrounds...while games are not new, the mobile based, digital technology that is available now offers tremendous opportunities for museums of all kinds. - CReich CReich Nov 3, 2014

(2) What themes are missing from the above description that you think are important?

  • Gamification is an important concept but it does not always include true "play" based experiences. Lindsay Grace's Persuasive Play concepts offer a rich area for exploration. - Psparrow Psparrow Oct 29, 2014- jludden jludden Nov 4, 2014
  • I concur with the above statement. It's important to separate the use of "games and gamification", which tend to be highly structured and reward-based, from "play" (as is current in the museum dialogue), since that is supposed to be unstructured and exploratory. - ortiz ortiz Oct 29, 2014
  • In addition to the above, I'm seeing ever more cases where games and gamification concepts are combined with traditional role playing in museum and heritage environments. Although these solutions are primarily focused on entertainment, of course there are educational elements in them as well. - jasper jasper Nov 2, 2014

(3) What do you see as the potential impact of this technology on museum education and interpretation?

  • People naturally gravitate to games. If we could provide an experience that educates but is also enjoyable (based on our collections), why not? ( - ryand ryand Oct 23, 2014 )
  • Games are also a great learning tool see (1) above - lkelly lkelly Oct 23, 2014
  • Gaming can provide both a new way for existing audiences to engage with museums and their collections as well as an entry point for new audiences. - jfoley jfoley Oct 24, 2014- jludden jludden Nov 4, 2014
  • Museums should start to approach every new exhibit development process with the questions _What is the in gallery game and what is the online game that supports this exhibit? Game development should become an integrated part of the digital media team agenda and curators should start embracing it as an important tool to increase engagement and attract a key demo that is losing interest in museums. - Psparrow Psparrow Oct 29, 2014
  • Motivation. People spend more time when they have purpose, with goals to achieve. They also can help build confidence by giving visitors positive feedback when they meet those goals. - ortiz ortiz Oct 29, 2014
  • Games are a powerful tool in the transformation process of a museum itself. Playing games and adding gamification elements to work processes with staff, in my experience opens them up to the world of opportunities described above. - jasper jasper Nov 2, 2014- jludden jludden Nov 4, 2014
  • Games can reach out to such a broad spectrum of ages, backgrounds, and experiences to support exciting opportunities for museum education and interpretation. - CReich CReich Nov 3, 2014

(4) Do you have or know of a project working in this area?

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