Suzanne Atkinson, Chef-adjoint, services pharmaceutiques, département de pharmacie et unité de recherche en pratique pharmaceutique | CHU Sainte-Justine and Jean-François Bussières Use of an Escape Game in Healthcare: a Literature Review and a Practical Simulation At the end of the talk, participants should reach the following objectives:

  • know the key elements in the literature about the use and the impact of escape game in healthcare.
  • understand how to design, set up and use a hospital escape game.
  • see a concrete example of escape game at CHU Sainte-Justine.
  • identify the benefits and issues associated with the use of escape games in the health field.

As part of the work of the URPP (Unité de recherche en pratique pharmaceutique), we recently conducted a review of the literature on the use of escape games in the field of health (submitted for publication). In addition, we organized an escape game at our hospital as part of the preparatory activities for a visit to Accreditation Canada. The proposed presentation includes a “literature review” and a practical part including commented video clips and an exchange with the participants. Data on the satisfaction and achievement of the activity will also be presented.

Stephen Baer, Head of Creative | The Game Agency WORKSHOP: Creating Employee Training Games That Drive Deeper Engagement & Better Results This workshop will showcase best practices in creating training games to enhance e-learning and instructor-led training for new employee on-boarding, product training, sales training, and compliance training. The speaker will present data, a variety of industry case studies and testimonials that demonstrate how game-based learning provides an effective and engaging training for healthcare companies. Attendees will create their own games during this session, play games together, and compete for prizes. Attendees will walk away with a cheat sheet on how to align the right game mechanics with their learning / performance objectives. All attendees will get hands on experiencing creating their own training game (using The Game Agency’s Training Arcade authoring tool) and will be able to bring their game back to the office for employee use.

Eric B. Bauman, CEO, Clinical Playground VR for Medical and Healthcare Education: Case Review – From Development to Learning Outcomes, VR Airway Management The entire session will be situated around the opportunity for attendees to play though the VR experience. In this way the audience will come to understand the interactive experiential potential of immersive VR learning experiences for medical and healthcare education through a review of contemporary pedagogy that supports digital and emerging technology. In addition, attendees will learn how to design outcomes-based research around VR technology through a discussion of a VR airway management protocol designed to introduce healthcare students to basic and advanced airway management. The entire session will be situated around the opportunity for attendees to play though the VR experience. The discussion will cover the Development process, research initiative and educational outcomes related to the teaching and learning effectiveness for this VR medical and healthcare learning experience.

Gabriel Beck, Artist, Game-Maker & Researcher | TAG Concordia Mutual Listening: Innovative Skills through Play for a Better Society “The meaning of your communication is the response you get.” Gregory Bateson What if we considered deep and mutual listening as a skill to be developed in a society centred on individualism where public expression is one of the greatest fears? The audience will experience this workshop as a participatory language game interspersed with theoretical “breaks”. We will play Makesense, a research-creation game that takes the form of a card game based on language interpretation. Interactivity will consist in connecting participants around ambiguous words they can associate and bring out new collective meanings. From this experience, can the game become a global tool alternative to some of the deficiencies in the institutional and educational system based on the authoritarian, competitive and hierarchical transmission of knowledge? We will discover game-dispositive that allows everyone to have the power to learn and teach each other, to make their inner world an unlimited resource for others. The audience will discover specific peer-to-peer learning techniques to make deep-listening both a need and a source of fun.

Kim Berthiaume, Creative Director | Affordance Studio Game-Based Learning for Continuous Medical Education Continuous medical education allows physicians the opportunity to develop skills and knowledge throughout their careers in order to provide more effective services to their patients. However, traditional classes and e-learning do not always provide highly engaging content and experiences to maintain a physicians’ attention and more importantly enrollment in these courses. Game-based learning offers the opportunity to deliver highly interactive content to physicians through collaborative and competitive challenges. In her presentation, Berthiaume will explain the differences between different e-learning solutions and game-based learning tools. Kim will also present the Heart Condition game developed for a major pharmaceutical as an example of a successful game-based learning tool. Participants will participate in a demo.

Maude Bonenfant, Professor and Alexandra Dumont, Émilie Paquin, Louis-David Lalancette-Renaud | all UQÀM The Use of an Online Gamified Platform to Manage Classrooms:  A Case Study of Classcraft Classcraft is an online platform that can be used in classrooms and that exploits archetypal elements from online role-playing games such as World of Warcraft. Students are assigned an avatar that they have to develop by participating in different quests (pedagogical exercises) and by fighting bosses (tests and exams). They can collect points to level-up, as well as to buy new gear, superpowers or any other fictional elements that can materialize in real-life advantages chosen by the teacher. In her talk, Bonenfant will present a research conducted in collaboration with the creator of the platform that aims to see how the gamification techniques used by Classcraft can quickly modify the students’ behavior, but also motivate them on a long-term basis by creating a stimulating environment in the classroom.

Jonathan Bonneau, Lecturer/Coordinator | Dept of Communication, UQÀM Learning through LARPing: Interviews and Biometrics We will examine how game concepts can be used through role playing games for educational purposes. By observing the students of a LARPing school and analyzing their behavior and growth from a gamification and biometric point of view, we will also evaluate their engagement to the activity and the potential quality of the lessons passed on by the game organizers. In addition, we will explore the possibilities of this kind of “education by play” while comparing the curriculum of public high schools to the manual work, ethical reflection, problem solving, artistic performance, agility training and physical activity that these players experience.

Susan Bonner, Professor, Digital Art & Design and Bill Fischer, Executive Producer | The EPIC Project @ KCAD + L.E.A.D. Integrating Inclusive, Socio-Emotional, Entertainment, and Universal design using the I. S.E.E. U. production model Learn how to create educational and informational media that moves audiences and users beyond reaction to action. The I. S.E.E. U. model blends inclusive, socio-emotional content strategies with entertainment based and universal design production methods. Using this model, you will connect deeply with the broadest possible target audience through universal and accessible design, and achieve the best possible retention through brain science derived delivery systems.  Attendees will be walked through the model, share stories and take away a digital guide with examples from the EPIC Project.

Francois Boucher-Genesse, CEO | Ululab and Stephane Cyr | Mathematics Dept, UQÀM Why are the Words “Educational Games” not Exciting for Kids? Creating a learning experience that can engage kids as much as “regular” video games is an incredibly challenging task which the industry is only starting to figure out. The first part of this talk will cover a few design techniques that were used in the critically acclaimed Slice Fractionsseries. The games’ approach is to focus on specific misconceptions that kids typically hold about fractions, in contrast to the more standard formula-based approach. We will also tackle how we plan to cover a large portion of a curriculum in our upcoming games, which is a common problem for educational video game creators. We will showcase a design solution, which keeps the gameplay close to the subject matter, but doesn’t require to constantly reinvent brand new game mechanics. The second part will detail the surprising results of a scientific study conducted by researchers at UQAM on the learning efficacy of the game. The game was tested in a classroom setting with primary students. This talk will go in more details about the results and discuss why this type of game could have a significant impact in classroom settings.

Guy Boulet, Learning Specialist and Kamil Andrzejewski, Multimedia Specialist | Naval Training Development Centre (Atlantic), Royal Canadian Navy Using Gaming Technology to Support Performance Based Training The session will explain how a very small production team was able to leverage online gaming technology to develop the Canadian Virtual Naval Fleet (CVNF), a virtual environment designed to support spatial and procedural awareness for sailors of the Royal Canadian Navy. It will include project background, explain how it has been designed, developed and implemented and also describe the learning results observed, which can be applied to similar projects.

Enid Brown, Learning Engineer | BrainPOP and Bob Holmes | Sudden Industries and Noah Warnke | Cornell Lab of Ornithology Accessibility and Games: How Do We Create Games for Everyone This panel will focus on designing and creating accessible games. The panelist will represent organizations who have done significant work in designing accessible games and interactives. We also represent different roles in the game development process…design, development and product management. We will talk to the challenges and wins experienced. Attendees will leave with some best practices when designing for accessibility, quick wins that they can achieve, and pitfalls to avoid. We’ll also talk through some common accessible game mechanics and WCAG standards that are applied in the different phases on the game development process. We’ll also provide a one-pager or “cheat sheet” for attendees

Bruno Campos, Graphic Design Instructor | Concordia University WORKSHOP:  Creating Playable Infographics Using Construct 3 Game Engine Participants will explore an alternative way of content presentation. Infographics are already a visual tool that combines and well balances visual and textual information in order to present complex subjects in a simpler and understandable way. This workshop provides practical approaches to add an “extra sauce” on the way a target audience can interact with information, by playing with it and being an active agent on the communication process. Construct 3 game engine promotes a very friendly entrance to a coding environment and it’s very easy to use, allowing users to create something playable with very few components and steps. Putting all together, designers and visual content creators will learn a new skill within a free software package, allowing them to engage their specific audience, which will be not only reading or watching the information but at the same time playing with it. The idea of this workshop is to have participants engaging in a hands-on activity where they’ll be creating an interactive infographic/data visualization using Construct 3 FREE Game Engine ( At the very start of the workshop, participants will be presented to a broad concept of infographics – both static, dynamic and interactive – and their current applications in a digital medium.Right after, we will start the practical activity, where participants will transform a static infographic proposal into a more dynamic and interactive form, by adding some controls and playful elements. Participants will face a very simple and cool way of creating something controllable and interactive made for instructional/learning purposes. No previous programming skills are required because Construct uses pre-made behaviors and visual script for content creation. All they need is a computer and internet access.

Birdie Champ, BS, M.Ed., Ed.S, Owner, Chief Product Officer | UXDiversity and Thorne Palmer, BA, M.Ed The UX of Serious Games: How to Impact a Wider Audience What elements are you measuring when determining the value of your serious game? There are many critical touchpoints a player (user) experiences that occur before, during, and after playing a game, from initial interest to post-game evangelism. Some serious game designs inadvertently block some users from ever playing. Some design elements can cause players to rage quit where others thrive. In this session we will explore three topics: First, we will explore a complete user’s experience (UX) of a serious game. Second, we will look closer at the users of serious games and break them into personas based on social, emotional, and cognitive differences in how they learn and how they play. Third, we will explore how to merge instructional design with game design with activities that bridge the varied experiences different users can have when engaging with similar challenges. By breaking down the UX into touch points, breaking down users into personas, and mitigating gaps in the varied qualities of user experiences, you will likely improve your game analysis, game quality, and broaden your customer segments.

