Can Open Government Be Gamed? If information is power, the first step to gaining power is to get the right data. The Obama administration is a big proponent of opening up government data and making it digitally available. Today at the Personal Democracy Forum in New York City, the government’s new chief information officer Vivek Kundra announced USAspending.gov, a new site which launched today that tracks government spending with charts and lists ranking the largest government contractors (Lockheed, Boeing, Northrop Grumman, etc.) and assistance recipients (Department of Healthcare Services, New York State Dept. of Health, Texas Health & Human Services Commission, etc.). There is also the Data.gov project, which is attempting to digitize government data and make it available in its raw form for citizens and companies to sift through. Digital tools are bringing participation back to democracy, or at least that is the idea.
The Playpump: How a Simple Gamification Concept can Save the (third) World New to Gamification? Check out my post What is Gamification & my Gamification Framework: Octalysis Gamification visits the Third World Most of the time, we think of Gamification as a technique to get consumers to like our products more, to be more productive in life, and improve our workplace, but Gamification can sometimes be used to save an entire nation.
Game mechanics for causes – Catalysts for Change – Evolution of Philanthropy Nothing is more captivating than a well-thought out game. That’s why more and more initiatives are building games (or using game mechanics) to create positive social change. Here’s a new one that launched today – it’s called Catalysts for Change, and it gives players a game-like competition for sharing and responding to ideas about solving the world’s social problems. It’s a bit like Quora meets Twitter meets Trivial Pursuit. Here’s a video they put together that provides a brief overview: One you sign up, you’re asked to submit “cards”, which are basically suggestions or responses to specific issues.
BigGames The last few years have seen the blossoming of real world computer games that allow players to learn about important global issues. Here are a bunch of them. (If you know of others, please let us know so we can post them.) Real Lives is a unique, interactive life sim that enables you to live one of billions of lives in any country in the world. Through statistically accurate events, Real Lives brings to life different cultures, political systems, economic opportunities, personal decisions, health issues, family issues, schooling, jobs, religions, geography, war, peace, and more!
Introducing a Game-Based Curriculum in Higher Ed Continuing from last week’s post about “The Gamification of Education”, this week we bring you a guest post from Justin Marquis, who examines the why’s and how’s of incorporating game based learning elements into the higher education curriculum. The gamification movement is in full-effect with its fair share of proponents and opponents. Those in favor of the idea most often cite student motivation and the ability of games to simulate real world circumstances so that learners can safely explore these environments without endangering themselves or others. Those on the other side of the argument think gamification is just a fad and that there is no real transfer of what is learned in games to the real world.
The Gamification of Education and Cognitive, Social, and Emotional Learning Benefits Guest post by Jane Wolff. The current trend towards the increased use of games and game mechanics in instructional situations could probably have been foreseen quite some time ago. Stretching right back to the primitive gaming technology of the ZX Spectrum in the early 80’s, kids were hooked. As a wider variety and higher quality of educational games have been produced, it is really no surprise that educationists have gravitated towards further use of them as tools in the learning environment.
Educating Players: Are Games the Future of Education? CAMBRIDGE, Mass.—Smart phones, tablets and video game systems are often seen as distractions to school children in developed countries, which tend to adhere to a strict teacher-student educational model. At Technology Review‘s Emerging Technologies (EmTech) conference here on October 25, a panel of technologists and educators posited that it’s time to embrace students’ use of such technologies and rethink learning in both developed and developing countries. “The issue isn’t education or schools—it’s learning,” panelist Nicholas Negroponte, founder and chairman emeritus of M.I.T.’s Media Lab and the chairman of the One Laptop Per Child (OLPC) foundation, said. “The fork in the road is the difference between knowing and understanding.
Story-Based Games as Transformational Media Story-Based Games as Transformational Media In John Stewart’s posting, “Flow Engineering using computer games,” he begins to “sketch some ways in which computer game frameworks can be used to promote the positive development of humanity, both as individuals and collectively.” The general subject of transformative media is directly relevant to another conference venue, Social Approaches to Consciousness, and together they become a mandate for meaningful media. The term media covers a lot of ground, and it is by virtue of an infinite array of mediation that humans learn about their environment, themselves, their cultural values, and the meaning underlying the patterns of their lives. I think that the discovery of relative meaning (personal or collective) is the essence of the “Flow” experience in its many forms. Why story-based games?
Synthesis: How Games Could Save the World Reality Is Broken: Why Games Make Us Better and How They Can Change the World, Jane McGonigal, Penguin Press, 2011 Game Developers Conference,www.gdconf.com Abdul Latif Jameel Poverty Action Lab,www.povertyactionlab.org Innovations for Poverty Action,www.poverty-action.org I have a confession: I am a games geek. I’ve lost untold hours of my life at various developmental stages wandering through forests in Dungeons & Dragons, conquering nations in Risk, and shooting imps in Doom. Games for Change New logo - 06/19/11 Games for Change (also known as G4C) is a movement and community of practice dedicated to using digital games for social change. An individual game may also be referred to as a "game for change" if it is produced by this community or shares its ideals. "Games for Change" is also the name for the non-profit organization which is building the field by providing support, visibility, and shared resources to individuals and organizations using digital games for social change. Overview
Can a mobile game help find the cure for cancer? Amazon, Google and Facebook hope so We already know that data is integral to finding the cure for cancer, but some of that data needs the attention of human rather than machine eyes to be properly interpreted. To that end, the charity Cancer Research UK has teamed up with Amazon, Facebook and Google to create a mobile game for analysing genetic mutations. The aim of the game is simply to harness more eyes – cancer researchers already trawl through genetic data to try to pick up on subtle irregularities, but the task would be a lot easier if more people were involved. The charity has already created a web-based game called Cell Slider for looking through archived tissue samples, but the new game is supposed to make the search for a cure more fun, and more suitable for on-the-go usage. “We’re making great progress in understanding the genetic reasons cancer develops.
Game for Change: Fate of the World New Computer Game Simulates Challenges of Global Warming A British company has developed a new computer game that allows players to save the planet from the effects of global warming — at least in a simulated setting. “Fate of the World,” produced by the gaming company Red Redemption, places players at the head of a global environmental organization — a “UN with teeth” — charged with saving the world over the next 200 years in the face of rising temperatures, diminishing resources, disappearing ecosystems, and growing population. Using actual climate models and data from scientists at the University of Oxford, players can confront these challenges globally through a variety of policies — including cap-and-trade, promotion of renewable energy, and geoengineering schemes.
Games and the Common Core: Two Movements That Need Each Other Recently I witnessed two expert panels discussing critical issues for our educational system -- on the same day. The first one was on implementing the Common Core for English-language learners; the second was on how games offer an exciting new frontier for student learning and engagement. In the morning, I listened in to an Alliance for Excellent Education panel including Stanford professor Kenji Hakuta and Carrie Heath Phillips, director of Common Core implementation at the Council of Chief State School Officers.
These kickass games let you do real-life science I like that there's all these games out there that actually contribute to real science. It's nice to know that I'm Contributing to Science! But they all end the same way: I just spent 25 minutes mapping craters on the moon, and that's enough for this month. While I used a crowd sourced example, the same can be said for most of these games. I haven't tried them all, so maybe one is, like, super-duper awesome. But mostly they're ... kinda ... boring.