Firstly I would like to thank the organisers for inviting me to speak today. I always enjoy speaking in this slot, as delegates generally are hungry for information – not food or sleep!
When I was younger I used to come to Olympia with my brother to attend a lot of video game exhibitions, so it is quite appropriate I’m talking to you about gamification, in my first speech at this fine venue. This is what I looked like at one of the exhibitions we went to.
Research recently found that those who play video games have worse education and employment outcomes. How many of you are actually convinced by this? My brothers and I aren’t’ either.
Both my brothers and I have all had good outcomes, gaining degrees and high responsibility jobs. Even one of my brother’s fathers-in-law plays video games regularly and, he has an MBE.
So there must be something in the benefits of video games for enhancing performance at tasks in environments where gaming isn’t usually used, which is a simple definition of gamification.
The first big speech I made, before this one of course, was at a college business competition – business being the game of all games. Our presentation won applause with the catchy music, ‘simply the best, better than all the rest’. But our report did not impress the judges; we didn’t seem to deliver all that was needed beyond the presentation stage. Sound familiar?
These slogans of New Labour, uttered by Tony Blair, were the new props that change the game of British Politics into a media driven one, where getting the best sound-bites and not being off message was the strategy. Despite not living up to most people’s expectations, including mine, the previous government was reasonably successful in realising these slogans. Including increasing university numbers and reducing youth crime. Yet only a year after they left office, we had the UK riots, higher youth crime and higher youth unemployment. So what went wrong? And what do we do about it?
The answer to the first is clear to me – the game has changed, again, and we need to change. The new game is called Network Politics. I am going to consider the case studies of three persons during the rest of the speech and will be asking for your experiences to be shared.
Considering the UK riots, some of you may have heard of the heart-breaking plight of Carla Rees, a 34 year-old musician whose flat and property was burned to destruction in London. She lost at least 10 flutes, which she had based her international contemporary music career on.
Considering the case of Trolling; one of the most high profile was that of Natasha MacBryde, who was bullied by a person called Sean Duffy. The inquest into her death heard that 15-year-old Natasha had also been teased by members of an all-girl clique at her £10,000-a-year school in the weeks leading up to her death.
Considering Information Poverty. An average man that lives on the Gurnos estate in Merthyr Tydfil, South Wales, can expect to enjoy good health for just 58.8 years. This is a socially deprived area. Goetre Junior School is not the best place for a pupil with autism, who I shall call Dafydd Young, lack access help to improve their social skills. He and his peers have poor diet, families who are heavy smokers, and severe unemployment. The Internet is sometimes seen as a luxury here, except to those with mobile phones.
You’re probably all wondering what these stories have got to do with gamification and e-learning 2.0. So let me explain both terms to you in detail on the next two slides.
Firstly let us look at Gamification.
As you can see from this slide, gamification is using elements of gameplay typically seen in video games to encourage participation in websites such as online communities.
Gamification pioneer Amy Jo Kim says that the key ingredients that make games fun, compelling, and even addictive are collecting, points, feedback, exchanges, and customisation.
This image you can see on the slide is of a website from the mobile phone provider GiffGaff which uses gamification to keep and gain customers. The service cuts staffing costs by encouraging customers to support those ones with problems. It does this by offering those persons points for each piece of support they offer in the forums and signing up friends. GiffGaff’s model contrasts with those ‘freemium’ ones which are free to use when one signs up, but charges a premium for services .
If you look through the eyes of Dafydd Young who we mentioned earlier you can see that their social environment could benefit from gamification. Humans are naturally competitive. However in Dafydd Young’s community all too often it is a race to the bottom, to see who can be the poorest for instance. They are traditionally persuaded with short-term games like CyberMonday, which where the online retail companies have hyped-up sales on masse to encourage people to shop online for Christmas – the Monday just gone as it happens.
However those like Dafyddd Young could benefit from gamification being used to increase their repertoire of behavioural responses for use in games that look beyond the short-term. Take one game – hypermiling – where people compete with themselves about how much less fuel their use in their car. People like Daffydd, who need clear rules with their autism, could benefit from e-learning 2.0 systems that allow them to interact with their peers while learning essential social skills – two such systems, called PARLE and Vois, are described in reasearch papers on a free USB stick you can collect.
Does anyone have any opinions and experiences on how you think using games could encourage or discourage certain behaviours, or increase others’ repertoire of behavioural response?
Now turning to E-Learning 2.0.
E-Learning 2.0 is a type of e-learning programme where learners from any school or household can access lessons via their computers and mobile devices and have the instruction tailed to them, including ability and interests.
It is not a term I particularly like, as the collaborative aspect of it is something I have argued for over a number of years. But the 2.0 part serves to emphasise the role of social networking more effectively than the original term for this; Computer Supportive Collaborative Learning (CSCL).
