Experimenting #Gamification in the #Farming Sector CSA


I have been very fortunate when it comes to engaging with the various sectors beyond my immediate research and development domain. Interdisciplinary collaboration really is the way forward towards impacting various societal needs. By collaborating with individuals from the different sectors, it is life-enriching as we are not experts of everything. Individual expertise coming together leads to collective creativity, intelligence, intervention and innovation.

Screenshot 2017-11-17 13.46.30Coventry University’s Centre for Agroecology, Water and Resilience (CAWR) has recently been awarded the EU Horizon 2020 funding for a 3-year Coordination and Support Action project, called Bond. Bond stands for Bringing Organisations and Network Development to Higher Levels in the Farming Sector in Europe.

…BOND’s general objective is to directly contribute to unleash, strengthen, and organise, the great potential for collective action and networking of individuals, groups and entities of farmers and land managers in selected countries across Europe, with a view to creating strong, dynamic and effective organizations that have a voice and a place in policy design. Through the benefits of working with others, extending interactions with multiple actors, the project will help foster human well-being, the management of landscapes, agricultural growth and a vigorous social capital throughout Europe.

Bond DoA 2017

When the proposal was still under development, I had many conversations with the coordinator Dr. Angela Hilmi on how playful and gameful approaches can be repurposed for developing participatory programmes that will facilitate the ‘bonding, bridging and linking’  of the relevant stakeholders in the farming sector. Being an advocate of a more holistic approach for implementing gamification, the role of gamification in the project is very much driven by the needs. Our main aim is to exploit our expertise in designing and implementing solutions that are inspired by games and play. Such solutions can be applied to different domains and in this case, they will be implemented and tested with the aim for facilitating community building, conversations and identification of challenges associated to the farming industry; specifically concerning the relevant stakeholders and the specific needs to be identified by the other tasks in the project. This work will link to one of the main objectives where non-digital gaming interface will be explored towards overcoming barriers between farmers and other actors, such as decision makers. In this task, we aim to design different playful and participatory programme/activities that will facilitate common understanding and to build constructive alliances. We will very much remix and repurpose activities designed and developed within the Disruptive Media Learning Lab’s GameChangers programme.

The kick-off meeting in Brussels (7-8 Nov) was pretty intense but exciting. We facilitated two playful sessions (designed in a couple of hours!) at the kick-off as part of the team building and the data collection activities. The sessions were well received as an introduction to how we could be inspired by play and games for designing participatory programmes.

I am looking forward to working with the consortium. Samantha Clarke will be joining me as the “creative producer and researcher” 🙂

Slides used at the kick-off:

#BeaconingEU and #C4Rs at #ECGBL17


ECGBL is a mecca for game-based learning researchers, developers and practitioners. It is great to be here again and this time around with two papers based on work carried out in the H2020 Beaconing and Crowd4Roads projects.

Taxonomy of a gamified lesson path for STEM education: The Beaconing approach

 Aikaterini Bourazeri, Sylvester Arnab, Olivier Heidmann, Antonio Coelho and Luca Morini

 Abstract

21st Century learning focuses on different skills and expertise that learners should develop for a successful life and career, and these are usually organised into four main categories: ways of thinking (e.g. creativity, innovation, critical thinking, problem-solving); ways of working (e.g. communication and collaboration); tools for working (e.g. digital literacy) and living in the world (e.g. citizenship, social responsibility, awareness). Learning should be reshaped to better match these requirements and prepare learners for open societies where learning will be lifelong and based on critical-thinking, cultural awareness, flexibility and adaption to changes. This paper introduces a new approach developed under the scope of the Beaconing project, which aims to contextualise the teaching and learning process, connecting it with problem-based mechanics within STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics). The aim is to provide the missing connection between STEM subjects and real-world interactions and applications, and it is developed with inputs from teachers, researchers, educational experts and industry leaders. The pedagogical foundation is based on problem-based learning, in which active learning is in the centre and learners have to work with different tools and resources in order to solve problems (quests). Teachers facilitate, assess and author pervasive and gamified learning activities (missions). And these quests are gamified in order to provide non-linear game plots. This paper discusses the taxonomy for the Beaconing lesson path, which includes specific categories such as STEM competencies, learning objectives, pedagogical resources, rewards, narratives, game plots, location-based activities and game parameters. The lesson paths developed with the stakeholders will be populated with gamified learning activities such as mini-games, location-based mini-games, location-based activities and physical activities. The lesson paths will scaffold learners through self-directed and independent study, extending the learning experience beyond the classroom settings and complementing existing methods of teaching. The gamified lesson path taxonomy provides the backbone to the Beaconing platform and the associated components. This approach is adoptable and adaptable to various learning objectives.