Todd Chang, Division Director for Research & Scholarship, Assoc. Professor of Pediatrics | Children’s Hospital Los Angeles & University of Southern California New Insights in Research for Impactful Healthcare Training Game Development While the Games & VR marketplace for healthcare training is becoming saturated, developers, funders, and institutions have yet to discover and implement best practices. In this session, we discuss all stages of conceptualization and development of games & VR aimed at healthcare provider training. 1. Nuances of Subject Matter Expert collaboration 2. Proper needs assessments and the niche target audience 3. Measurement and Evaluation of your product implementation 4. How to pivot your serious game & VR training with unexpected data The CHLA experiences highlights both successes and barriers in all 4 of these topics, and what we’ve learned, moving forward. Implementation of games and VR is not easy within healthcare, a very risk-averse industry. Knowing the healthcare and healthcare education culture helps developers and funders forge useful alliances and avoid pitfalls along the way. In addition, we will present actual data from our testing and evaluation that also illustrates the specificity of our implementation strategy. These include physiology data comparing VR to real life resuscitations, as well as performance differences for multi-patient care and single-patient care.

Tony Crider, Professor of Astrophysics | Elon University Assessing Experiential Learning: Epic Finales and Roleplaying Rubrics The Reacting to the Past curriculum for higher education offers many games that are ready for adoption “as-is” into many different types of college classes. The rubrics and grading methods are templates that are easily ported. The more creative examples of roleplay (e.g. the Epic Finales from a class about extraterrestrials) are meant to be more inspirational than directly adoptable. As educators adopt more engaged teaching practices, multiple-choice and essay exams become increasingly incapable of capturing and reflecting student learning. In this talk, we will highlight engaged role-playing and experiential approaches, including Reacting to the Past games, Cultures of the Imagination, and selections from Anthony Weston’s book, Teaching as the Art of Staging. We’ll also look at examples of the implementation of these in a variety of classes ranging from first-year seminars to astrophysics. We will then review rubrics and guidelines on how to assess student learning during these activities and at the end of the semester with Epic Finales.

Stuart Criley, COO and Dr. Jasminka Criley, CEO | Indelible Learning, Inc. Alphabet Soup Cans: Avoiding Bad Tropes of Educational Games Classroom games often struggle to make student tedium somehow less wearisome, with often comical results. Dropping math problems into the middle of a galactic space battle is just one egregious example. But the problem runs deeper than simple dissonance between game play and narrative: a bored student will tolerate even a very bad computer game, only because the alternative (listening to the teacher) is worse.  Likewise, teachers may be tempted to outsource mundane instructional tasks to computers.  Within this environment of perverse incentives, what is an ethical game developer to do? Rather than merely replacing activities that are already being done in the classroom, serious games are at their best when they transmit learning experiences that would be too expensive, impractical, or even dangerous to conduct in school by other means. One approach is to place learners in the roles of professionals and give them real-world scenarios that are easy to begin, but hard to win.  In this session, learn how to partner with content experts to create compelling games that draw upon multiple disciplines, requiring critical thinking in teams to succeed.  Finally, see how an Electoral College strategy game moved from prototype to successful deployment in the classroom.

Christopher Crowell, Founder | Crowell Interactive Inc Make a Game WORKSHOP Class size Limited.  Requires Sign-up at Registration In this workshop Chris will take self-formed teams of educators through his proven process of making a game from a curriculum concept of their choice. As the teams collaboratively create a new game prototype, lively discussion during each development stage will inform decisions about resources, game design and player experience, providing an understanding of the framework. As an outcome, educators will have experiential learning about creating an experiential learning experience, it’s like some kind of “Experience-ception”! They also come away with an ‘ugly paper prototype’ that they can take back to their classrooms for further development. Outcomes:

  • Ugly playable game prototype that can be taken back to classroom for further development.
  • Understanding of, and experience with, a proven process of developing a concept into a game.
  • Confidence to personally develop, or lead students in developing, educational games that are engaging and effective.
  • Knowledge that games are not only fun to play, they are fun to create!

Paul Darvasi, Educator, Writer & Researcher | Royal St. George’s College/York University The Museum of Me: Using a Commercial Video Game to Foster Social Emotional Learning in the Classroom The Museum of Me curricular unit leverages a rich interactive narrative to support teens on a journey of self-inquiry by fostering social and emotional learning (SEL) within the framework of a high school English class. A sense of emotional wellbeing is predictive of improved academic performance, but there are currently few appealing, developmentally appropriate methods to engage teens in their own social and emotional development. The presenter will demonstrate how the award-winning game, What Remains of Edith Finch, was used to support SEL, resilience, media literacy, ELA standards, and universal design for learning (UDL). These principles support efforts to meet teens where they are developmentally, to engage them deeply in a learning experience driven by their own interests, and to provide equitable opportunities for teens of diverse backgrounds to contribute and learn meaningfully by offering multiple entry points and engagement strategies. Attendees will leave with a roadmap for how to integrate existing digital games into classroom instruction to support teens’ holistic development, and how to design game-based curriculum using universal design and social and emotional learning as guiding principles.

Chris Dede, Wirth Professor in Learning Technologies and Dr. Iulian Radu, Post-Doctoral Fellow | Harvard University Designing Immersive Experiences that Create Empathy, Reveal Biases, Alter Mindsets In this talk we discuss insights from designing and studying immersive experiences aimed at improving early literacy outcomes through personalized learning, spanning virtual, augmented and mixed realities as well as non-immersive applications. Our serious games provide research evidence into how these varied media can enable adults (teachers, school leaders, families, and caregivers) to implement personalized literacy learning at the organizational and individual level. We will present lessons gained from designing experiences across immersive media such as 360 video, virtual environments with agents, mixed reality systems with human-in-the-loop characters (ex: Mursion, and augmented reality. We will also discuss approaches and takeaways for creating experiences intended to build empathy towards the unfamiliar (ex: our work on parents using VR to experience the world as young children with reading disabilities), experiences for detecting unconscious biases (ex: teachers educating a stimulated classroom of students in ways that may trigger innate biases), and experiences to contextually modify parental mindsets (ex: parents using augmented reality to alter their strategies for children’s literacy). Overall, we will present general lessons from building simulated authentic situations in which teachers and parents learn to overcome challenges in early literacy development. We will pause our talk/lecture occasionally for questions that enable brief small group interactions.

Ann DeMarle, Professor, Director of the Emergent Media Ctr. | Champlain College BREAKAWAY: Combating Gender-based Violence through Student Created Games Attendees will learn: how to structure partnerships with higher education; how the Sabido methodology and character archetypes were employed to a mobile format; how the mobile touch interface changed the mini-game mechanics; key lessons learned for development continuity across several college semesters and shifts in team personnel; and how student engagement and learning are crucial parts of a successful development process. This is the story of how we persevered and adapted the game with a message ever more relevant in the era of #MeToo. FORMAT TALK / DEMO: In 2010, college students at the Emergent Media Center (EMC) at Champlain College partnered with the United Nations Population Fund to create BREAKAWAY, an online game addressing gender-based violence. Research conducted in a series of facilitated youth camp models in Palestine and El Salvador from 2012-2014 highlighted its effectiveness at producing positive change in youth participants. The game was a finalist in the 2016 Womanity Award for the Prevention of Violence Against Women. In 2016, students recognized the need to reach wider audiences and address changing play and game technologies. Thus began development of BREAKAWAY: mobile, completed in 2018. It recently was employed in migrant camps in Rwanda. Like the original, it is a soccer-themed game that addresses VAWG by encouraging reflection, positive attitudes, and behavior change in youth. This presentation will include a brief demo of the game. It will examine the challenges of student led development for international audiences including: maintaining the integrity and impact of the original online version while updating and adapting it to a mobile format; opportunities for streamlining the narrative for a new generation; improving mini-game play; emboldening student experience; and how to partner with academia.

Eva Den Heijer, Visual Artist, Game Designer, Course Leader, Senior Lecturer and Imara Felkers, Senior Lecturer | HKU University School of the Arts, Utrecht, the Netherlands WORKSHOP: How to Design Inner Play in One’s Study-Narrative The method and toolkit presented in this workshop is based on philosophy and game design. Attendees will get introduced to several philosophical frameworks and will use game principles to design and develop their (study) narrative. In this method we depart from two assumptions. First the premise that play can come closer to reality than reality itself and second the school of thought that philosophy is philosophy of play after all; many great philosophers from the Ancient Greek to contemporary thinkers like Paul Ricoeur, but also the Dutch scholar Johan Huizinga with his profound work Homo Ludens, reminds us to this way of looking at reality. This gives play the capacity to highlight concepts, where daily reality acquires its identity. By combining philosophy and game design in a study narrative, students realize that their reality is ambiguous and is constructed by concepts. The approach offers attendees insight into different professions and positions within society, and their individuality in society. Game principles provide them concrete tools to shape, construct and maintain their own structure and ownership in their (study) career. Experience the ambiguity of reality and discover your own pluriformity as a base to encounter the world and your daily life. In this workshop we present, and will try out with the attendees, a toolkit and method developed for Bachelor students in Higher Education to design inner play in their study narrative to increase agency and ownership in their study. However, in this session attendees actually can experience their own pluriformity and how they can discover and use their own peculiarities and playfulness in life. By making use of character design principles and philosophy, they’ll design a personal player profile and a personal narrative with the aim to understand how to hack daily systems. In this workshop we would like to let attendees discover their own pluriformity as a human being

Adam Kenneth Dubé, Assistant Professor | McGill University Are Educational Games Actually Games? Panelists: Chu Xu, Run Wen, Sabrina Shajeen Alam, Gulsah Kacmaz, Armaghan Montazami and Aishwarya Nair Despite decades of research, it is unclear whether educational video games are effective. We argue that this ambiguity results from researchers and developers lumping different learning experiences under the term ‘games’ without defining what is a game. Our work leverages Games Studies to advance a definition of games and then uses this definition as a framework to review educational games research and to test the consequences of different popular game mechanics on learning. In our review, we asked whether researchers and developers a) recognize games as having inherent learning mechanics and b) consider them when studying and developing educational games. Based on our review, it seems that the majority of studies do not discuss (60%) or investigate (80%) the role of learning mechanics in educational games. Further, our research suggests that many popular tablet games include game mechanics that may be detrimental to learning. More effective educational games could be made with a greater understanding of the role of ‘games’ in educational games.

Francis Dubé, Full Professor | Université Laval Creating an International Network on Music Game-Based Learning Approach The use of music educational games, whether digital or analogue, is still not widespread in formal music education even if a based-learning approach is recognized to promote learning and motivation of users in different educational areas. To facilitate, enhance, develop and accelerate its use as a relevant music teaching strategy, it is essential to create and set up a solid international network of music teachers, families (students and parents), game designers and researchers to work collectively and relevantly towards this mission. To do this, the network must be composed of people having diverse but complementary expertise, experiences and concerns regarding music education, to be able to develop innovative new games that will be well adapted to the needs coming from the field and that can contribute positively to the musical and personal development of youth. This is exactly what the Université des jeux(nes) musiciens, a living laboratory based on learning music through play, is actually putting in place. This communication aims to present the actions and decisions that were taken collectively to structure and operationalize this international network. The key elements presented could inspire other areas of expertise that wish to create their own international network.

