Level I



“Gamification vs. Game-Based Learning”

By Sherry Jones, October 25, 2013

A very clear slideshow presentation distinguishing the differences between gamification and game-based learning. The author also provides video interviews, links to other resources, and the advantages and disadvantages of both.

“This is not a game: Why gamification is becoming a multi-billion dollar way to motivate people”

By Rajat Paharia, November 19, 2013


This article describes the phenomenon of gamification in the business world, and it’s effect on online industries. The author discusses the desire of online businesses of every description to engage their users, and how big data and motivational sciences can be used to further their business practices.


TED Talk by Gabe Zichermann, Uploaded on Jun 9, 2011

In this lecture, Gabe Zichermann defends video games as aiding in making children smarter. He points out that studies have shown that playing video games increases neuroelasticity and promotes the growth of gray matter in the brain. He further explains that “the world is just too slow for kids today”, whom he refers to as “Generation G”.


Define the topic

Gaming has many faces in the digital world. Two big phenomena are what is called “gamification” and “game-based learning”. The two are often confused, but are distinct. Gamification is typically distinguished as converting an otherwise ordinary activity into a game for the purpose of engaging and motivating those participating, or changing their behavior. Game-based learning is a game specifically designed to achieve a specific learning outcome.


Describe it’s potential

It’s interesting to note that in digital game environments, the game is capable of tracking every move that the game player makes. This is obviously invaluable information.

As Rajat Paharia points out in his article, “This is not a game: Why gamification is becoming a multi-billion dollar way to motivate people”, whether you are company trying to motivate employees, or a game developer trying to keep players involved, “engagement is everything” (Paharia). Keeping users engaged in a significant way is what drives the success of social networking sites (i.e. Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn etc.), ecommerce sites (Amazon, eBay, etc.), and online entertainment outlets (Netflix, Spotify, Pandora, etc.). “Well-designed gamification environments work because they make use of two developments that have converged at precisely the right moment: big data and motivational science” (Paharia). He further mentions, “Big data is a crucial ingredient in the secret sauce of gamification, but we need something else. And that something is motivational science” (Paharia).

It’s ironic, really: While today’s technologies are eroding loyalty and engagement, businesses can use many of these technologies to reclaim the loyalty they’ve lost. They’re finding that big data and motivational science combine to create a kind of “cold fusion” for loyalty – one that generates an endless supply of motivation. With gamification, they channel that motivation in ways that drive their business performance.

While Paharia discusses gaming as it relates to the business world, so too this things are effecting the education world as well. These same metrics can be used to track students and their learning progress. Also, the integration of games into formal educational settings represents a paradigm shift: teachers and authority figures are no longer the “knowledge brokers” for students, but facilitators who help guide students in their own self-directed educational journeys. Gabe Zichermann, an ardent supporter of children’s use of video games as learning tools, claims that these games are in fact good for kids, stating that they increase things such neuorelasticity, problem solving, multitasking, and growth of gray matter.

WEB 2.0

“Impact Of Web 2.0 In Education”

By Christian Sebastion Loh, PhD., November, 2009


This slideshow first clarifies what Web 2.0 is, as distinct from Web 1.0 and Internet2. It gives examples of Web 2.0 tools (such as Wikipedia, WordPress, Skype, Drupal and Facebook) and what characteristics those tools have (interactive and customized by the user). The author goes on to discuss the emerging trend (a trend from 2009 at least) where many large corporations and university institutions were looking into integrating virtual gaming environments (i.e. Second Life) in many of their programs. Also discussed are foreign language learning, off-the-shelf learning tools, the notion that the web has spawned “the cult of the amateur”.

 “Web 2.0 Is the Future of Education”

By Steve Hargadon, Tuesday, March 04, 2008



“Ideas Worth Spreading: TED’s Transition from Conference to Platform”

By June Cohen (TED Conferences), Uploaded on May 5, 2010

June Cohen describes the history and background of TED at the Web 2.0 Expo 2010 in San Francisco. She highlights the open format of TED, and how that has helped to engage others globally, and spread the TED brand.


Define the topic

Web 2.0 can be described as an interactive version of Web 1.0. Where Web 1.0 was a static form of content delivery, Web 2.0 is a very dynamic platform, characterized by user-generated content, user interactivity and connectivity, and highly customizable. The content of the web is no longer controlled only by experts, IT departments, and large corporations; with Web 2.0, content is controlled by everybody. If Web 1.0 is a one-way street, then Web 2.0 is a two-way street.

Describe it’s potential

Web 2.0 has allowed individuals to have great control over the information they have available to them. With developments in technologies such as RSS and Wikis, consumers can highly customize the information that they consume. They are also able to distribute information quickly and efficiently, especially through the use of blogs and cloud-based file managements systems, such as Google Documents and Dropbox.

Steve Hargadon says, “The era of trusted authority (Time magazine, for instance, when I was young) is giving way to an era of transparent and collaborative scholarship (Wikipedia)”. This seems to be putting the words “authority” and “expert” into the dustbin of history, as anybody with an internet connection and some software can crank out content. This has had a profound effect on many industries, most notably film and entertainment (with YouTube and Netflix putting Blockbuster Video out of business), music (Spotify, iTunes, Bandcamp and Pandora replacing virtually every physical record store in existence), and print (VistaPrint, iBooks, etc.).

With Web 2.0, the possibilities for education are virtually endless, with more resources than ever now available to educators and to students (i.e. TED, Lynda.com, Coursera, etc.).




“Education innovation in the slums”

By Charles Leadbetter (TED Talk), April 2010

“The anthropology of mobile phones”

By Jan Chipchase, March 2007

Jan Chipchase describes the things people carry with them all the time: keys, money, and a cellphone. He claims this to be a survival instinct, satisfying Maslow’s hierarchy of needs, allowing them to transcend space and time. The also allow personal autonomy. “Center of gravity”: where people expect to find things. Illiterates are masters of the art of delegation. Consequences of connections: immediacy of ideas, immediacy of objects, “street” innovation that go beyond what was originally anticipated, change in the direction of the conversastion.



Define the topic

Mobile refers to smartphones, tablets, or other electronic devices that internet capabilities. This could even include mp3 players, cameras, “wearable” devices such as watches, Google Glass, and others.

Describe it’s potential

In many ways, mobile takes Web 2.0 tools and gaming (among many other things) and brings them together, allowing them to be used in a portable context. No longer are users slaves to a desktop computer at home or at work. Mobile technology makes connectivity ubiquitous. Connectivity is also quite affordable, since many of the tools available on these platforms are completely free. The potential for this to change our lives is pretty great, and difficult to forecast, especially considering the great speed at which it advances. Changes made in our world just in the last 5 years are so evident and obvious as to not really even require commentary (i.e. the proliferation of iPhones).

Among the benefits are the omnipresence of almost any type of information that someone might need at any given time. Additionally, the ubiquity of mobile devices, the proliferation of mobile-ready content, and increasing development of mobile networks makes seemingly everybody and everything accessible to everybody else all the time. This certainly has it’s benefits, along with many costs. Gone are the days when you could “leave work at work”, since these technologies keep less than just a phone or email away. We are now a text message, blog post, or social network status update away from work, or school, or friends….or any other social connection that makes up our lives.

Such ubiquity presents a great opportunity to students, as their own personal mobile device is essentially transformed into the ultimate learning tool. It is now a great resource for learning, and a knowledge-base for study. Mobile apps, too, augment the experience with specialized learning content that address specific needs. The developing world also can take great advantage of mobile, as it brings low-cost learning resources into places that don’t even have electricity, let alone state-of-the-art educational tools.


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