 

A Gamified Approach for Facilitating a User-engagement Strategy for Public-Led Collective Awareness Platform for Road Sensing

Samantha Clarke, Sylvester Arnab, Mark Lewis, Luca Morini, Saverio Depriori, Alessandro Bogliolo and Lorenz Klopfenstein

Abstract

Collective awareness is a means by which communities can engage in collective action and crowdsourcing through citizen participation, leading to the accumulation of big data essential for informing decision making and for solving difficult problems.  However, engaging a huge number of the general public in a crowdsourcing initiative is a mammoth task. This paper explores the approach implemented by the Crowd4Roads (C4Rs) project, which aims at combining smart sensing, ride sharing and gamification applications to harness collective intelligence for providing open data towards boosting traffic conditions in Europe. Drawing on the theory of gameful/playful successes of using gamification as a motivating and behavioural change tool, Crowd4Roads adopts gamification as an innovative strategy for fostering user-engagement and promoting growth within the projects user acquisition and retention metrics. This paper presents the development approach of the C4Rs’ SmartRoadSense system and the design of the gamified layer that is employed to actively engage a large number of users for the pilot trials of the system. The paper provides a discussion and reflection on the development approach.

 

Midway through Beaconing


1.1The Beaconing project has just completed its first review (the first 18-month Reporting period) with success. Thanks to the reviewers and the EU Project Officer, we passed with no corrections; all deliverables excepted. We are highly inspired by the feedback from the reviewers with regards to the value of work we have completed so far, specifically the development and integration outcomes.

Beaconing aims to support anytime anywhere learning by exploiting gameful and location-based techniques and technologies. We believe that a strong narrative that encapsulates a learning journey and the flexibility to contextualise learning in real geo-locations are key elements to engaging learners with various educational activities and challenges. And most importantly, we would like to support the teaching and learning community in discovering new ways for creating a more playful lesson plan populated with gameful resources without the need to code or script.

The project has produced individual components, which are deemed to be exploitable, such as the gamified lesson path (GLP) taxonomy, context-aware activity authoring tool, the GLP authoring tool and the gameplot editor. As a platform, Beaconing will allow you to reuse and modify existing lesson paths (shared by the community of teachers) and also create new ones. Please see a brief overview of the project and achievements so far:

 

Coordinating a project as large as Beaconing is indeed a mammoth task. The commitment from the work package leaders and the whole consortium is key to our success so far. It is by no means perfect but we have come so far as a consortium since the kick off in January 2016 (read year 1 reflections). Personality, professionalism and relationships are three key elements which I found essential on top of the relevant expertise. And a huge shout out to my coordinating team at Coventry University!

What I also learnt as the coordinator of the project is that individuality is key to collective creativity. In our case, components which are created based on the individual expertise of the different partners are now being integrated into the Beaconing ecosystem with functionalities that can be exploited individually or collectively. It is time to work closely with the user segments in the different pilot sites to identify sustainability and exploitation.

As part of our activities in the second half of the project, we aim to widen our reach to the different market segments. The pilot is currently ongoing and we are excited with the prospect of testing out our solutions with the stakeholders.

We will also soon announce an EU-Wide Location-Based event. Watch this space!!! We are coming to you!

Follow us on twitter – @BeaconingEU

Check out our publications so far

GameChangers showcase


The GameChangers initiative has been a key staple at Coventry University, aiming to embed playful and gameful approaches in our teaching and learning. It has not been an easy ride as playfulness can sometimes be seen as a bit too “arty farty” and not “serious” enough for HE. However, we are blessed with champions of the approach in the different faculties, centres and campuses. And the programme is such a success with approaches being embedded in real courses and modules and new interesting tools created by staff and students as part of a pilot for their teaching and learning.

As part of the soft launch for GameChangers 2.0, we organised a showcase workshop for colleagues to demonstrate how they have embedded playfulness and gamefulness in their practices and how GameChangers have been sentimental to influencing these practices. It was great to see most of them there and to hear about their experiences. We are also in the process of collecting talking head videos so that we can showcase these champions on the GameChangers online hub. The website is being revamped as we speak and we hope to have a Beta version by end of July.

You can catch the session here:

#DisruptiveBytes – EU-Funded Game-based projects


In the spirit of collaboration amongst the different Eu-Funded projects, we organised a short lunchtime seminar to showcase the work that we have been carried out within the game-based research and innovation domain. The #DisruptiveBytes session is a regular lunctime meetup for staff across Coventry University and it is a great platform to demonstrate relevant outcomes that may inspire them to rethink teaching and learning.