Andrew Easton, Personalized Learning Coordinator | Westside Community Schools Alternate-Reality Game Units for Immersive Learning Immersive game units strive to create an alternate reality environment in the classroom to facilitate a game-based learning opportunity. In immersive game units, learners take part in a game narrative/scenario that extends the content/standards into a new classroom reality that forces learners to problem solve, face ethical dilemmas, and confront learning objectives through first-hand experiences. We will explore the educational benefits of this style of pedagogy along with answering a set of reflective questions that should drive the design process. These goals will be supported by classroom-tested examples from core subject areas of English, Social Studies and Math. Attendees will learn how to create an outline/storyboard for the narrative driving their alternate reality game. To complement this goal, attendees will be provided with six driving questions that should shape the game design and learner’s experience during the game itself. These objectives will both be met and solidified for attendees through the sharing of examples that will not only spark creativity and innovation by helping attendees envision what these alternate reality games look like in a classroom but also deconstruct those examples to highlight how different content areas can apply these principles to a game.

Claudia-Santi Fernandes, Associate Research Scientist | play2PREVENT Lab, Yale Center for Health & Learning Games | Schell Games and John Joy, Advanced Producer | Schell Games Practice What You Preach: Strategies for a Positive Environment Funded by the Chan Zuckerberg Initiative, the play2PREVENT Lab, Schell Games, and the Yale Center for Emotional Intelligence teamed up to develop a tool to measure school climate that was also a game empowering teens to take action and improve their school climate. Relatable stories throughout this digital experience allowed teens to navigate dilemmas in one’s school climate as well as strategize ways to address and make it better. Research shows that a positive school climate has a huge impact on the ability for a student to learn and achieve success. As our teams built out this digital experience, it was equally important for us to practice the many strategies within our process. Can we take the same strategies and concepts to foster a positive working environment that acknowledges our differences and challenges, but sets the lens on bringing out the best in our own unique dynamic? In essence, can we practice what we preach?

Manuela Ferrari, Researcher | Douglas Mental Health Univ Institute Design for Understanding: An Anti-Stigma Toolkit for Video Games Panelists: Sarah V. McIlwaine | Department of Psychiatry, McGill Univ Gerald Jordan | Yale Univ Program for Recovery & Community Health Jai L Shah | Dept of Psychiatry, McGill Univ Shalini Lal, OT | School of Rehabilitation, Univ of Montreal Srividya N Iyer | Dept of Psychiatry, McGill Univ Each year, more than 100 games are created and sold portraying content related to mental illness. In a recent review of representations of mental illness within video games (VG), we found that persons with mental illness are violent, scary, fearful, in need of containment and separation from society, and have little hope for recovery. This talk will present an ‘anti-stigma toolkit’ for serious VG developers and the entertainment VG industries to promote alternative messages about mental illness.  This toolkit for VG offers both a VG development tool and a checklist that can help assess in-production/produced games. Adapting the game development life cycle model, the anti-stigma toolkit for VG is based on:

  • Conception and pre-production (i.e. how to ethically portray mental illness in VG; and how messages addressing stigma can be deployed into game elements and learning, while also engaging the user);
  • Production (i.e. how to involve people with mental illnesses and experts in game production;
  • Test (i.e. how to bring diverse experiences into Alpha/Beta testing); and
  • Post-production (i.e. how to promote the game using stigma-free language and messages). The anti-stigma checklist is a list of questions that VG developers can use to assess whether VGs contain potentially stigmatizing messages about mental illnesses.

Elin Festøy, Creative Producer / Research Fellow | Teknopilot AS, Norway Understanding Prejudice Through Interaction – The Case of My Child Lebensborn The mobile game My Child Lebensborntells the true story of abuse and bullying towards the children born with enemy soldiers as fathers during World War II. In a Tamagotchi-inspired format, the player is challenged to protect and nurture an adopted child and coping with events based on the experiences of the Lebensborn children in post-war Norway. Creative producer Elin Festøy presents the project and its broader transmedia strategy, how the game, a documentary, a school version and a campaign is used to create attention for Children Born of War – children born of enemy soldiers and local women during armed conflict. She demonstrates how she builds on the emotional interaction of the mobile game in her current VR-based artistic research project at The Norwegian Film School, aiming utilize interaction to create ethical reflection on the mechanics of prejudice and hatred. The game has been played by over one million people the world over since the launch in May 2018, has an AppStore rating of 4.8 and was listed among the best games of 2018 by The New Yorker and Polygon.

John Findlay, Founder & CEO | Launchfire Gamification vs. Game-based – Why One Works and One Doesn’t Gamification has been touted as the cure-all for even the most mundane experiences. The truth is though, Leaderboards and badges won’t breathe new life into boring experiences. The experiences themselves have to be changed. The experience is the game. In this session we’ll contrast some gamified corporate marketing and employee training experiences with ones that take a game-based approach to understand the difference and why one works and one doesn’t!

Samer Forzley, CEO | Simutech Multimedia Digitally Developing the Next Generation of Manufacturers with Gamification and 3D Simulation Factories are becoming smarter and plants are increasingly employing advanced automation to digitally transform their operations. However, this evolution has caused a gap in available workers to fill the jobs needed. At the same time, Baby Boomers, who staffed the manufacturing workforce for generations, are retiring in droves and taking with them vital institutional knowledge. Welcome to the double skills gap. In addition, Gen Zers will soon be working at a factory near you. They are different from every other generation before them. The skills chasm between them and the retiring Boomers is extreme. If you have not figured out the Millennials yet, time to cut bait and focus on this crew. They are determined and eager to learn, except they work and learn differently. From emojis to VR, this new generation of employees is ready to disrupt the work place. Objectives: Attendees will learn about the double skills gap in manufacturing, why it is happening and what they can do about it. Attendees will learn why they should consider transforming how they hire, train and keep their workers by using digital tools, such as 3D simulation and gamification. Attendees will learn that workforce development of the new generation requires a cultural shift and not just new tools. The speaker will do an interactive presentation using people’s phones as well as a demo of the 3D simulation.

David Gagnon, Director, Field Day Lab | University of Wisconsin – Madison Using Co-Design and Data-Driven Design to Produce Effective Educational Games on a Shoestring Budget This session will help participants who want to build an educational game understand how co-designing with their target audience and leveraging data during design will help them reliably create low-cost high-efficacy learning games. The session will oscillate between describing the process, telling stories from the trenches and hands-on play of games and prototypes as they existed at various stages. By the end of the session, participants will see the results of two specific methods used in our studio and be able to leverage them in their own projects.

George Ghanotakis, Director | International Center of Education for Philosophy & Citizenship (Institut Philos CIEPC) WORKSHOP: Designing Classroom Games to Foster 21st Century Competencies Participants will have an importunity to play the game in both its pictorial and  oral dialogue versions and learn from this designer’s experience in implementing serious play across the curriculum  how to adapt the game at several levels of challenge from K-12 with practical advice, tips and lessons learned in addressing teachers’ questions  and challenges in optimizing learning and tracking progress. This interactive workshop will engage participants in assessing how one can teach through a game-based learning pedagogy the required 21st century competencies K-12, in congruence with international frameworks. Focus will be on the six essential competencies (6 Cs) identified by Fullan and Scott (2014): character (growth mindsets), citizenship, communication, critical thinking, creativity and collaboration. The challenges that teachers face and ways that these competencies impact on skills transformation in the areas of knowledge, dispositions, belief, behavior and relationships will be shown through the example of game-based inquiries presently used across the curriculum in several school boards around the world.

Michelle Goodridge, Liaison Librarian, Game Design and Development | Wilfrid Laurier University Creating and Assessing the Pedagogical Benefit of In-Class Game Simulations This session will discuss the approach we took to design and objectively assess the pedagogical effectiveness of a simulation we developed called the Human Rights Foreign Policy Game (HRFPG). This game was designed for a first-year introductory course in Human Rights and was used to get students thinking about why a nation may choose to act in a pro or anti human rights manner. Assessment involved a pretest / post-test design that relied heavily upon open-ended questions. Analysis of the resulting data facilitated an objective assessment that the HRFPG was contributing to student learning related to the game’s pedagogical objectives. This objective assessment also informed consideration of whether student learning was impeded by the HRFPG’s nature as a competitive game and helped to rationalize its continued use in the classroom.

Laurent Gosselin, Program Coordinator in Multimedia | Collège de Bois-de-Boulogne Serious Games in Pediatric Rehabilitation: A Journey to Practical Design In a pediatric rehabilitation intervention, a serious game can be a powerful tool to enhance clinical interventions by providing safe practice, automatic user performance documentation and motivate players in the process… While a serious a game seems like the perfect solution to assist rehabilitation specialists, they can be hard to design to be implemented in clinical context for multiple reasons: the need for adaptive design, the level of realism of the experience, the perception of the clinicians, the resources needed to use them. In this presentation the speaker will present the best design practice, share some of the wisdom acquired from the last four years of design and development of Star Kart, a serious game created to assist clinicians and parents in pediatric rehabilitation of children with mobility limitations.

Anaëlle Gravier, Student in Communication & Video Games | Université du Québec à Montréal (UQÀM) Using Cooperative Videogames to Facilitate Communication for Children with ASD Alongside the idea of creating serious games with an educational purpose, we have the notion of serious gaming, or serious play, the use of a commercial game with an entertainment purpose in a serious way. For this exploratory study, we made an empirical research in order to see if using cooperatives games can lead to an easier way to communicate for children with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) during the game session. We also took into account the important role of the accompanier during these sessions. We then tried to link the communication of these children to two important game components: interface and gameplay. We decided to offer three different types of cooperative gaming experiences via Rayman Origins(Wii), Kinect Adventures’s River Rush(Xbox 360), and Trekho, a game created by us, a group of people in game studies. ASD children can experiment three different types of interface and gameplay, allowing them to see what they like and don’t like. This way, the researcher can also observe what elements can lead the children to exchange and communicate. During this Serious Play conference, we will present our results and make some hypotheses about this use of cooperative video games with ASD children.

