Saturday, August 30, 2014

Serious Games For Clinical Challenges

Serious Games improving substance assessment and intervention skills of medical students

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Clinical Tools, Inc. is currently creating a new continuing clinical training based on Serious Games called Clinical Challenge | Alcohol, to be released in 2015.

The project seeks to improve outcomes of patients with at risk alcohol use or an alcohol use disorder by improving the alcohol assessment and intervention skills of medical students.

The personal, financial and other costs to society of at-risk drinking and alcohol use disorders are well known. 2012 estimates of past-month substance use include:

·         17 million heavy drinkers
·         59.7 million binge drinkers

Approximately 88,000 alcohol-related deaths occurred annually from 2006 to 2010, making excessive alcohol use the third leading lifestyle-related cause of death. Estimates of the economic impact of alcohol exceed $224 billion, annually, including loss in workplace productivity, health care expenses, accidents, crime, and other destructive losses.

The Clinical Challenge: Alcohol project builds upon developers’ existing platform Clinical Encounters 3D-Patient Training Environment, to create a challenging Serious Game to be mastered.

Medical students experience the real-world challenges of patient care including time-pressure, the need to make assessment and intervention decisions, and exposure to the effect of those decisions on their patients. By engaging and challenging medical students to improve their alcohol assessment and intervention skills, future physicians may be better prepared to assist patients with at unhealthy alcohol use and improve the health outcomes of those patients.

The game replicates the real-world challenges of patient care, but efficiently provides a wide variety of clinical experiences. Students conduct interviews and perform standardized assessments with virtual (e.g., computer generated) patients. They receive differing simulated patient responses (e.g., acceptance, confusion, refusal, suspicious behavior) and preceptor feedback in response to the choices and decisions they make.

To categorize alcohol use and, as indicated, establish an alcohol use diagnosis, they proceed to select physical exam components and select and interpret diagnostic screens and tests. As appropriate for health professional students in the early stage of their clinical training, students develop an evidence-based treatment plan that minimizes risk of at use drinking and provides appropriate follow-up. 

The game will be further used as an application on a computer tablet but it is now being presented as a rough online prototype.

Clinical Challenge: Alcohol website invites players to try out some selected interactive prototype features for a clinical skill training game on alcohol use problems. Players will be asked for feedback as they interact with this prototype and in a short survey at the end.

The Serious Game is part of a larger initiative SBIRT Core Training Program, aimed at improving clinical skills in screening, brief interventions, and referral to treatment for substance use problems. is being developed by Clinical Tools, Inc. (CTI) with funding from the National Institute on Drug Abuse

Friday, August 29, 2014

Serious Games Crossover Technologies Between Military and Civilian Apps

Defense GameTech User's Conference 2014: Inspire, Play, Learn will be held on September 3-5

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The annual Defense GameTech Users' Conference, to be held this year on September 3-5 at the Rosen Shingle Creek in Orlando, Florida, is focused on the use of gaming technologies that enhance warfighter training.  

GameTech is a unique opportunity not only for experts from around the world to discuss the advancement of gaming technologies within the Department of Defense, but also for anyone interested in the use of Serious Games that help both the military and civilian organizations train, educate, and improve workforce performance through the use of technology.

The Draft Agenda for 2014, updated on 08/29/2014, includes experts from Government, Academia and Industry and the keynote speakers are leading authorities in military training and commercial game development. Each of the speakers are deeply immersed in serious gaming, virtual worlds, and mobile learning, and will share their knowledge and thoughts on ways to ensure these future technologies continue to be used to their full potential, specifically for learning.


Manny Dominguez, PhD., Deputy Chief Learning Officer(DCLO) for the Veterans Health Administration, Employee Education System (EES)

Dr. Manny Dominguez is leading the effort to build the first virtual medical center for the Veterans Health Administration.

