In the world of Eco, a new games project, your own survival depends on the survival of the simulated ecosystem that surrounds you. Called the “Minecraft for environmentalists,” the game requires players to collaborate to build a civilization in a shared world where your every action affects the lives of countless species — and to maintain the precious balance between creation and destruction.

Food for thought: if we approached saving our environment as a game to be won, would it be easier to rally more people together to affect positive change?



I am soon graduating college and this week and I’m presenting to the mentors my grad project, that was made by teamwork of four people (including myself). We had three months to make up an idea, find a way to bring it to life, and implement it.

The result - fitness mobile application for Android. Inspired by HabitRPG, FitnessAdventure is a fitness planner where you get experience points by doing your exercises, lose health points by slacking off, and uncover new part of your quest/plot with each level.

Oh, and you can pick your character class, you know, RPG style. The class affects what kind of exercises we suggest you.

We make suggestions for each level, and apart from that, you can create YOUR OWN exercises, set their difficulty level, number of repetitions, etc.

You can also collect cool badges. You like badges, right?

Anyway - it would really help my cause (read: my grade) if game got some (read: many) downloads. Please keep in mind it’s still a beta version (three months - not a lot). If there will be enough people into our idea, we will keep working on the app and make it even better! Of course, it’s free.

tl:dr; We made an RPG game/fitness planner application. I swear it’s cool. Please check it out.


We’ve made a new video in time for new year’s resolution season! Check out what happens when life improvement and video games collide…

[iOS app - Android app - Website]

App Games Helping You Keep Those New Year’s Resolutions

Another year, another group of New Year’s resolutions that may end up just falling by the wayside. I am a person who loves to make resolutions, but is terrible at sticking to them. Last year, however, I was able to keep more of the goals that I set for myself by making them into a game.

There are so many apps using gamification techniques now that we hardly notice them. Apps that will give you points for spending money or give you stickers/kudos/gold stars for doing things are a dime a dozen. Gamification is a powerful thing. It works because it taps into our natural desires to achieve and can induce us to do things that we might not otherwise do so that we can reach completion. It probably won’t change your behavior entirely, but it’s set up so you’ll spend just a tiny bit more. With big names like Starbucks, Nike, and Foursquare using gamification techniques, you could randomly click on anything in the App Store and you’ll likely touch an app using those techniques in some way.

The apps that remember to keep the “game” part of gamification are more rare, however, and when they do remember to keep the game part, it can be a lot more engaging than just mindlessly racking up points. Points are nice. We love points, but at the same time, we need to be able to do something with our reward—or at least be able to do something fun in order to get our reward.

Just in time for the new year, here are three gamification apps that do things right!

Continue reading⇥

Slavery simulation game draws criticism for making oppression ‘fun’

The educational learning program in question is called ‘Flight to Freedom’ and chronicles the experiences of a 14-year-old black slave called Lucy King, who works on a slave plantation in Kentucky. Users have to try and help her escape to the north of the country, where slavery has been abolished.

Upon learning about the game, after she received an email, recommending its use to coincide with Black History month, Rafranz Davis, who is an Instructional Technology Specialist for Schools, took to social media to vent her disgust.

“You would like to be a slave? The idea that a game could give a person a sense of what it felt like to fear for your life, to know everything that could possibly happen to you, which could be rape, a beating, death, mutilation is preposterous,” she told RT.


Why you’re playing more games than ever

You may think that games only have entertainment value, but you can now find elements of games appearing in education, marketing and even many social causes.

Gamification is the use of game design elements (badges, points system, levels, leaderboards) and mechanics (challenges, competition, feedback, rewards) in a typically non-game activity or space. And many organizations use gamification as a strategy to engage with people.

“It’s a new buzzword for old methods,” said Endo Stern, professor at UCLA’s Department of Design Media Arts and director of the UCLA Game Lab.

In its most primitive form, it’s the sandwich punch card that rewards customer loyalty and the symbolic gold star for good performance — but the digital era has ushered in a multitude of ways to motivate and reward users. 

FitBit gamified fitness by designing wearable trackers and apps with game elements such as performance trackers and badges to motivate users to exercise. Crowdrise gamified charity by allowing users to earn badges and points, and compete with others on a leaderboard based on how much they fundraise. And RecycleBank gamified conservation efforts by rewarding people with redeemable points for answering sustainability quizzes and pledges. You get it, a quick look at your phone apps will give you many more examples.