Alex Gray, Technical Director | Nanomonx Inc. Classroom-Focused Design: Centering Students AND Teachers Educational games and other EdTech can sometimes have a complicated relationship with teachers. Teachers are every classroom’s most important, versatile… and expensive resource. There might be many reasons to leave the teacher out of a game’s design. Charitably, classroom games could free teachers’ time to focus on other tasks, such as help struggling students. More cynically, a greater reliance on edtech could allow fewer teachers to teach greater numbers of students more easily. At Nanomonx, our design philosophy is that classroom educational tools have two users, teacher and student. It can be a difficult / challenging process to accommodate the very disparate needs and abilities of these two different groups, though the potential upside of it is immense. In this talk, the logic behind this design philosophy, its benefits, as well as its challenges will be examined. Takeaways: Attendees will come away understanding the benefits of classroom-centric design, as well as some of the potential pitfalls and challenges associated with it.

Alina Grenier-Arellano, Co-Founder & President and Thania Arellano, Game Architect & Co-Founder | Rapids Inc. Learning Agency Through Play Social interaction and human contact are a vital part of creating a community that supports each other’s growth, learning, development and mental health. Compassionate conversation is where we need to make eye contact, interpret gestures, and express ourselves in a safe environment. Compassionate conversation is what can bring us to the process of regaining our senses, expressing ourselves, and give meaning of our experiences. Our research with Alegoriahas shown guidelines that set up an environment where this process is possible in a play setting. We will share how learning indirectly through play and open-ended questions that guide participants in and out of themselves and create a flow. One of today’s greatest challenges in mental health, is bringing people out of isolation, and empowering them to connect with others. Games are a non-threatening way of doing so and we want to discuss how it can be done. Our workshop is all about human interaction, but the most important aspect is to be able to connect with ourselves. When we are able to check in and be present with awareness, then we can be present in the company of others as well as for others. Thus, human contact is a process of breaking and making contact. To bring this point forward, we will include an exercise to bring attention to the felt sense. We will encourage participants to describe sensations, feelings, and emotions very specifically – to paint their feelings with words. And, while owning their experience, to react to what others express. This will slow down the rhythm of the interactions, which will allow the time for participants to attach the meaning of the experience. All this is done while respecting each person’s boundaries. This is a nervous system regulation technique. It is playful in its ability to inspire curiosity and to explore the felt sense.

Lorin Grieve, GameMaster, Instructor and Ravi Patel, PharmD, Innovation Advisor | School of Pharmacy, University of Pittsburgh Learning from Iteration of a Serious Game for Drug Development Drug Discovery and Development is complicated process. The work and the money invested in the process is easy to miss when delivered via traditional didactic means.  This prompted the creation of RxPedition, is a serious game designed to teach pharmacy students about the process of bringing a drug candidate to market through company formations, clinical trial simulation, organic controversy management, and a mock Food and Drug Administration board. Come learn how, through multiple iterations of this serious game, to address student games of “academic chicken”, incorporating 21st Century Skills (creativity, communication, collaboration, critical thinking), and challenges with assessment methods for serious games.

Michel Groulx, Producer, Multimedia & Exhibitions and Caroline Julien, President & Founder | CREO Reinventing Public Spaces and Exhibitions In order to recruit and retain an increasingly demanding public, museums, science centers, libraries and other public institutions are relying on a new tool: serious gaming. In these places accessible to all, digital productions leave the traditional interface to be freely deployed in space. This revolution has three visible impacts. First, we see that technological supports – screens, wires, keyboards – are disappearing in favor of immersive, sensitive and emotional experiences where the entire body of the user or visitor acts like a mouse or cursor. Secondly, the emergence of serious games in cultural institutions makes it possible to provide visitors with interactive experiences that are difficult, if not impossible, to create by other means: learning to fish with a harpoon, unloading a container ship in a large port, initiating the Big Bang. Third, an ever-growing number of museums use the gamification of an entire exhibition to fully engage participants and make their visitor experience memorable. During this presentation, two specialists in the pedagogy of serious games and the design of interactive exhibitions will present the most recent approaches to the gamification of public spaces. The discussion with participants will aim to identify the most promising future trends.

Lili Guyat-Michel, Kid Game Designer| The Mysterious Cartable | France and Hélène Michel | Grenoble Ecole de Management, France How to Transform the School Backpack into…an Escape Game! Lili is French dynamic girl. She is 9 years old and in fourth grade. She likes to read stories and play games like escape rooms. She also likes to imagine games. She thinks that we can make a lot of fun things by playing. What she doesn’t like is doing her homework. So, she decided to turn the homework into a game, and she turned her backpack into an escape game. It’s the Mysterious Cartable (Cartable means schoolbag in French): the only escape game in a school backpack! Lili first designed a prototype, tested it on more than 20 users and improve it. Then she made all the teachers and kids play at school during weeks. It gave her other ideas for new Mysterious Cartables. To do so, she needed more pens, glue, scissors, diary, ruler, etc. So, she met a company doing school supplies (MAPED). They loved the game and decided to sponsor her to design a collection. Then she submitted her project to a serious escape game competition in order to gather expert feedback. She won a “special award”. Then she was offered to do an online fundraising campaign to support her project. It will start in February. She will launch an association: The Mysterious Cartable with a website and tutors to help other kids and teachers develop their own games. She was invited to speak to encourage young girls launching ambitious project in Paris major incubator. During a session Lili will explain how she launched her project (5 minutes), make participants test the game (30 minutes), and detail how they can create their own escape game in a schoolbag for K12 education (10 minutes) More: (The website and games will be translated into English by next summer). The session should be maximum 45 minutes for Lili. 30 minutes of test and 15 minutes of discussion. Her Mom, Hélène Michel, will support her doing this.

Kimberly Hieftje, Director | play4REAL Lab, Yale Center for Health & Learning Games and Bernard François | Preview Labs, Inc (developer of smokescreen VR) A Virtual Reality Videogame Intervention for JUUL/e-cigarette Prevention in Teens Sponsored by Oculus and developed in partnership with PreviewLabs, Inc, the play4REAL Lab at Yale created smokeSCREEN VR– a virtual reality videogame intervention focused on JUUL/E-cigarette prevention in teens. In the game, the player must navigate different types of peer pressure, including the pressure to vape (specifically JUUL) in various social situations. smokeSCREEN VRuses voice recognition software, which allows the player to practice refusing peers in real time. Session Attendees will:

  • Experience a demonstration of the smokeSCREEN VRvideogame intervention
  • Gain insight into the methods used to develop and evaluate a health prevention VR intervention
  • Learn about pilot-study findings and next steps for a randomized controlled trial with 230 teens
  • Explore how VR was leveraged to create the feeling of social pressure within the game
  • Gain insight into how voice recognition software can be used to create a space for teens to practice refusal skills
  • Explore how VR can be leveraged to help build other important skills essential for behavior change

With promising findings from a feasibility pilot study conducted in the fall of 2018, the play4REAL will embark on conducting a randomized controlled trial with 230 teens in 2019-2020 to evaluate the efficacy of the intervention.

Dov Jacobson, CEO | Games that Work Win the Boss Fight: Getting Management Support for Your Serious Game The toughest level of your game is getting it to greenlight. You might emphasize modest goals (“It’s only an experiment.”)  But thinking small can be a losing strategy. We’ll review a few recent case histories of bottom-up game projects that began with limited goals and limited support. Strategic thinking revealed how the game could advance larger corporate objectives, and earn more enthusiasm Then let’s discuss your project: How will you win your boss fight?

Dov Jacobson, CEO | Games that Work Growing with Boeing This case history illustrates collaboration between a giant corporate learning division and a small game studio. Join our discussion to study the roles and rules of engagement that can achieve corporate goals without stifling creative energy. Step, by step, we will walk through a lively process of discovery and testing, designing and building and proving a game that fits in an existing real-world system of learning.  Take home tools that apply to your own projects.

Jennifer Javornik, VP of Sales | Filament Games So, You Want to Make an Educational Game? Drawing on lessons learned from facilitating the development of more than 200 games alongside partners like Scholastic, McGraw-Hill, National Geographic, Jennifer’s presentation will provide an in-depth look at the process of working with an educational/serious game developer, offering actionable insights and strategies to help organizations maximize their chances of successfully securing GameDev services and achieving their organizational goals through the creation of learning and serious game products.

Thierry Karsenti, Professor, Canada Research Chairs on Technology & Education and Simon Parent | both University of Montreal Learn to Use Minecraft at School: Ideas for Beginners and Advanced Users This presentation is about using Minecraft at school, both to teach parts of the curriculum and coding. To help teachers use Minecraft to teach parts of the curriculum, we developed a program called Minecraft Master where students have to complete 60 tasks divided into 20 levels, with 3 tasks per level. Each completed level was considered a milestone, and each milestone earned the student a badge. These served not only as progress indicators, but also as encouragement when students were stumped or unmotivated. This provided a concrete recognition of achievement and allowed the students to mark their progress and develop feelings of self-worth. The students also had two guides to help them explore the game and advance through the levels (both available during our session). With the help of the guide, the students could work on their own or with their classmates to deal with situations and solve problems, all related to the school curriculum. We also developed an extended version of this program where kids learned to code using Minecraft MakeCode in a fun, engaging way with interesting projects (related to the school curriculum), immediate results, and both block and text editors for learners at different levels.

Fares Kayali, Professor of Digital Education and Learning | University of Vienna, Austria Playful Digital Musical Instruments in STEAM Education This presentation reports on the interdisciplinary project “Sparkling Instruments,” which deals with the technical development, as well as playful design and use of digital musical instruments in secondary schools. In a series of workshops with musicians, game designers and music technology experts three groups of secondary school students designed and created their own digital musical instruments. The instruments are then presented to the school community and to the public in a musical performance. The aim is to bridge the gap between art and technology. Two goals are involved: to improve students’ understanding of new forms of music-making, and to increase interest in STEM subjects such as computer science and physics, both of which are relevant to the construction of digital musical instruments. The presentation discusses the project as a form of STEAM education and outlines the implementation in the form of a series of workshops in school. It further gives tangible insights into the tools used with students, a custom-created circuit board for creating the digital musical instruments and an online simulator. The presentation closes with a reflection of the project from the perspectives of students, teachers and project members. Attendees will experience parts of the playful musical performances students created using individual, custom-created digital music instruments they built as part of the Sparkling Instruments project. The speaker will use an audience response tool, e.g., Menti, to collect audience feedback on the musical performances and on potential learning effects across STEAM subjects.