“In order to enhance care delivery and education, we’re embarking on a 21st century virtual hospital and learning environment that gives patients and staff direct access to medical education, wellness tools and hundreds of VA resources, anytime and anywhere,” Dominguez said.


Waymon Armstrong, Co-Founder and President, Engineering & Computer Simulations (ECS)

Armstrong is widely viewed as a visionary in Modeling, Simulation and Training (MS&T), and is a strong proponent of crossover technology, which applies military training tools to new markets, including healthcare, education, the cruise industry and others. His company was one of the first to venture into PC-based serious gaming, virtual world technologies and mobile devices.

Armstrong became one of the first defense simulation and training companies to transition technologies to non-military applications in the past five years when he began offering ECS technologies to the Oil & Gas industry, transportation, education and medical/healthcare sectors

The company’s latest product, Virtual Offshore Platforms, went live in May, and is being used to train oil rig operators on day-to-day and emergency-response procedures.

“If you’re not constantly looking ahead, scanning the horizon for market changes, and willing to take some risks, you won’t survive today’s highly competitive, ever-evolving technology environment. ECS was one of the first to recognize the power of Serious Games and, as with other technology areas, we took the risk to invest in a future that provides a personal and realistic learning capability that is helping, not only our military, but also students from many other business areas, including the next generation learner,” Armstrong said.


Eric Preisz, Chief Executive Officer for GarageGames

Widely known for the development of the open source game engine Torque 3D, Preisz is very familiar with GameTech, having previously attended the event. As this year's Games Keynote speaker, Preisz will share his thoughts on the current state of gaming and the impact it's making in a multitude of industries.

“One of the truly growing areas in game development is in education, and GarageGames is working on education projects including game development curriculum and location-based entertainment,” Preisz said.  “It’s now recognized that traditional methods of classroom instruction are becoming less effective in our growing technological era, and events like GameTech allow those of us most immersed in this field to get together, compare notes, and discuss future trends.”


Sara de Freitas, PhD., Pro Vice Chancellor and Professor of Learning and Teaching, Murdoch University, Australia

Dr. Sara de Freitas, is set as the Mobile Games keynoter for Orlando’s upcoming GameTech conference. De Freitas will present a distinctive, global view on gaming and mobile learning that focuses on her diverse experience and research interests. Current research initiatives are focused in learning analytics, technology enhanced learning, higher educational policy and leadership and advanced educational games research and development.

Complementing the keynote speakers, the conference has scheduled more than 45 sessions ranging from topics that include Serious Game design and discovering cost savings with game-based training, to components of medical virtual environment. 

Attendees also have the opportunity for learning through hands-on experiences by visiting conference exhibitors, including: Bohemia Interactive Simulations, Havok, Virtual Heroes, Calytrix, Polhemus, SimSTAFF, AEgis, the UCF Institute for Simulation and Training, and National Center for Simulation.

Stay updated with all GameTech news including post conference documents and surveys, plus info for next year’s conference with Twitter (@DefenseGameTech) and Facebook (Defense GameTech User’s Conference) accounts.

GameTech 2014 Hosts

The National Center for Simulation (NCS), along with Team Orlando, hosts the annual event.

NCS is a non-profit trade association whose vision is to be the recognized leader in supporting and expanding the modeling and simulation community. NCS is committed to promoting modeling and simulation technology expansion, supporting education and workforce development and providing business development support to its members.

Team Orlando is established by a Department of Defense Inter-Service Charter that builds upon a partnership established between the Army and Navy over 60 years ago. Today, Team Orlando members from Government, academia and industry are focused on one common goal of improving human performance through simulation.

Team Orlando is composed of the primary military service organizations responsible for research, development, acquisition, and life cycle support for America’s military training, simulation, and test and evaluation/instrumentation products and services, including commands from the Army, Navy, Marine Corps, and Air Force, as well as representation by the US Coast Guard and Joint Forces Command. 

Supporting and completing Team Orlando’s composition are modeling and simulation, human performance and training leaders in academia and industry, as well as Federal, State and Local government organizations.

