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A Critical Perspective on Gamification

It’s time for a few stories that caught my attention last week: a critique on the logics of gamification, a highly successful student driven news site and an integration project using digital media to spark social change.

A critical perspective on gamification

“The gamification backlash is in full swing”, that’s how ludologist (video game researcher) Jesper Juul starts his article on why the idea of making games out of boring chores is a fallacy. Game mechanisms with external rewards have as far back as 1971 been proven to act as demotivators, not as motivators. We need to be careful and think critically of how the emerging “game layer” (which might be the buzzword of 2011) should be designed and implemented; not just thinking that any game mechanism will make your product a success.

Read Juul’s short article Gamification Backlash Roundup and a transcript of games scholar Cayden Mak’s lecture The Schema of Game Culture.

Student-run news website illustrate the new reality for journalists

Neon Tommy is web-only news source sponsored by the Annenberg School for Communication and Journalism. They try to define the new way of doing journalism in the 21st century. This is how the LA Times describe Neon Tommy:

A generation ago, journalists wrote their stories and moved on to the next thing, with someone else worrying about delivery of the end product. In today’s digital world, journalists must not only create the stories but make sure they get to readers. The USC Annenberg School for Communication & Journalism created Neon Tommy as a laboratory for these practices. Students promote their work in real time, highlight the best stories by others on the Web and repurpose old content with new analysis. That’s only a start, as they push their journalism through myriad channels to reach a maximum audience. (LA Times, 2011-03-23)

Read more about Neon Tommy and Annenberg School for Communication and Journalism.

Prototypes for communities to tell and share their own stories

Shelbyville Multimedia is an integration project in Shelbyville, Tennessee, using multimedia to spark social change. Journalist and blogger J. D. Lasica has written a thorough review of this project:

In my opinion, this is a superb initiative. I think it will attract considerable interest across a number of sectors: educators looking for meaningful materials to incorporate into curricula, community activists and cause organization folks interested in a promising new social change platform, and others. (Lasica, 2011-03-21)

Kudos to Chris Vighagen for letting us know about this project’s existence!

Image credit: centralasian CC:BY