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:

CreativeCulture in Borneo


FullSizeRenderSince the launch of GameChangers in 2015, the initiative has produced two spin-out projects- Mobile GameChangers and CreativeCulture funded by HEFCE and Newton respectively.

CreativeCulture was kicked off in February 2017, where the Malaysian team was involved in the Remix Play Summit. As part of the programme, the UK team recently visited the Malaysian site (7th – 18th August 2017) and spent 2 weeks with the local team developing the localised game design thinking programme for STEM education, carrying out workshop for educators in Kuching and visiting one of the project’s sites.

The UK team ran the Remixing Play into a GamePlan workshop with the local team prior to the site visit and the workshop with the stakeholders.

The workshop has led to a simple play-learn programme developed for the site visit, where we introduced a game-based learning activity to the teachers and students at Telok Melano (a remote/rural Malay fishing village). It was a great experience and a satisfying one, especially seeing the pupils enjoying the play-learn process. The teachers were also inspired and the school will now be one of the main sites for the CreativeCulture programme.

The site visit was followed by a workshop with the local stakeholders in Kuching. A call out for participation was published in the local news.

The workshop attracted just over 40 participants from various teaching and learning background (HE, schools, state ministry of education, regional/district education office, etc.). The participants had a lot of fun experiencing the Remixing Play process, where in less than 1 1/2 hours, they managed to create playful solutions to real challenges and some of them addressed STEM topics.

Slides used on the day:

The collaboration was further covered by the local press.

The project is putting out a call for teachers/educators in the Kuching/Sarawak area to be involved in the project. You may either want to explore the power of play and games in education, the game design process for learning or if you are already using game and play-based learning in your teaching, we would like to showcase your work. The local lead is Dr. Jacey-Lynn Minoi. Please visit the project’s website – http://mycapsule.my and email us at gamemaster@mycapsule.my

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:

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.

GameChangers goes on tour: Part 1 @CUScarborough


Screen Shot 2017-03-21 at 11.50.13

The GameChangers programme is an exploratory and experimental programme at Coventry University’s Disruptive Media Learning Lab, where we explore the application and implication of play and games in teaching and learning, specifically in HE. And we are currently going on tour!

As part of the two new spin-offs of the programme, the mobile GameChangers part-funded by HEFCE aims to expand the initiative’s remit to include the other Coventry University campuses (Scarborough, London and Dagenham).

We are currently in CU Scarborough engaging with staff and students (20-21 March 2017) it has been an exciting visit so far. Students are very engaged with the playful approaches of the different play and game-based workshop tasters we are running, such as Thinking with your hands using Lego, Game design and narratives via our associate (Coventry FabLab), Remixing Play into a GamePlan, narratED (What is your story?), etc.

We visited the Sixth Form college in the afternoon on our first day and the reception was also very encouraging. GameChangers was indeed a hit there, especially with the arts and media (graphics) students.

Mobile GameChangers also allows us to investigate new educational “geography”, which includes mobile and ‘pop-up’ creative spaces for fostering creativity and innovation in learning. We will be back in Coventry next (22-23rd) and will also visit our London Campus in May!

A big shout out to the team Helen Keegan, Luca Morini, Oliver Wood and Peter Coleman!!! ACE!

See you soon!

Post-digital transformation via playful and gameful approaches


Living in a digital age includes facing head on options on sophisticated offerings,  cacophony saturations of noise information, divided attention, etc. We tend to be influenced by the latest fad trend and pressure from having to comply to the digital norms can be a bit overwhelming.

However, being too over-driven by technology and the latest trends in digital engagement can take away the value from the “experience” that these technologies intend to foster in the first place.

So how do we cope with this? No real answer really – try switching off and hide in a tranquil forest somewhere? This actually reminds me of yo-yo dieting. I believe in enjoying stuff in smaller portions.

Oh what am I getting to with this Friday brain-fart  post? Well, I’ve been thinking about post-digital transformation of mindsets that will help mould a practice that will act as a conduit between old custom and practices into new and exciting territories. It is about taking inspirations from old and tested practices and remix them into new solutions. And how such practice can help us repurpose rather than re-invent (?).

How can we do it playfully? Taking inspirations from the methods that I have tested, implemented and published within the GameChangers context, I am wondering if collectively these approaches could help individuals to discover and reflect on their playful experiences and use these to inform the design of the experience they wish to facilitate – either for their customers, students, patients, clients, etc.  Note that some of these methods that I developed are currently being adopted and adapted by others. Most recently – the Remixing Play approach (also see workshops at OEB17, Trinidad and CEDEP) was adopted by Adi Montas in her MBA workshop in Guatemala (2017).

With these perspectives, I have drafted a concept that I will test with real participants. The transformation process should start with the discovery and onboarding stage to ensure that they will invest in the process – mindsets transformation is not a short term feat- so the more they invest in the initial experience, the more they will invest in further activities. The draft idea is as presented below:

It would be interesting to hear any feedback on this. I am currently working on some strategy with some European partners on ways to implement this with different stakeholders.

Remix Play Summit 2017


remix-play-gchangers-bannerThe Remix Play Summit has finally materialised and play-personified Feb 15th, 2017 at the Disruptive Media Learning Lab! The initial idea was concocted last year – see a brief introduction to the Remixing Play concept. Since then we have carried out our Remixing Play approach with various groups at the university as well as internationally (including Germany, France, Trinidad and Tobago). And the key highlight is the main celebration of Play in HE at the Remix Play Summit 2017. A huge shout out to the GameChangers and DMLL team, who  coordinated the event, especially Helen Keegan, Oliver Wood, Cathryn Thompson-Goodwin, Lauren Heywood, Debra James, Luca Morini, Samantha Clarke… And thanks to all the speakers and everyone who participated. And thanks to HEFCE for part-funded some of the GameChangers activities.

The event went brilliantly with clear progressions from the context for play and games through to play in HE and practical insights into gameful and playful design, thanks to our featured speakers – The Godfather of the Game Industry (Ian Livingston CBE), The Godfather of play studies (Bernie de Koven), play for HE researcher and activist (Professor Nicola Whitton) and a well known researcher of gameful design, whose definition of ‘gamification’ is widely accepted and quoted by others (Dr. Sebastian Deterding).

The event was very interactive and there was no dull moments!

Please also have a look at Daryl Peel’s fantastic summary of the day.

The summit also included showcases of the various playful and gameful toolkits and methods which have been developed and/or implemented under the GameChangers programme (including the EscapED, What is your story, Lego). More toolkits will be provided on the GameChangers website soon (still being revamped as we speak).

The summit has also served as a good platform for the Newton CreativeCulture UK-Malaysia project. The Malaysian team was inspired by the event and provides a strong introduction to the adaptation of the GameChangers approach in Malaysia.

The event attracted 63 staff and students and 41 external peers. The Summit’s twitter hashtag #PlayRemixed was also trending on the day in the UK – charted at no 3 on the trending list! A great feat! And we have also reached a huge audience. Thanks to Debra James for the TweetReach snapshot below.

Screenshot 2017-03-07 10.43.30

Here’s to the next instalment of Remix Play Summit 2018!