Jim Kiggens, Director, Engaged Learning Technologies | Adtalem Global Education Immersive Learning Experience Design (ILXD) Since March, 2016, the Engaged Learning Technologies (ELT) team in the Innovation Center of Excellence at Adtalem Global Education has been using the ILXD model to develop immersive learning experiences (VR/AI) for the 225,000+ learners in Adtalem’s eight institutions of higher education and professional education across the globe. The ILXD model incorporates tools to leverage VR/AI to improve flow and foster empathy, methods to promote sensemaking and constructivism, and analytic processes for measuring learning outcomes. The ILXD design model can be used immediately by experienced developers improve learning outcomes in VR/AI, while providing a framework that novice developers can use to inform and structure their research and training to improve their skills and literacy regarding immersive learning. Workshop attendees receive access to a dedicated VR/AI experience that demonstrates each of the tools and processes in the model.  Additionally, attendees also receive access to an online course that provides additional resources, references, and connects developers in a learning community regarding the model. The workshop is Intended for key stakeholders in designing and developing immersive learning for higher education. Previous experience with VR/AI is not required, but experience in learning design and delivery is strongly recommended. In this workshop, attendees experience using the Immersive Learning Experience Design (ILXD) design model first-hand by playing the ILXD Alchemy board game that was developed to introduce the model in a conference setting and timeframe.

Marci Klein, MD, Co-founder | 3DuxDesign Design Thinking, Architecture and Urban Planning for a Sustainable Future The speaker will run through a sample program that is used in the classroom. Attendees will experience how a fun and engaging hands-on activity blends art, creativity and design thinking with STEM fundamentals. Students learn geometry and engineering concepts through hands on play-based learning exercises. The speaker will also discuss my varied experiences as a community pediatrician, parent and educator as we explore how these hands-on group exercises can help children develop both empathy and self-confidence. Imagine, design and build the Sustainable City of the Future. Be on the team of engineers, architects and design thinkers as we brainstorm issues with today’s communities and use this discussion as a platform to reimagine and recreate the Next Generation Utopian Community. We will use cardboard modeling and a variety of other recycled materials for this hands-on exploration of what tomorrow’s city might be. This open-ended program may focus on anything from sustainable solutions, new co-working and co-living developments, new forms of transportation to intergalactic settlements.

John Kolm, CEO | Team Results USA and Dr. Leslie Gruis, career intelligence officer The Viking Chicken, or Why Linear Game Designs Don’t Work If your goal is to design a good serious game, it’s essential to start with the right mathematical ideas. A game that models the world into linear decisions, no matter how well facilitated or how beautifully implemented in any medium, is doomed to very limited use in the real world. This talk will address nonlinear dynamics, how this has completely changed every field from psychology to economics in the last ten years, and how you can catch the wave to design games for the modern era. Presenter John Kolm is a best-selling author and practitioner in practical workplace dynamics, has a background in psychology and math, and will equip you with some simple rules and ideas to design tomorrow’s games. Co-presenter Dr. Leslie Gruis will address the privacy issues.

Joseph Lee, IT Technical Director and Jane Eisenstein Sr., Application Developer | The Wharton School, Univ. of Pennsylvania Simpl framework, big impact! Drawing upon decades of simulation and higher education experience, the Alfred West Jr. Learning Lab at the Wharton School set out to create its own in-house developed simulation platform to accelerate our simulation delivery capabilities. However, what began as a white boarding session two years ago, morphed into the first of its kind open source simulation platform. Simpl will not only fuel the next generation of simulations written at the Wharton School, but it is our hope it will serve the foundation for countless other simulations at other schools around the world. The speakers will discuss how they support simulations at the Learning Lab, how we developed Simpl (and why), our design philosophy, how others can start using Simpl, and lastly, we’ll show an example of our first Simpl simulation.

Rosemary Lokhorst, Game Producer | Shadow’s Edge, Switzerland Can Mobile Gaming Revolutionize How We Treat Chronically Ill Teens? Mobile games are ubiquitous among teenagers. With this pervasive mobile gaming scene, we wondered, can a game be used to improve players’ emotional health? More and more, young people struggle with chronic illnesses, disabilities or depression. Medically they’re being treated more effectively than ever, but their emotional support systems often lag behind. This presentation explains our work with psychologists and adolescent experts in creating a mobile game to build resilience, along with the results of the study we conducted. We’ll touch on the year-long process of testing with adolescents that have serious illnesses and how their experiences influenced the design and mechanics of the game. Further, we will touch on how difficult it is to bring a game like this to market – not just to adolescents with serious illnesses, but to their support environment. This includes discussing the challenges and opportunities of choosing a nonprofit model for our project. The audience will take away the importance of research in the serious gaming space, the importance of working with your audience as early as possible when designing a serious game, and how research and input from specialists and audiences can be organized and set up, even on a smaller budget.

Marc-André Maheu-Cadotte, PhD Candidate, Research Assistant | University of Montreal, Montreal Heart Institute, CHUM Research Center Differentiating Serious Games from Virtual Simulations in Healthcare Education Serious games (SG) and virtual simulations (VS) are digital training methods that have emerged during the last decade in healthcare education. Both training methods involve immersive visual presentations and high levels of interactivity. However, components that distinguish SG from VS are not clearly defined. In fact, a recent systematic review showed that most SG were based on theoretical underpinnings from the VS literature, while only 10% of SG were based on gaming theories. To identify characteristic components of SG in healthcare education, we reviewed definitions and conceptual models of SG from the gaming literature. We identified characteristic components of SG and processes by which they are expected to induce learning. This presentation will summarize the results from this review and clarify theoretical underpinnings of SG. This presentation will provide guidance and practical advice to SG developers, and conceptual clarity for both educators and researchers interested in teaching with SGs. Co-authors of this presentation (not co-presenters): Sylvie Cossette, RN, PhD University of Montreal, Montreal Heart Institute Research Center Véronique Dubé, RN, PhD University of Montreal, CHUM Research Center Guillaume Fontaine, RN, MSc, PhD(c) University of Montreal, Montreal Heart Institute Research Center Marie-France Deschênes, RN, MSc, PhD(c) University of Montreal, Center for Innovation in Nursing Education Tanya Mailhot, RN, PhD Bouvé College of Health Sciences, Montreal Heart Institute Research Center Patrick Lavoie, RN, PhD University of Montreal, Montreal Heart Institute Research Center, Center for Innovation in Nursing Education

Astrid-Patricia Marin-Jimenez, PhD student | Laval University The Journey to Co-Create Music Learning Games with Young Students When students PLAY (good) learning games, they can obtain multiple cognitive, learning and motivational benefits. However, when students MAKE their own learning games, greater opportunities arise. Several academic disciplines have studied game co-creation showing positive outcomes on students’ creativity, learning, critical thinking and engagement. However, this approach has hardly been scientifically studied in the field of instrumental music pedagogy, a discipline where students often face disengagement. This session aims to present two pedagogic experiences based on the co-creation of music learning games realized during two summer camps with young music students (10–12 years). Participants managed to co-create and test analogic and digital music learning games to improve ear training, note value and music genre recognition. Some positive observations were found (ex. reinforcement of musical knowledge, leveraging of individual artistic strengths, collaboration, sense of competence, etc.) However, this communication also presents the learning environment created to achieve game co-creation, the activities’ structure, and the teacher’s role in each phase of the process. Briefly, the session will provide a guide for educators that would like to incorporate game co-creation to their classes and encourage practitioners and researchers from other domains to try and adapt this pedagogical approach to their field.

Claire Masson, Learning Innovation & Impact Team and Ian Shakeshaft, Learning Designer | Financial Times, IE Business School: Corporate Learning Alliance, United Kingdom Minimum Resources for Maximum Learning in Two-Player VR Game Our two-player Virtual Reality game is deployed globally, in English and Spanish speaking markets. Its applicable in Leadership, Innovation and Digital Disruption courses. We explain how we stretched a limited budget for maximum learning impact. We co-developed one serious game to cover five learning objectives for corporate education: communicating under pressure, improving empathy skills, dealing with the unknown, recovering from failure, and negotiating with others. We explain how we juggled financial and business constraints. We give tips on how to build the best partnership with your VR vendor. We discuss how to market to internal stakeholders. We demonstrate how to support your facilitators who will deploy your game independently. Finally, we discuss how we applied lessons learned from previous Serious Play conferences. — We have 50+ pages of notes per conference. It is our intent to help others succeed in their first serious game effort. Beginners in Serious Game VR will learn:

  1. How one game can be applied in varied cultures and contexts
  2. How to market your game internally and externally
  3. How to build a solid partnership with your VR vendor
  4. How to make a small budget go a long way

Jenn McNamara, Vice President | BreakAway Games Client-Centered Serious Game Design Serious game developers must consider client needs and constraints. To most, it is obvious that the end users’ desired training, behavior change, assessment, or experience outcomes shape the focus of the game. But the client organization’s funding, IT infrastructure, data needs, and personnel impact design as much, if not more, than end users’ needs. This session will share experiences where these factors significantly impacted game design and make recommendations for identifying and addressing these needs early in the design process.

Jenn McNamara, Vice President | BreakAway Games Panel: Best Practices for Healthcare Games Panelists: Doug Whatley, Founder & CEO | BreakAway Games Peter Smith, Asst Prof | UCF Cynthia Sanner, Director of eLearning Strategy, Clinical Solutions Division | Elsevier Meagan French, Manager of Customer Strategy & Engagement | Second Avenue Learning The use of games as tools for improving health is becoming an increasingly common practice. By the general public, games are used to support healthy lifestyle and fitness adoption, and for medical professional coordinated or personal management of illness, chronic medical conditions, and wellness. By medical institutions, educational institutions, credentialing boards, and individuals, games are used to educate, train, and assess healthcare professionals’ skills. This panel will explore best practices in healthcare games from a variety of perspectives with representatives who have been involved in creating games for different health applications, user populations, and customers. The panelists will respond to questions related to their experiences creating and bringing healthcare games to market. Additionally, the panel and attendees will discuss how games fit in healthcare as well as how best to get games to end users.

Julien Mercier, Full Professor, Director and Kathleen Whissel Turner and Ariane Paradies and Ivan Luciano Avaca | NeuroLab – Université du Québec à Montréal What about detecting affective and cognitive correlates of learning as they occur, during an episode of play with a serious game? The impact of serious games on learning can be explained at least in part from how these games engage affective and cognitive mechanisms towards learning. Usually, this impact is examined through self-report measures, in which leaners have to report their experience. But what if most of the affective and cognitive experience cannot be brought to consciousness, but, fortunately, could be inferred by investigating the neural functioning of the player? This presentation is about the analysis of 35 players and shows how psychophysiological proxies of affect and cognition can predict learning gains from gameplay with a serious game aimed at learning Newtonian physics. The proxies are inferred from electroencephalography and electrodermal activity and crossed with other online measures during gameplay such as eye-tracking and performance. The following discussion will concern concrete considerations such as the necessary equipment, streamlining data analysis in industrial contexts, as well as setting up interdisciplinary teams to get the most of this approach.