This image you can see on the slide is of an E-Learning 2.0 system I devised, back in 2004 when CSCL was a type of E-Learning. The features of the system included the circle of friends that can be found on Facebook where one can add a friend for them to provide social support and peer-based marking.
Now, turning to the main aim of this speech – to show how the UK Criminal law system can further the role of gamification in E-learning 2.0 systems.
As you can see from this slide, I have on the left put legal instruments currently available and to the right the equivalents which through gamification can enhance learning online, specifically with E-Learning 2.0. I will briefly explain them, and then put these into context of the next two slides asking for your input at different stages.
A fixed penalty notice is an on-the-spot fine given for a minor crime. In an E-learning 2.0 systems this could include docking people points, as I showed possible in my degree thesis in 2002.
ASBOs are court orders which restrict someone actions by saying if they perform a prohibited set of actions named in that order then they can go to jail for 2 years. These have been used on many people in Merthyr Tydfil like Dafydd Young. The equivalent instrument in an E-learning 2.0 system is the behaviour contract as I highlighted in my 3rd Masters thesis last year.
Other instruments like dispersal orders to break up gangs could be reflected by temporarily banning people who get into arguments, or in the case of detention for breach of the peace people could be required to express their frustration in a safe ‘sin bin’ which I call the displacement room.
A concept I devised in 2002 was The Digital Classroom of Tomorrow and this is an ideal system on which to implement these. This is based on the premise that the large class-sizes in state schools are not a problem in themselves, as technology can transform learning by removing the ‘sage on the stage’ teacher from the education system. Students do not want to be lectured at these days, as they have their own worldview that is all too often different from the teachers’. I call this ‘Classroom 2.0′, as it mixes the collaborative software associated with E-Learning 2.0 with the traditional classroom setting rather than replace that setting with 100% distance learning.
DCOT could be realised to allow mixed ability students in a class of 30 to assemble around tables of 6, interacting with an E-Learning 2.0 multi-user virtual learning environment on their laptops so as to create Classroom 2.0. This ‘one-laptop-six-at-a-table’ policy would not work without customisation as Amy Jo Kim points out.
Using customization in e-learning systems, particularly using gamification concepts, can mean interest is maintained in the environment, without the over-dependence on the teacher from the broadcasted approach to education, still found in most schools today.
If you look at this next slide you can see there are different types of platform for e-learning 2.0 systems, which can use the customisation in the Digital Classroom of Tomorrow.
Adjusting content based on learner interests. For instance if Carla was at school, she might find English lessons more interesting if she was asked to ‘Describe five adjectives that describe your favourite music instrument the flute. Weblogs which are updatable can do this well, and can be revised and commented on by other learners but not edited by them.
Wikis and hypertext fiction can allow a user to modify content to improve skills such as with regards to use of English. This can involve adjusting the content on grounds of ability. Someone at a basic level of understanding could be asked to ‘List’ five adjectives, someone with moderate abilities could be asked to ‘Describe’ five adjectives, and the most advanced toto ‘synthesise five adjectives’.
Chatroom and message boards could be improved through docking people points if they perform a behaviour that is banned on the basis of a ‘behaviour contract’, which sets of the rules of the game, in order to build consensus among the students. This could involve automatic detection and deduction.
Also possible is having a system where the status of the user can be changed so that they are no longer able to access the main part of the system if they treat others unfavorably for instance.
Does anyone else have any examples of things they have found useful for engaging people online and managing behaviour?
Finally, before opening up to the floor, I want to talk briefly about Trollers, and the role they can play in gamified e-learning 2.0 systems.
Many of you will have heard about trolling in the press and probably associate it with people who want to harm others. This was true in the case of Natasha MacBryde. However I argue that trolling, which is simply posting a humorous message to provoke a reaction in others, or his own sick fun in Sean Duffy who bullied Natasha.
If you look at the different types of Troller on this slide. The Flirts troll by posting reflections of funny things that have happened in their lives. Snerts on the other hand post to harm others, for their own sick entertainment. Trolls post more inflammatory messages that go against the grain of someone in order to entertain the community at large, such as by mocking the Snerts. Their less constructive equivalent, the Big Man, troll by saying things others disagree with but they strongly hold to, knowing others will react with consternation so they can have fun proving them wrong.
The My heart bleeds for you Jennies do trolling by posting messages that make light of a current situation in order to put another at ease. Their opposite, the E-Venger, posts hurtful messages in order for them to feel happier for something they felt wronged by.
The Ripper posts self-deprecating messages that make them feel happier, even though they are not looking for solutions as such. Their opposite, the Chatroom Bob, posts entertain messages in order to gain the trust of the other person, who they then exploit for their own ends.
And lastly, the Wizard will troll to be creative, such as posting a joke they made up. The Iconoclasts on the other hand will either remove content or post messages that challenge the legitimate world views of others.
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