Gamification Roundup – January 16, 2012

Gamification Roundup – January 16, 2012

This week on the Gamification Roundup:
Nicholas Kristof creates a casual game that will benefit refugee camps and schools, HealthTap receives $11.5 from Eric Schmidt and the Mayfield Fund, gamification incentivizes college students to do extra work, education credentials are possibly being replaced by digital badges and the Tate Museum creates a fun art history game.


Nicholas Kristof of The New York Times is a humanitarian activist and writer who is creating a social gaming application with a humanitarian twist. Kristof is currently working with Games for Change to develop a FarmVille-like game in which you manage a village and the success of your village translates into real benefit for actual refugee camps and schools.  With a following of over 313K subscribers on Facebook, can Kristof make a successful game for social good, or is this destined to fizzle like the vast majority of these games.


HealthTap Gains Big Support
VentureBeat reports mobile health application HealthTap (who presented at GSummit NYC 2011) has received $11.5M in funding from sources such as Eric Schmidt’s Innovation Endeavors Fund and the Mayfield Fund. HealthTap is a patient-doctor Q&A network that rewards background-checked doctors to answer questions and promote good answers. Tim Chang, the managing director at Mayfield and the leading gamification expert VC (his previous investments include Badgeville), commented “The ‘aha’ that caused me to invest is not just Ron Gutman’s (chief executive of HealthTap) vision for health 2.0 and gamification. It was also that he was able to get doctors to care in a way that no other startup has been able to.” 


Gamification Gets Students to Do Extra Work
Following up on Andrew Miller’s popular Gamification Blog postNeoAcademic reports on a case study featuring gamification used in an education setting . The study showed that 30% of undergraduate students who were in the school’s social network opted to take optional quizzes on the incentive of badges alone. Based off these incentives, students reported the quiz experience to be “fun” and “rewarding”. The Gamification by Design framework says badges can be powerful non-linear behavioral motivators – can these same concepts shake up higher ed and employee training?


Use Virtual Badges to Get a  Real Job
Perhaps the folks at NeoAcademic and the Mozilla foundation need to get together. This week’s Chronicle of Higher Education discusses the emerging trend of online educational institutions issuing badges as a form of credential. The push for this trend comes from industry and education reformers who believe the current degree system is flawed. This concept already exists within the tech sector with Microsoft having a certification program for employees to demonstrate their proficiencies, and the Gamification industry’s own certification as examples. With projects such as Mozilla’s OpenBadge system and MIT’s self-learning MITx program, is there potential for badges to eventually replace college diplomas?


Art History Gets Fun
The Tate Modern Museum in London has come up with “Race Against Time”, a free iPhone game app that allows players to travel through consecutive eras in art history.  Beginning with the era of impressionism, players will be able to travel through these various epochs as they control a time-traveling chameleon. Playing through the game in The Tate will enable players to see their how the art in the game compares to the actual works in the museum.


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