So why is gamification appearing everywhere?

According to Stern, games offer escalating achievement, rewards, challenges and competition, which are all game elements that have tremendous motivation and engagement power.

“But it’s only effective when it is integrated subtly and the user does not reject the experience as a manipulation in the form of a game,” said Stern.

What’s undisputed with the rise of gamification is that games can be regarded as “a medium that goes beyond pure escapist entertainment” that have the capacity to engage and address a broad range of ideas.

Check out UCLA’s experimental research and development game lab 

Classroom Pictures and Ideas

I’d be interested to see your classrooms—layouts, bulletin boards, and whatever cool ideas you have!  Pictures of mine are after the break.

I teach 7th grade math.  I have tried to gamify my classroom by using Classcraft (point management game system) and a couple of other ideas that will be pictured later.  It’s a little busy…but hopefully it’s stuff that encourages kids to work hard and learn.

Mini panorama of my classroom.  6 groups of 6 desks.  I put painters tape on the floor so that kids know where to move desks.  Right now, it’s in “normal mode.”  When kids take a quiz/test, they split the desks into separate rows; we call that “battle mode.”

My makeshift growth mindset “poster” for the door.  I found that picture online, and I made up the other part with growth mindset beliefs written on it.

Front of the classroom.  The statement across the top (“We are the Class of 2020.  We are game changers, earth shakers, and history makers, and we’re going to change the world.”) is our class motto, and I make the kids say that to start each class period.  They also choral respond/read the objectives on the right.

Found these vinyl chalk talk bubbles at Target.  I’m going to write the essential questions for the lesson here.  I just started having the kids choral read these with the objectives today.

Absent work wall.  My student TA writes the homework on the calendar for me each day; in the past, I’ve just had one of my students do it at the beginning of the day.

Classroom expectations.  I had my kids write all the rules they could think of that they’ve had to follow in school.  Then I told them that instead of memorizing a bunch of rules for every teacher and every situation, they should follow three basic standards:  be respectful, be responsible, and be positive.  We sorted out the rules that they came up with at the beginning into these three categories.  All the other rules they can ever think of will probably fit in one or more of these categories.  I said they can self-check their behavior if they’re not sure if their actions are okay by asking, “Am I being respectful?”  “Am I being responsible?”  “Am I being positive?”

Tech expectations near the computers in the back.

The “Why Should I Get an Education?” wall.  This is stuff I’ve collected over the years to support reasons for an education:  to earn more money, to have more options, to have more power (have knowledge so that people don’t take advantage of you), and more helpful (understand that people are hurting and need your help).  I’m not a fan of the layout; I wasn’t sure how much space something else would take, so I ended up putting too much in one space.  I’ll do a better job next year.

The Kingdom Map.  Each little square represents a skill/lesson in the math book; the large papers represent the chapter.  The first chapter destination is Proportion Palace.  Since I’m using so many squares in my room, I went with a Minecraft theme and found pictures online that would fit with the names I came up with.  I will use this as a data wall as well, where I will write the percentage of students who pass each lesson quiz.

Below the Kingdom Map are student Mastery Profiles.  Every time they pass a quiz or test, they get a “badge” (a sticker) that they put on their Mastery Profile.  The cover is the student’s “My Life of Numbers” poster, where they had to come up with 8 facts about themselves that involve numbers.  I made them rewrite the number as an expression with 1 or 2 operations, depending on the period.  They had to draw a picture to accompany each fact.

Another component of my classroom gamification is the Noah and Mozzie wall.  (Noah and Mozzie are my sister’s son and dog, respectively.)  The kids are saving Noah and Mozzie from the dark forces and building a new world for them.  Every time they pass a quiz or a test, not only do they get a badge on their personal Mastery Profile, but they also get a little square with their name on it.  These squares build a part of the Noah and Mozzie story.  Escaping the dark forces is the first task.  They will later have to build a new world for Noah and Mozzie (trees, flowers, and a house, I think).  Every time they complete a task, we will celebrate by doing a Change It Up Wednesday—a minimum day where we will do something other than the regular lesson.

Character wall.

“Math Is Everywhere” wall, along with the 6 + 1 Traits of Writing.  “I know it’s a math class, but you still need to practice communication.  It’s not enough to just know stuff; you need to be able to communicate your ideas.  You could be the smartest person in the room and have the cure for cancer in your head…but it does no good to anyone else if you can’t communicate how to get the cure to other people.”