The session touched on three projects that showcased reusable game components, new ways of developing gamified lesson planning and use of pervasive and location based technologies.

I presented the BEACONING project that stands for ‘Breaking Educational Barriers with Contextualised, Pervasive and Gameful Learning’ and focuses on ‘anytime anywhere’ learning by exploiting pervasive, context-aware and gamified techniques and technologies, framed under the Problem-Based Learning approach. You can see more updates on the project here.

 

It was a shame that Prof. Paul Hollins was not able to make it but his colleague Dr. Ying Liang was there to present the Rage Project, which stands for ‘Realising an Applied Gaming Eco-system’. The project aims to develop, transform and enrich advanced technologies from the leisure games industry into self-contained gaming assets that support game studios at developing applied games easier, faster and more cost-effectively. These assets will be available along with a large volume of high-quality knowledge resources through a self-sustainable Ecosystem, which is a social space that connects research, gaming industries, intermediaries, education providers, policy makers and end-users. The presentation discussed some initial findings of the project and how these might inform, shedding new light on the future development of Applied Games industry in Europe. 

Dr. Petros Lameras closed the seminar with a presentation on the MAGELLAN project, which has an overall vision to enhance the creativity of game designers by establishing a web platform for cost-effectively authoring, publishing, executing, and experiencing location based games. This unique integrated web-based infrastructure will be targeted at both skilled professional authors, but also at everyday authors without deep technical skills. MAGELLAN will be underpinned by scientific research into the principles and technologies of creative and location-based experiences in order to ensure that the platform is innovative while also extending our broader scientific understanding of creativity.

You can catch the presentations here:

Playing for Real – into a research paper


The Playing for Real project ended September 2016 and it has produced guidelines for how gamification can inspire social change. The practice partners have since adopted and adapted the approach into their engagement with the local unemployed. See also my reflections here.

I have been planning to write a research paper to share some of the reflections and qualitative insights on the pilot that was carried out in Barcelona 2016. The paper is nearly completed and will be submitted to the Journal of Games and Culture.

Playing for Real: Piloting gamification in the community of unemployed adults towards fostering new mind-sets and practices

Abstract

This paper explores the potential of gamification for informing the design of a community-driven programme based on the Playing for Real project, which aims at nurturing positive attitudes and behaviours amongst unemployed adults. The levelling up programme co-designed with social actors within the project is described and the lessons learnt and reflections on the approach and outcomes of the project are also included to inform best practices, further improvements and future potential of the approach for further work and applications in other domains.

Keywords: Unemployment, capacity building, gamification, play, game-based learning

The paper will unpick the programme that was developed and pilot, and concluded with some recommendations of how they can be adopted and adapted. Qualitative feedback from the social actors are also documented to provide insights on the impact of the approach.

The project has explored and exploited the crossings between ‘play’, ‘games’ and ‘gamification’ in order to provide a more elastic approach for fostering gamified capacity building that is focusing on individuals’ potential to drive social change within their own situations and potentially impacting their local community. It is not about providing the solutions to their situations, but it is to expose them with a new approach for realising different potentials and outcomes they can tap into and produce.

The project has developed a Gamification taxonomy, template and programme that can be reused and repurposed for other application domain (learning, social change, behavioural studies, health etc.). The participatory approach for the co-designing of the programme exploited the power of community-driven development and practice.

Watch this space.

The first #Gamification conference in Finland #Gamifin2017


It was a pleasure to be invited to speak at the first Gamification conference (GamiFIN 2017) in Finland. Finland has key players in games and gamification, such as Juho Hamari (the first Professor in Gamification). It is good to finally meet him in person. His systematic review of the literatures in the domain has been very useful and I have quoted it many times.

Juho presented his updated findings in his keynote at the conference (Day 2). The paper should be published soon. Looking forward to it.

Sebastian Deterding, a Reader at the University of York opened the conference with his keynote on theories and gamification, raising interesting insights and questions on how we need to conduct studies on the impact of gamification at a more granular level. What is actually working within the gamification process and system.

It was an interesting day filled with presentations on the various applications of gamification – both digital and non-digital. It was inspiring to hear about the different experiences and insights that came out of the experiments, pilots and actual implementation within real operational environments.

I closed day 1 with a keynote that emphasised on going back to basics and being inspired by the act of play and gameplay to inform the design of engaging experiences. Gamification is just a tool that can help us design such experiences.

Well done to the organisers, especially Jari Multisilta and Pauliina Tuomi of TUT. And Kristian Kiili, it was fab to see you again!

More tweet pics.