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CNIE 2014 Pre-conference Workshops Sneak Peek: Katrin Becker, Digital Expert and Director, Mink Hollow Media, Ltd.

The 2014 Canadian Network for Innovation in Education Conference takes place on May 13 – 16 at Thompson Rivers University in Kamloops, B.C. The theme for this year’s conference: Confluences – Spaces, Place and Cultures for Innovative Learning.

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Earlier this week, we shined the spotlight on one of the keynote speakers – Nancy White. Today, we’re turning our attention to Katrin Becker’s two pre-conference workshops on gamification, scheduled for May 13.

Katrin Becker is an award winning, internationally known expert in the design and analysis of Serious Games. She holds two degrees in computer science and a PhD in Educational Technology with a focus on instructional game design. A certified instructional designer with a graduate certificate in serious game design and research, Becker has over 30 years of teaching experience in science, engineering, education and art. She has taught computer science, videogame design, digital game-based learning, and technical writing. Becker has also designed and developed several educational and advertising games.  As well, she is the author of a book on the technical aspects of simulations and games written for non-technical people.

When we asked Becker for a preview of her two workshops, she told BCcampus that they are directly related to the work she’s been doing recently and tied to her upcoming books.

The morning session is about gamifying learning. According to Becker, “the term is very trendy right now and there’s a lot of hype associated with it. Much of what they are now calling gamification isn’t actually new at all, and much of what is being sold as gamification is merely thinly disguised marketing.” The first workshop will look at ways to gamify courses that don’t necessarily require total re-designs, and that will still fit into the more traditional curriculum frameworks.

Becker started by incorporating gamification as a part of a course, and the last course she taught was fully gamified. During this workshop, Becker will share some elements of her design that are novel and have the potential to change our perspective on student assessment in fundamental ways. The workshop will look at ways to gamify courses that don’t necessarily require total re-designs, and that will still fit into the more traditional curriculum frameworks.

The afternoon workshop introduces Becker’s 4PEG model (4 Pillars of Educational Games) for assessing games for learning. Becker believes “there is tremendous potential in games for learning, but when it comes to tools to help teachers decide if a particular game would be of value to them, there are still very few resources. My 4PEG model combines some of my earlier work on game analysis using my Magic Bullet with three other elements to form a structured approach to assessing games.”

 Notable Quotes:

The term is very trendy right now and there’s a lot of hype associated with it. Much of what they are now calling gamification isn’t actually new at all, and much of what is being sold as gamification is merely thinly disguised marketing. ~ Katrin Becker

On the other hand, I’ve found [gamification] to be a useful umbrella term for a number of approaches to teaching and learning – some of which I’ve been doing myself for more than a decade. ~ Katrin Becker

There is tremendous potential in games for learning, but when it comes to tools to help teachers decide if a particular game would be of value to them, there are still very few resources. My 4PEG model combines some of my earlier work on game analysis using my Magic Bullet with three other elements to form a structured approach to assessing games. ~ Katrin Becker

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