My mini math library.

Self-explanatory.  =)

That’s my classroom!  I’d love to see pictures and hear ideas about yours!



With brightly colored animations flashing across the screen and a seemingly endless number of cleverly titled levels to unlock, the latest trend in language learning has unexpected sources of inspiration — Candy Crush over textbooks, gaming over memorizing.

Like so many other educational materials, Chinese language learning tools have hopped the paper and pen ship, foregoing the traditional techniques of rote memorization for the more exciting world of the smartphone app.

The language learning apps all feature interactive tools that entertain as well as teach, a trend in education known as “gamification” and pioneered by the founding father of learning apps, DuoLingo.

Continue reading here!

Smart shoulder-pad opens up gamified exercise to the physically impaired

The potential for computer games to encourage physical activity is proving to be an exciting development for the entertainment industry. As well as mainstream fitness training platforms such as Blue Goji, we have also seen developers exploring products and games that can gamify physical therapy, making it more diverse and appealing for the physically impaired. The Valedo, from Switzerland, did exactly that for back pain sufferers and now The Fraunhofer Institute in Munich has developed a game for thalidomide victims which caters to their specific limitations and needs. READ MORE…

GUYS, I've stumbled into that corner of the internet that I have been searching forever for and didn't know it...

You know, the people and their blog posts about gamification using Google spreadsheets that they can share with students…  And their wealth of math-focused knowledge using Google classroom.

Here & here for any who want to join me in this euphoria.

Don’t mind me.  I’m busy crying with happiness geeking out.


My kids finished the first task on our gamified wall. This was a lot sooner than I expected. I didn’t take into account very well that I have a 100 more students compared to last year… =) Hopefully this will encourage them to work hard and retake quizzes/tests as needed to get more squares on the wall! Next they have to fill up the trees for Task #2.

I suck at drinking water. And if you’re like me, it’s perpetually on your to-do list, an abandoned New Year’s resolution (15 years running). And if you’re like me, and have IBD, it’s really important to get your 8 full glasses/day.

I stumbled across this app in a pregnancy forum (the cutest water drinking reminder app ever) but I wanted to share it with my IBDers too. It’s called ‘Plant Nanny’- choose your own plant, pot, and setting and then ‘feed it’ whenever you finish a glass of water in real time. It will remind you if you’ve gone too long without hydrating with notifications.

There’s something about that little creature and the joy it displays as a result of my hydration. Somehow I don’t really care too much if I get dehydrated but if that sweet little plant starts to wither, it’s game over for my emotions -I have to save it!

I know it’s strange to gamify water drinking, but hey, I’m actually winning for the first time! Check it out. It’s free in the App Store and ridiculously adorable.


Sesame Credit is the stuff that nightmare stories like 1984 are the bleak images of… And we know that reality always trump fiction. And this reality seems to be implemented as we speak!

And another question immediately comes to mind: Is Sesame Credit the gamified future for us all? If you thought the presentations by Jesse Schell envisioning a gamified future was scary. It was then just a vision in Jesse Schell’s mind. Sesame Credit seems to be much worse, and it is on it’s way to be implemented in China. 

(via Gamified compliance: China’s reputation network Huxleys to the full Orwell / Boing Boing)

Classcraft Boss Battles Are Fun Ways to Challenge Students!

Teachers, are your students ready for their biggest challenge yet? Classcraft Boss Battles are about to change how they learn new material and prepare for tests and quizzes!

Classcraft Boss Battles are out now, and as we revealed earlier this fall, they’re a great tool to transform regular assessment in your classroom. Let’s take a look at how a boss battle would play out.

First, the teacher sets up the battle, inputting the questions they want their students to answer and choosing the boss monster they’ll face.

Once you begin, the first question will display on the screen. If your students answer correctly, they’ll bring the boss monster a little closer to defeat.

But if students miss a question, beware! They or their whole team will take damage. Students need to work together and use their powers, like Heal and Protect, to keep each other going strong.

If students are triumphant, they’ll earn Experience Points and Gold Pieces as a reward for their hard work!

We hope you’re excited to roll out Boss Battles with your students. We can’t wait to hear your stories!

For an overview on how to set up Boss Battles in your classroom, watch the tutorial below:

Classcraft Tutorial: Boss Battles from Classcraft on Vimeo.