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TIES 11: Keynote Gabe Zicherman Gamification

Gabe Zicherman, the author of the Gamification Blog and books like Gameification by Design was a last minute fill in for Keynote speaker, Jane McGonigal, who was ill and unable to attend TIES 2011.

Zicherman got the audience hooked, with pics of Atari and Oregon trail (Jane has Dysentary!)
In 1987, Carmen San Diego was the most important game.
"Civilization took up about 8,000 hours of my life in grad school!"
A game that teaches something without intending to.
The dominant narative today is divided into "Games/Screens are Evil vs. Games can Fix the World!"
Is it possible both are right?
Who NEEDS the help games can provide? NYT article on kids being too hyper. Zicherman argues that maybe it's the adults!
Doesn't teach kids to be patient and wait, de-habituated to how the real world works!
"Do our kids have ADD or are our schools too slow?"
Students do a lot of reading still, but the modality is different!
Multitasking to the Max -World of Warcraft
6 different activities required to be successful in the game.
Neuroplasticity-Juggling increases grey matter in the brain.
Increasing fluid intelligence.
Exponential increase in learning
Flynn Effect: Rising IQ since 1990-
  • Chrystalline Intelligence, stable or falling (decreasing)
  • Fluid Intelligence rising and quickly
Games are wired to produce pleasure. Dopamine is released when we are challenged and achieve.
Kids that are naturally predisposed to unacceptable behavior can be trained to be even worse. This is important for educators to remember.
"Collective change is exponential - Individual change is linear!"
Game designers work with a construct of desire for mastery.
  • Desire
  • Incentive
  • Challenge 
  • Achievement/Reward
  • Feedback
  • Mastery
The red text above occurs in social interaction.
Gamification is the process of using game thinking and game mechanics to solve problems and engage users.
It's NOT about making everything into a game!
He shared the example of Ananth Pai, from Parkview/Centerpoint Elementary, who took his 3rd graders to grade-level by utilizing games. Students said, "It's fun and it's social!"
Decoding JAY-Z with Bing! All 300 pages were placed around New York, and the winner received 2 free tix to every concert for life!
It took 30 days, and the winner hired people to assist! The prize cost him nothing, but it seems like an incredible prize!
Speed Camera Lottery in Sweden. The ticket is based on how much money you make! Everyone who drives at the speed limit is entered in a lottery for the cost that others pay.
Car dashboards for Hybrids-Honda Insight, Nissan Leaf, Toyota Prius, and Ford Fusion have feedback on how ecological you are being. The Leaf even has incorporated Facebook into it!
Ripple and DueProps- Routine tasks get virtual points for jobs well done.Feedback goals & 360 employee engagement. Any time an altruistic reward is introduced, the behavior is messed up. It uses Karma rather than money and is more successful.
iCivics, developed by Sandra Day-O'Connor
Online college courses have games integrated (See Chart)
We have to avoid being all enthusiasm and no substance!
NYT Inflating the Software Report Card. Important to be data-driven. We need to vet in a systemic way.
Bartles Player types 4 core types of players.
  • Killers- Win/Lose I've got to win, you've got to lose, and I need attention for it! This behavior cannot be stopped! It CAN be redirected.
  • Achievers- Important to know that not everyone can win! Sometimes we focus too much on them. 10% Everyone likes acheivement, but most don't want to put in the effort.
  • Socializers- 80% of the population
  • Explorers-Enjoy the process of discovery
What motivates people to play games?
If we know what motivates students, we will know how to define fun!
Some people might try to "out-collaborate" others.
SAPS model. In order of stickiness and cost. Status access and power are more important than stuff!
  1. Status
  2. Access 
  3. Power 
  4. Stuff
Our fun future:
  • Faster Paced
  • Rewards Everywhere
  • Collaborative play
  • More Global
Zicherman thinks that "The Kids Are All Right!" Education has never been an apolitical profession! There has always been conflict about how best to teach, but somehow, we all turn out ok!
His key is that it isn't as important to see how games can affect learning...IT'S US! GO PLAY!!!


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