Sunday, August 24, 2014

Serious Games For Peace Competition: PEACEapp Call For Entries

Serious Games to promote cultural dialogue and conflict management

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Via: PEACEappUnited Nations Alliance of Civilizations (UNAOC)

Game developers, technologists and peace builders around the world are invited to submit Serious Games that facilitate dialogue and prevent violence.

The United Nations Alliance of Civilizations (UNAOC), the United Nations Development Program (UNDP) and Build Up have launched PEACEapp, a global competition to promote digital games and gamified apps as venues for cultural dialogue and conflict management.

PEACEapp builds on the success of Create UNAOC – a competition for apps and games that promoted intercultural dialogue run by UNAOC and its partners in 2012.

The competition asks entrants to engage with questions that are central to building peace. How can we create new spaces for dialogue and shared action aimed at preventing violence? Is the key to provide opportunities for contact among individuals of different cultural or religious backgrounds? Can sharing stories also encourage mutual respect for cultural and religious values? Or is it about offering people tools to question and reframe their identity?

These questions are essential to the work of UNAOC, given its mandate to promote intercultural awareness. These questions are also closely linked to UNDP’s work on conflict prevention and peace building.

Supported by a range of partners including Games for Change, the Institute for Economics and Peace, the MIT Center for Civic Media and the ICT for Peace Foundation, PEACEapp is intended to give developers the chance to showcase their work – new, existing or in progress – and engage with questions that are central to building peace.

Of all the technological tools increasingly available to peace builders, Serious Games present opportunities that are particularly relevant to fostering dialogue that prevents violence.

“The very nature of social media and much of the new technology that continues to emerge around phones, tablets and other devices promote human togetherness, tolerance and inclusiveness. Potential for so many areas of our lives is increased, including to help prevent conflict and promote peace. I hope that web, app and game developers around the world take up this challenge. UNDP is excited to be working with PEACEapp to promote conflict management and dialogue”, said Jordan Ryan, Director of UNDP’s Bureau for Crisis Prevention and Recovery.

PEACEapp Competition Rules

The competition is open to three kinds of entries at all stages of development – from prototypes to fully developed apps:

(i) Digital games & gamified apps developed purposefully for this competition
(ii) Already existing digital games
(iii) Creative re-purposing of existing digital games to meet the aim of PEACEapp

PEACEapp’s international jury will select five winning entries: three that are fully functioning and two that are under development. The three fully functioning games or apps will receive an award of USD$5,000 each. The two under development will receive mentorship from expert partners. In addition, one member of each award-winning team (completed or under development) will be invited to the Build Peace conference in April 2015 in Cyprus to share their product with conference participants.

The deadline for applications is October 15, 2014. Winners will be announced by November 30, 2014.

Digital games and gamified apps submitted to PEACEapp will be reviewed by an international jury according to the criteria described at

To submit a digital game or gamified app, entrants must complete the entry form on PEACEapp website in English and submit a video walkthrough or presentation of a working game / app, game / app alpha, beta prototype or implementation plan for using an existing game / app by October 15, 2014. Participants must be 13 years or older.

Make sure to check the eligibility criteria, rules and regulations at

Saturday, August 23, 2014

Free Assessment & Analytics Technology For Serious Games Developers

GlassLab to open up the technology so other Serious Games developers can provide insight into what kids are learning 

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Via: GlassLab  – Playfully
and Education Week - GlassLab Opens Opportunity for Education-Game Makers

In summer 2012, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, in cooperation with the MacArthur Foundation, made a significant investment to establish the Games Learning and Assessment Lab (GlassLab), which includes top game developers, learning scientists, assessment designers and researchers from multiple fields and disciplines, housed at Electronic Arts and Co-Lab (Zynga).

The program was divided into two teams to mitigate conflict of interest and guarantee independent validation of assessments developed by the program.