Hélène Michel, Professor, Gamification & Innovation | Grenoble Ecole de Management, France Citizen Science & Game: The Gamification of Medical Research Platforms Gamification opens the innovation process to non-expert individuals. Would you like to help science improve the life of millions of people? Certainly so! Consider modern biology; one of the biggest challenges is to better understand the functioning of proteins to improve targeting with medications. Research on the subject is complex and expensive. Would you feel like being part of it? In 2011, an American foundation funded the creation of an online game about protein folding: Foldit. No expertise was needed to participate. In 3 weeks, 50,000 people took part in the game and helped discover a new folding protocol. Can we generalize this approach? Several medical research labs have opened online platforms, such as U-Care in Sweden or COMPARE in France, investigating how to involve patients in the process using gamification. The talk will identify the key challenges of gamification for innovation, detail the case of medical research and give examples of original initiatives.

Kevin Miklasz, VP, Data & Prototyping | BrainPOP GGJ NEXT: Exploring a Global Game Jam Model for Youth The Global Game Jam® (GGJ) is the world’s largest game jam, taking place annually since 2009. GGJ NEXT®, is GGJ’s a new jamming model for fostering youth engagement in 21st century skills using game jams. This session discusses the historical background and need, our approach to curriculum development, event organization, and lessons learned from the inaugural GGJ NEXT. We will also discuss how we adapted plans for year two based on feedback. GGJ NEXT aims to provide an educational framework for youth by providing educators with quick video “how to” pearls so that they can bring simple concepts into any classroom, no matter the educator experience level with games. GGJ NEXT’s goal is to create a comprehensive framework aimed at educators, with efficient volunteer content generation and distribution system. Our talk will share the successes and pitfalls from year one, where we had 39 hosted events in 20 countries with over 800 youth. Lessons learned are generally applicable to any program looking to scale efforts while keeping deep and meaningful learning at the core of that scale. Additional Notes: We want participants to experience some of the resources we have to offer and spent much time developing with volunteers. So, we will go through one of the components of the curriculum. We will show the video on Getting Past Candyland Mechanics, which offers advice on avoiding common design pitfalls in an analog game jam.  After that, we’ll discuss a corresponding activity called Verbing away from Candyland with the audience, simulating how this helps students move away from a Candyland-style game by focusing on a verb, or mechanic. Participants will get a chance to not only design a game prototype in the session, but they will also experience a small component of our curriculum in action. Finally, we will explain opportunities for participants to get involved in future years of GGJ NEXT.

Kevin Miklasz, VP, Data & Prototyping | BrainPOP WORKSHOP: Immersive Theater as a Playful Format for Educational VR In this highly interactive workshop, attendees will be able to not only experience a playful, educational VR activity, but they will also learn about our design process and choices that allowed us to craft a valuable but accessible VR experience, as well as hear about some results from our user testing with classroom teachers so far. The online VR experience uses the format of immersive theater to create a richly detailed scene filled with multiple interactions and storylines. This experience leads to all participants having distributed information about the system (a game principle described by James Gee) which provides the context for authentic collaboration through sharing information in a group discussion. Our design approach grew from two ideas: first, that the content must be educational at its core. Second, that if you are going to give someone control of the camera, then you should make sure everywhere they point the camera is interesting and useful (or educational). This is similar to the transition between traditional theater (one fixed viewpoint determined by the director) and immersive theater (ability to walk around and explore multiple viewpoints). We embodied this in transitioning from BrainPOP’s popular movie-based content to a fully explorable 3D world. Additional Notes: Attendees will be able to experience a new approach to engaging elementary and middle students in science investigation skills using VR. BrainPOP has built a VR experience using the CoSpacesEDU platform that allows middle school students to engage in evidence gathering and scientific argumentation through a hybrid online and offline group experience. Participants will be able to actively experience this new model offered by BrainPOP. After hearing about our design approach, attendees will form groups and play the role of students. They will be given an open-ended question to investigate, and then enter the VR experience (using a free app on their phones and Google Cardboards that we will provide). Next, they will turn to each other in groups and discuss their findings, sharing evidence and forming hypotheses. They will then enter the experience a second time to test those hypotheses. Finally they will discuss one last time and reach an answer as a group. We hope this active experience in a very accessible VR activity will prompt a lively discussion about the affordances of VR, both as a media platform and as an educational tool, during a time where the value of VR has yet to be proven.

Allal Mokeddem, Assoc. Professor | Univ. of Algiers 3, Algeria Healthcare, Training with Simulations, Games and Virtual Reality In a critical medical environment, knowledge is the resource for effective decision-making. Our presentation is divided into several parts. Firstly, the state of the medical facilities provided, and the conditions of care gathered are presented in photos, pictures. Also, doctors’ comments on the situation of emergency services will be presented. The second stage of presentation is based on the anticipated benefits of using serious games in dealing with an emergency case. This is through the transfer of best practices in different form of video care, the procedure of care based on the game, the reaction of patients who follow a procedure of emergency care based on games compared to traditional training methods.

Alexander Montoya, Master Student in Mathematics and Juliane Bertrand | UQÀM Working Toward Instructions Comprehensibility in a Mathematical Game In the process to create a game, an important first step is to think about the clarity of instructions. This is particularly necessary when the game object is mathematics, because many words have a specific definition in this field. For example, Duval (1995, 2006) gave a specific use to the term “representation” because a mathematical object can be observed only through partial representations. Consequently, the utilization of the verb “to represent” in another sense in a question about a mathematical function can create a cognitive conflict. In the same spirit, the idea of “increase or decrease speed” can generate an iconic translation when representing graphically a function (Monk, 1992). In our presentation, we hope to put the participants in an interactive simulation to show some examples of instructions which have generated such conflict to help prevent their use when designing a mathematical game.

Naomi Mwasambili, CEO and Megan Charles, COO & Co-founder | Chanua | United Kingdom Neuro Champions: Using Games to Improve Children and Adolescents’ Mental Health How many of you learnt about your brain when you were at school? With 50% of mental health problems established by the age of 14, we believe that learning about your brain and development can help prevent the negative impacts of mental ill health, and build up skills, knowledge and the confidence to provide peer-based support. Integrating neuroscience education, play, technology and psychological models of support, we created the Neuro Champions program. This session will describe the Neuro Champions methodology, demonstrate game elements and share findings from our evaluation study. The session will give attendees an: Understanding of psychological approaches in mental health care and an understanding of the development process of creating a integrated game and psychology intervention. They will learn from some of the mistakes and things that went wrong during the process.  And learning about their brain and how to start conversations about mental health and the brain in a fun way.  Other learnings: The importance of using gamification in healthcare interventions. How to create a game with a small budget. New potential collaborators.

Pascal Nataf, CEO of Affordance Studio | Université de Montréal (UdeM) An Escape-the-Room Game to Learn Office 365 Integrating videos games into professional development for corporations has many opportunities and obstacles. Attendees of this presentation will follow the development and rollout of Ants, an alternate-reality puzzle game which teaches corporate employees how to work remotely using Office 365 tools. Ants blurs the boundaries between fiction and the real world so that employees have to save their Anthill and the Queen Ant from catastrophe by solving puzzles as a team using Word documents, Sharepoint sites, Delve profiles and more. The presenter will walk through the different takeaways from this experience including the best practices for integrating a video game into corporate professional development. Participants will build teams and play together on laptops while I am speaking about the game.

Valary Oleinik, Project Manager | Weil, Gotshal & Manges, LLP 4 Cs to an A+ Learning Experience: A Design Sprint By working within time and resource constraints, people are put into a situation in which overthinking isn’t possible. Given a clear goal, participants will be amazed at how much can get done when they work together in a hyper-focused environment. The sprint also really focuses on creativity and getting people to experiment. Creativity is cited as a key soft skill needed by employers, and yet many people feel a lack of creative confidence. The entire workshop is interactive and gamified. After being given the necessary background information about the scenario they will be addressing and the limitations they must work within, groups will spend time designing, getting feedback, and iterating. The name of the session comes from the fact that each team has a set of concept cards with words starting with the letter C, such as: Collaboration, Currency, Choice, Challenge, and Characters. At the end of the design period, each group will present their proposals, and everyone will vote to select the best option. Participants will receive copies of all materials used with in the sprint, the case study, and other relevant handouts and resources. Among the handouts is the framework used for the design sprint which they can repurpose for other design projects or use as the basis of running their own version of the sprint. The framework is one I created called the GAME Plan, which can be used for designing any type of gamified learning experience. While not a linear plan, GAME stands for Goals, Audience, Mechanics, and Experience. In this framework, Mechanics encompasses all of the moving parts of the program including the content, media, activities, and ‘gameful’ elements and how they are put together to best serve the Audience in pursuit of the Goals.

Robert Overell, President | Foundation BioVentures LLC Kelli Dunlap, PsyD, Director of Mental Health Research & Design | iThrive Games Claudia-Santi F. Fernandes, EdD, LPC, Assoc Director | play2PREVENT Lab, Yale Center for Health & Learning Games John Joy, Advanced Producer | Schell Games Jason Kahn, PhD, Chief Science Officer | Mightier Panel: Video Games to Promote Well Being in Emotionally Traumatized Youth Chair: Robert Overell This panel discussion will explore the use of video games to help emotionally traumatized youth. The panel will learn how playing certain video games can help youth with the consequences of trauma, such as loneliness, anxiety and depression. To a first approximation, based on reliable peer-reviewed scientific studies, 20% of kids suffer sufficient emotional trauma by the age of 18 that that they are likely to need some form of long-term help/supportive counselling. The trauma of abuse, abandonment, and felt loneliness, rejection and frustration, among others, can lead kids into challenges including isolation, despair, eating disorders, and/or to hard drugs. It also isolates them and interferes with their normal development. Mental health is a very challenging area for pharmaceutical drug development, and today this population is not well served by drug therapy. A video game approach meets these kids where they are, and can provide helpful feedback. And, there are clear studies showing that playing certain games reduces levels of anxiety and depression. This panel will explore the types of games that can be used to help our youth, the results so far, and the challenges ahead.

Jonathan Peters, Chief Motivation Officer | Sententia Gamification Mechanics and the Motivators: A Deliberate Approach to Gamifying Experiences When it comes to creating gamified or game-based learning experiences, most practitioners throw game mechanics at a program without a methodology or rational strategy. They assume that what is fun for them will be fun for their participants. The result is hit-or-miss. When budgets and time are in short supply, organizations cannot afford such approach. This session outlines a practical approach to determining which game mechanics will motivate a targeted audience. You learn how an empirically based taxonomy of core human desires predicts what will be “fun” for specific participants, why some people like competition while others prefer quiet concentration, and still others enjoy letting it all ride on red. Now, instead of trying to force everyone to play, you create experiences they want to engage with.

Dr. Maja Pivec, Assoc. Prof | FH Joanneum, Univ of Applied Sciences | Austria and Paul Pivec, Director | CranberryBlue R&D, Austria From Research to Development: Where Academia Meets Industry Finding the synergy between academics and developers is often elusive, and many opportunities are missed because of the difficulties in combining skills from disparate points of view. This presentation will document how the presenters, one from each arena, have bridged the two disciplines. From involving developers in assessing student work, to hosting commercial game jams, this session will provide attendees with templates for increasing their influence and maximizing their resources within serious games. Associate Professor Dr. Maja Pivec not only teaches serious game design, she is also involved in successful European-funded game development projects. As such, she has worked with development companies within the projects and augmented her classes with guests from the commercial environment. Dr. Paul Pivec has been developing digital games since the invention of the PC. His products have been highly successful, mainly due to the fact that he combines academic research and feedback within the design. We will cover topics such as building an academic learning model through to its implementation within a commercial environment, as well as issues such as encouraging students to learn the necessary skills and developing for appropriate target markets.

Paul Pivec, Director | CranberryBlue R&D | Austria and Dr. Maja Pivec, Assoc. Prof | FH Joanneum, Univ of Applied Sciences, Austria Create Serious Games without Coding: Visual Scripting for Educators and Developers During the 90 minutes of this workshop, attendees will create a 3D world that will provide the basis for any serious digital game on any platform. Using Unity as a game engine and Game Creator as a visual scripting tool, the workshop hosts will guide attendees through a rapid development process using only a drag and drop technique. Used within education, by indie developers, and commercial companies, Unity with the Game Creator plugin enables anyone to drag and drop highly efficient and functional code into their creation. This allows anyone without coding skills, from students and teachers through to commercial developers wishing to decrease their timeline to focus on the aesthetics, mechanics, and learning outcomes of the resulting product. Game Creator can also be used as a teaching tool for the programming process. With scripting modules called triggers, conditions, and actions, users can learn about programming logic with variables, collisions, and loops, but only if this is a desired outcome. However, much of this logic will become obvious while using the plugin. This workshop will be engaging, informative, fun, and most of all, the attendees will learn how to create the basis for a serious digital game within 90 minutes. Please Note: To maximize learning within the allotted time, all participants should bring their laptops (Mac or PC) with Unity already installed. Instructions can be found here:

William Robinson, Senior Consultant Specializing in Blockchain Technologies | Catallaxy Mining Bitcoin: How a Decentralized Game Incentivized an Unexpected Revolution In 2009, Satoshi Nakamoto unveiled Bitcoin, a plan to make a scarce digital resource. In order to guarantee its value, Nakamoto created a serious game. Dubbed proof-of-work, the security concept demands that anyone submitting new information to Bitcoin’s ledger solve a puzzle based in part on the previous puzzle’s solution. The prize at the time were some 50 worthless bitcoins. As of January 2018, that amounts to 180,000 USD. Bitcoin has been studied under computer science, cryptography, economics, Marxist critique, game theory, etc. That said, game studies offer a new perspective on the interrelation between its game design and cultural impact. In this presentation, I explore the power of incentive structures and the lessons other fields can learn from public blockchains like Bitcoin.

Avery Rueb, Director of Educational Sales | Affordance Studio Co-Presenters: Shawn Young | Classcraft; François Boucher-Genesse | Ululab (Slice Fractions); Caroline Julien | Creo and Alex Gray | Borealys Tales Role of Educational Games in the 21st Century Educational Landscape What value are educational games providing for today’s teachers and students? What educational trends will disrupt 21st century classrooms and how will learning game developers adapt? In this 45-minute panel, Quebec leaders in the educational game space, including the makers of Classcraft and Slice Fractions, will talk about their experiences in designing and selling games for classrooms. They’ll also discuss their vision for how the classroom will change over the next 10-20 years and how developers will need to change to stay relevant. For instance, they’ll discuss the future of collaborations between game developers and academic researchers to improve learning outcomes for students. Additionally, there will be discussion of evolving business models. There will also be a 15-minute question period where the audience will have the chance to interact with the panelists.

S. M. Hani Sadati, PhD Candidate in Educational Studies | McGill University A Serious Game to Combat SGBV in Ethiopia’s Agriculture Colleges Studies show the high prevalence of various Sexual and Gender-Based Violence (SGBV) related issues in Ethiopian post-secondary institutions, including rural Agricultural Technical Vocational Education Training (ATVET) colleges. The consequences of SGBV affects girls’ and young women’s professional, social, and individual life as well as the country’s human development and sustainable development goals. While there may be numerous points of entry for interventions, a promising area regarding sustainability is to build on instructors’ potential role in addressing SGBV. However, because of various restricting conditions in ATVETs, it is hard for the instructors to have permanent access to resources, and to get comprehensive, timely, and proper training on SGBV. This problematic condition calls for a new, accessible, and self-educating tool that can support instructors to develop their capacity and be effective in creating a safe and SGBV-free learning environment in their colleges. Our serious game tries to be this self-educating tool. In my session, I will talk about the experiences that I had during all phases of my study, including primary data collection, participatory game design workshop, game design process and game-test sessions. I would specifically focus on the challenges in my research process as well as the game design process.

Katie Salen | Keynote Address Minecraft’s Role in Raising a Generation of Good Gamers Research in the social sciences shows that—under the right conditions— gaming with others can have positive social benefits:

  • Players can acquire prosocial skills if they are playing games that reward cooperation
  • Students more likely to be engaged in civic movements in their everyday life if similar aspects are part of the gaming experience

Multiplayer gaming is however also associated with risk of unmanaged conflicts, such as being the target of anti-social behavior, a toxic climate or ‘griefing’ online. These experiences increase frustration, can reinforce negative gender stereotypes and limit the learning potential of the online spaces. Is there a role for Minecraft to play in teaching kids to resolve conflict productively? Can Minecraft help us raise a generation of “good” gamers?

Tammie Schrader, Computer Science / Science Coordinator | Northeast Washington Education Service District 101 Game Based Learning – A Systems Change Approach The audience will learn how we have expanded our game-based learning from our region of 59 school districts into a statewide movement around game-based learning. We will be discussing how we built our game-based learning experience from a classroom, to a district, to many districts and then build out capacity for a statewide movement around game-based learning. Participants will glean ideas about how they can work in a systems change model to expand their reach and expand their footprint.

Karen Schrier, Assoc. Prof. / Director of Games | Marist College Using Games and Game Design for Anti-Bias Training How do we create INNOVATIVE anti-bias training programs for game developers and game students? Can we use games and game jams to support this type of training? As a Belfer Fellow at ADL, I have been researching how to use game design to support empathy, perspective-taking, and bias reduction. I worked with the ADL and Global Game Jam to pilot a series of game jam events (game creation hackathons). We tested different configurations of the jam, such as having teams use a written guide or collaborate with an anti-bias trainer. I will share results of this research, as well as what worked or didn’t work when developing an “empathy” game jam. Takeaways:

  • Best practices for creating game jams on social issues, including everything from logistical considerations (when, what, where, who), and audience and thematic considerations (what theme to use, how to adjust to your audience).
  • Results of our research. We tested the game jam in 8 cities across the U.S.
  • Speaker will show the guide and materials used, the games that were created, images of people working on the games and the mistakes, problems, and lessons learned that we discovered through designing and researching the event.

David Seelow, Director | Revolutionary Learning & Adjunct Prof. of English Up, Up and Away: Designing Game-Based Challenges and Missions In this interactive session, the speaker will show an example of super power challenges that I use in an English 105 Texts and Contexts class called Superheroes and the Millennial as well as team-based missions that address current social / public health problems. My entire class is game-based, and super power challenges are game based activities that can be applied to any course in any discipline. After I demonstrate two of the challenges and one team-based mission, I will break the audience into teams and have them create a challenge for one of their own courses. Audience members will learn how to create game-based exercise for motivating student learning, engaging more student participation, and promoting student persistence and success. The challenges are designed to elicit enthusiastic whole class participation through a time limited puzzle or riddle, code or some other game-based activity that demands on the spot problem solving about content recently covered in the class. The challenges can be individual, or team based. The winner or winners of the challenge earn a power up boost akin to unlocking a power, skill or weapon in video games. This newly earned ability has an immediate and lasting impact on the student’s success for the duration of the course.

Peggy Sheehy, Teacher (Game Master) | EPIC Learners EXCALIBUR: Story and Gaming Academy – Hits and Misses Wrapping up year two of the 8th grade elective, Excalibur, I will reflect on what went right, what went wrong, and what I plan to do next year. Excalibur is an elective that aims to accomplish multiple educational and social goals— the primary being to provide students with a real-world experience and skillset that can transfer to any modern profession.  Using the concept of forming a game-design company, and making all of the decisions necessary to have that company produce a successful game, students are able to identify and master a diverse selection of technical skills as well as public speaking, narrative creation, branding and marketing, sound effects and voice-overs, art from conception through animation, researching to insure authenticity, management, leadership and teamwork.

Peggy Sheehy, Teacher (Game Master) | EPIC Learners Your Game is My Textbook! Attendees will learn how to: 1. Identify a game that supports their desired learning outcomes 2. The process of making that game-based learning experience “school friendly” 3. How to turn your naysayers into your champions Peggy will model the process used in the WoW in School program and participants will receive access to a complete sample of 6-8th grade ELA quests, rubrics, assessment techniques, EPIC fails and unanticipated wins!

Daniel Siegel, Course Director | Full Sail University Fear the Cave! A Role-Playing Game about Self-Actualization We will talk about the use of roleplaying and self-discovery to your learners by traveling through an illusionary cave with the goal of understanding ourselves better. Attendees will take away a cool PDF and maybe a deeper understanding on their existence and place in the universe.

Scott Silsbe, Game Designer, Interactive Event Producer | Liveware Lab Designing a Board Game to Model (and Teach) Political Crisis A well-designed educational board game allows students to experience what it is like to make consequential decisions with limited resources and information, face-to-face with both rivals and allies. The learning objectives will challenge participants to create game concepts that do this. Working through this challenge and comparing their results with those of other groups, attendees will better their understanding of games that don’t simply teach facts, but give students first-person perspectives of their topic. Attendees will also learn:

  • How to identify (and use) specific game mechanics, genres, and play styles either for enjoyment or for training, education, and simulation.
  • How to judge the strengths and weaknesses of various game mechanics, genres, and play styles based on specific learning objectives.

They will also receive:

  • Hands-on experience with paper-prototyping.
  • A game prototype! Or at least a reasonably fleshed-out game concept, along with some initial feedback from other educators and designers.
  • A long list of online resources for tabletop game design generally as well as serious game design for history and politics, including: discussion forums, blogs, YouTube channels, podcasts, sources of prototyping materials, and an annotated list of games to check out based on subject matter, mechanics, and play style.