The programming and development group (GlassLab) was tasked to design and develop state-of-the-art, game-based formative assessments. These assessments are being developed in response to the climate of student disengagement that currently exists in many classrooms. By leveraging the popularity of digital video games and by applying Evidence Centered Design (ECD), the game-based formative assessments address the needs of both students and teachers for reliable and valid real-time actionable data within a motivating learning environment. This work is being conducted by the Institute of Play, the Educational Testing Service (ETS), Pearson, Inc., Analytics and Adaptive Learning, Electronic Arts (EA), and the Entertainment Software Association (ESA).

Concurrently, the Foundation tasked the SRI-led research team (GlassLab-Research) to independently conduct research on the qualities, features, inferential validity, reliability, and effectiveness of the assessments that were embedded within the GlassLab game products. The GlassLab-Research work is being conducted by experts in assessment, learning sciences, science education, and learning technology at SRI with the support of external consultants.

Last month GlassLab announced that it is moving to provide free assessment and analytics technology to third-party digital learning game developers, including an initial cohort of five groups beginning this fall.

The goal is to help those developers more efficiently capture the torrents of data generated from student game play, process that information for signs that students are mastering academic standards, and display the results to students, teachers, and others via easy-to-use dashboards.

Over 100 groups—including research organizations, small startups, established commercial players, and more—submitted applications to be part of the initial cohort of developers with whom GlassLab will partner, according to Executive Director Jessica Lindl. 

Among other things, the groups will receive computer code that integrates into their existing games to help collect data and access to an Assessment Engine that processes that data against key academic standards.

Lindl said that GlassLab assessment experts from Pearson and ETS will also work directly with the third-party developers to figure out how the data generated by their games connect to academic standards.

The model for the new partnerships will be a recently completed pilot effort involving GlassLab and Washington-based iCivics, a nonprofit that develops web-based learning games such as Argument Wars, meant to help students learn the skills of evidence-based persuasive argumentation, which happens to be a key piece of the new Common Core State Standards (please find also Serious Games Boost Civic Education In The Classroom and iCivics 2013 Report: Serious Games Reaching 35,000 Educators Across 9,000 Schools).

Through the partnership with GlassLab, iCivics has been able to generate a much more robust portrait than was previously possible of what students are learning in Argument Wars.

In addition to knowing if a student won the game and was engaged while playing, iCivics can now see a portrait of the reasoning strategies and other mental processes used by the student. That information is aligned to academic standards and fed back to teachers to help them know what type of instructional help each student needs next.

"Because GlassLab has its own argumentation game (Mars Generation One: Argubot Academy, currently in beta-testing and expected to be publicly released this August), researchers were able to do sophisticated reliability and validity testing”, Lindl said (Please find also ELA Serious Games Infused With Stealth STEM Content).

Mars Generation One: Argubot Academy, offers an example of how that technology works.

In the game, players—typically middle school students—find themselves in a settlement on Mars where disputes are resolved through formal arguments. To succeed, players must search for evidence that can support the claims they are trying to make. They also must critique others' arguments, determining whether the evidence presented supports the claim effectively. Players advance by winning argument "duels" against opponents.

“Over the course of a complete 90-minute cycle of game play, players might engage in eight or more such duels and be asked to critique 20 claim-evidence pairings”, said Seth M. Corrigan, a research scientist for learning analytics with GlassLab.

The tools that the group has developed are used to gather, organize, and analyze the resulting data to create a model of what students know and have learned. First, the types of telemetry data generated by players' clicks and other in-game decisions deemed relevant through extensive analysis are located and stored in secure, custom-built databases. Then, that information is fed into an "assessment engine" that determines what students' game-play patterns reveal about their mastery of three specific common-core standards related to argumentation and reading informational texts. Finally, those results are reported back to students, teachers, parents, and others by digital dashboards.

As part of its new effort, GlassLab is also preparing to introduce a website that teachers will be able to access directly to find games and related instructional materials, and monitor students' progress.