Additional Notes Attendees will be presented with a fictional historical scenario involving political unrest and civil war in a small nation, as well as a set of learning objectives relating to the scenario. In groups, participants will conceptualize their own tabletop game that models the scenario, intended to be played by high school students learning about the conflict and about civil unrest more generally. Printed materials will provide background, a “history” of the conflict, and key information about those involved, including their goals, strengths, weaknesses, and relationships. Groups will have an assortment of prototyping materials (e.g. paper, markers, dice, cubes, pawns, meeples, and other bits) as well as a reference sheet of common tabletop game mechanics and concepts.

Peter Smith, Assistant Professor | University of Central Florida and Co-Presenter: Matt Dombrowski | UCF / Limbitless Solutions Alternative Game Controls for Accessible Design We will cover best practices lessons learned for:

  • Interfacing with custom hardware both in general and with our controllers
  • The importance of solid and easy to use calibration
  • How EMG works and why it is useful for prosthetics and games
  • Usability concerns in gameplay and out
  • Game play preferences for arm flexing games
  • One handed vs conventional controllers for users with limb difference
  • The importance of being able to play a game with both limbs

We will cover user data collected on usability of the controller; preferences for various game play styles; and training effectiveness. We will also include use cases for EMG Control for players with limb difference, including our participatory design process, our training philosophy and the positive impact on bionic kids. This presentation will follow our journey developing games that utilize custom EMG controllers to train children to use their prosthetic arms. The arms are all designed and 3D printed at Limbitless Solutions in Orlando, Florida. Their designs are intended to empower through creativity. The individualized designs reflect the personality of the kids and provide them with a fully functioning multi-gestural prosthetic. These arms can be complicated to control, but we use gaming to make the training process enjoyable and strengthen the muscles by turning flexes into game input. This presentation will cover how the Limbitless Games controller works, as well as the Microsoft Adaptive Controller and other accessibility controls.

Ronald Stevens, Professor | UCLA School of Medicine & CEO, The Learning Chameleon, Inc. Exploring Wonderland – Uncertainty, Gaming and the Brain Wonderland is Alice’s own world, and a place where nothing is as it is supposed to be and everyone is what they aren’t supposed to be. It is a world full of uncertainty much like we experience every moment of every day, either consciously during daytime, or unconsciously during nighttime. It is perhaps no wonder that humans deliberately create ways to practice reducing uncertainty in healthcare, military, K-16 and business training settings.  It is also why the enjoyment and learning that occurs during Serious Play depends on the skillful incorporation of elements of uncertainty to maintain persistent engagement. Despite its ubiquity, and theoretical understandings, there are few ways of dynamically and quantitatively unpacking our moment-by-moment uncertainties, a factor that limits the design and use potential for the next generation of simulations and games that will take advantage of dynamic biometric devices. In this talk Dr. Stevens will attempt to bridge this gap by describing the brain dynamics of uncertainty through the lenses of submarine and live patient surgical teams, as well as STEM problem-solving students.  He will close with possible implications for designers, instructors, and students when machines can begin recognizing and responding to these neural correlates of uncertainty.

Bron Stuckey, Warrior Princess | Innovative Educational Ideas If Minecraft is the “Gateway Drug,” What Games follow? If Minecraft is indeed a landmark product, then where can educators find the follow-on games that will continue building on the appetite created? For students (or teachers) not yet ready to step into Minecraft, what gameful products might effectively precede it? This interactive lecture session will present data to demonstrate the growth of Minecraft Education Edition across the globe. Participants will have the opportunity to explore case studies of Minecraft’s educational use with a view to distilling and identifying some of its educational affordances. They will be presented with an interactive draft of a scope and sequence of gameful resources (sharing in some part Minecraft’s affordances). The session will then examine key examples of the games identified as prospective precursors or successors to Minecraft. Participants will be able to download the static version of the scope and sequence for use back in school for curriculum planning, technology integration and teacher professional learning. They will also be able to propose additions, as crowd sourcing will be used to continue to evolve and ensure its ongoing relevance.

Thomas Talbot, MD, MS, FAAP, Principal Medical Expert | USC Institute for Creative Technologies High Stakes Conversation Games: A How-To Guide for Simulations that Result in Emotionally Impactful, Learning Experiences As gaming and simulations become more immersive due to improved realism and the advent of affordable virtual reality and ubiquitous AI, the need to naturally engage in conversational interactions with virtual human characters is the next new challenge. Verbal interactions can either be thin and informational or simple and command like in nature. If exploited properly, they can also become a rich new gamescape for players. Dr. Talbot, a physician and expert in virtual human technology in the medical domain, introduces a variety of compelling scenarios and shares how challenging conversations can have compelling gameplay and result in deep, emotionally impactful learning experiences.

Bradley Tanner, President | Clinical Tools, Inc. & Studio Head | Division Immersive VR Headset to Understand Brain Activity Immersive headset-based Virtual Reality as seen in the Oculus Rift and the Oculus Go offers a profound advantage compared to standard 2D-delivered training. As an example, our VR Brain Exploration project is creating a virtual brain patients traverse in an immersive virtual reality headset to improve understanding of brain mechanisms, confidence, and interest in learning more about the relationship of brain functioning. It offers:

  • Understanding of brain mechanisms, especially reward-related circuitry and frontal lobe function.
  • Interest in further expanding knowledge of brain anatomy, brain functioning, neurochemistry, and addiction.
  • Recognition of the relationship between brain functioning to behaviors, especially addictive behaviors and mental illness.
  • Confidence in the ability to understand brain functioning and correlate brain functioning with behavior and medical conditions.

The talk discusses the potential of VR for understanding complicated 3D structures. Immersive headset-based Virtual Reality can help patients understand the true mechanisms behind their suffering and that impact risks to their health. In VR they visualize the intended impact of treatment modalities and take control over outside parameters, such lifestyle choices, and exposures. Users can apply virtual success to real-world challenges, where they can further build confidence and patterns of success.

Alvaro Uribe Quevedo, Asst. Prof. and Kyle Wilcocks | University of Ontario Institute of Technology Customizing Serious Play with Makerspace Attendees to this workshop will obtain a fundamental understanding of Makerspace and how it can be used to as a tool to customize playful experiences in learning through the creation of tangible user interfaces that can increase presence and immersion with current digital media trends. The workshop will present the fundamentals of Makerspace design through a design thinking approach focused on a given problem. Attendees will have the opportunity to employ free Computer Aided Design ( to design an object suitable for 3D printing. Additionally, I will be bringing some open electronics components and pre-3D printed objects so that users can integrate them into a base play environment for implementing a prototype for solving the problem. During the first 60 minutes, participants will focus on design and implementation. The last 30 minutes of the workshop will be dedicated to play-testing their solutions.

Kade Wells | Teaching with Dungeons and Dragons Building Heroes: Using Roleplaying Game Design for Classroom Management, Reading Intervention, Interactive Fiction and Socio-emotional Growth Attendees will go through a mini-mock adventure that goes over the basics of bringing a classroom RPG to life. Using the D&D 5e basics, attendees will create a basic character and have to work together in groups to complete the objectives laid out before them. The objectives will focus on classroom implementation strategies, monster battles, and ways to fold lesson plans into the adventures. Once the adventure is finished, attendees have the opportunity to see examples of our work and others for classroom RPGs, and they can ask questions while beginning to formulate plans for their own adventure if wanted. For takeaways, we’ll have company-agnostic materials that teachers can either use or adapt. Some of the materials will include general curricular approaches, example adventures, materials for communicating with administrators and other stakeholders, and non-playable characters that they can use for example. We will put together a resource guide, and teachers will be able to communicate with us down the road if they need help or want to brainstorm.

Jiwon You, Research Lead | University of Alberta Conveying Culture Through Digital Gaming: Development and Example Digital game-based learning (DGBL), using video game as a tool, has received much attention as a new teaching method, especially in STEM fields. However, its usage in humanities is relatively rare, as its utility in the field is still being debated. In this presentation, I will discuss the possibility of using DGBL in humanities teaching, specifically in conveying different cultures to K-12 students, and what its development could look like. Cultural teaching for young students is important, not only for the sake of knowledge, but also because it teaches them to be aware and accepting of diversity. Using our team’s own project as an example, I will walk through the game development process, challenges, lessons learned, and suggestions for the future. In particular, I will elaborate on the benefits of storytelling in games, especially by using the target culture’s folklore, as a way to convey “unofficial” culture – its implicit social rules and belief systems. Folklore contains both factual information and immaterial values and morals of a culture. Thus, infusing it into a game’s story invites students to vicariously live in the target culture and take part in active learning, leading them to take in the knowledge naturally and smoothly.

Shawn Young, CEO | Classcraft How to Drive Engagement-Driven SEL With violence, bullying, mental illness and inclusion issues becoming more and more prevalent in schools, Social Emotional Learning (SEL) has become a pressing topic for all educators. Different frameworks exist to define SEL and categorize different SE competencies, but many educators lack the tools to easily develop and assess them. In this talk, we’ll discuss the CASEL framework for SEL, the motivational framework of games and explain how Classcraft can be used as a tool for teachers to develop and assess SE competencies.

Dr. Michelle Zimmerman, Educator & Researcher | Renton Prep An AI Curriculum in the K12 Classroom — Preparing Students for the Future This one-hour exploratory session will walk through the sections of the book, Teaching AI: Exploring New Frontiers for Learningwith quick tips and access to free resources supported by AI or helping students prepare for a future with AI ranging from Sesame Workshop to PBS Learning Media with the Crash Course Series for young children through college students, Project-based learning and Design Thinking to Diversity in STEM. It will also include free tools you can use in your classroom right away for creative collaborative projects and assessments.

Leonora Zefi | Manager, eLearning Initiatives & Course Development and Marian Ahmed and Naza Djafarova | The Chang School, Ryerson University Methodology and Practical Guide for Serious Game Design This interactive presentation will focus on a design methodology created to help multidisciplinary teams during the pre-production stage of serious game design. The pre-production phase is one of the most challenging areas of the design process due to the diverse opinions and experiences of design team members (Aleem et al. 2016). Through a question and answer discussion, participants will learn how this methodology can help enhance communication and idea generation within their own design teams. The methodology was tested in a participatory workshop that included faculty, game developers / designers, and instructional designers from various educational institutions in Ontario. The first part of the presentation will highlight research findings and feedback from the participatory workshops. The second part will include a hands-on activity with participants using the methodology and ideation cards to design a rapid game prototype. The Art of Serious Game Design Guideresearch project was funded by eCampus Ontario and is freely available as an Open Educational Resource. The guide and its associated resources can be viewed and downloaded from