iGBL 2014

Prof. DI Dr. Maja Pivec

Prof. DI Dr. Maja Pivec

Prof. DI Dr. Maja Pivec (Keynote Speaker)

Maja is an award-winning professor of Game Based Learning and Learning with Multimedia at the University of Applied Sciences FH JOANNEUM in Graz, Austria. She is editor and co-editor of several book publications in the area of GBL and innovative learning approaches, and was guest editor of British Journal of Educational Technology, Special issue on learning from games.

Maja has been project partner and co-ordinator of many EU-funded projects in her field. She has taught game design for learning for over 10 years, consulted for the EU on Games in Education, and is currently developing games for the older generation in the area of assisted living. Maja Pivec is highly regarded for her research in Educational Technology, and has received numerous awards by both academia and industry.

Title: Using Game Design to Teach almost anything:  Tales from the Serious Game Design Summer School.

Abstract: Having run in its current format for the past 3 years, and in an extended format for the past 8, the Serious Game Design Summer School provides a highly successful model for teaching any subject that can be applied to a serious game. When students are motivated with the chance to create a digital game, the flow of creativity encompasses the desire to learn everything they can about the topic, even if the topic is not one they would normally or even willing choose. During this Presentation, Maja will detail the format of this successful course, provide ideas and tips of how to apply this model to any class at any level, and present some of the student work from the past two years.

Dr. Paul Pivec (Keynote Speaker)


Dr. Paul Pivec

After a highly successful career in computer technology spanning some three decades, Paul Pivec embarked on a Masters degree in Game Design which led him to a scholarship to a highly acclaimed Australian University, where he continued his research into Education Technology, and more specifically, Designing Games to Teach.  Paul worked with disabled students, hard-core gamers, teachers from many disciplines, and utilized his industry contacts.

Now based in Europe, Paul has returned to industry where he designs and develops Web and Mobile applications for the Music industry, the Business sector, and, of course, Games for Entertainment and Education. Paul is a well-known and entertaining speaker and his keynote promises to be one of the highlights of the conference.

Title: The Digital Me Project: A Revolutionary Game-Based Method to Offset Learning Disabilities.

Abstract: In his PhD thesis, Dr. Paul Pivec investigated the correlation between time spent playing digital games and cognitive ability, arguing for the capacity to increase cognitive ability through game play and, hence, to increase the capacity to learn.  As part of his approach to the topic Paul studied movement-based games such as DDR, quantifying the ability to improve cognitive skills. He analyzed multiplayer games such as CounterStrike, and monitored the reflection phase of a mission, recording the level of cognitive improvement.  Paul also developed horror story games for his research and compared the level of immersion provided by the sense of suspense with the level of cognitive skill increase. This research has now culminated in the “Digital Me” project, an initiative using a game design that is proven to offset learning disabilities which can be tailored to areas such as ADHD, Autism, and the cognitive decline teenagers experience after chemotherapy.  Paul will, as part of his keynote, explain design principles such as the Adaptive Intelligence Module (AIM™) and Active Intuitive Scaffolding (AIS™) that are the core to this revolutionary application.

Professor Carlos Vaz de Carvalho (Keynote Speaker)

Prof. Carlos Vaz de Carvalho

Prof. Carlos Vaz de Carvalho

Carlos Vaz de Carvalho has been a Professor for some 24 years in the Computer Engineering Department of the Instituto Superior de Engenharia do Porto (ISEP), the School of Engineering of the Porto Polytechnic in Portugal. He has responsibility there for several disciplines in the fields, variously, of Algorithms, Programming and Multimedia and is the lead promoter of the Graphics and Multimedia branch of the Master’s Degree in Computer Engineering.

As a researcher Carlos worked at INESC (Group on Computer Graphics), a private R&D organization, between 1988 and 1996 and, since then, has developed a scientific career in the field of Technology Enhanced Learning. He is currently the Director of the R&D Group GILT (Graphics, Interaction and Learning Technologies) in ISEP. Carlos has authored over 140 publications and communications, including nine books (as author and editor) and participated in more than 20 national and European projects, assuming the coordination of five of them. He is currently coordinator of the SEGAN – Serious Games Network, GABALL – Game based Language Learning and eCITY European projects, all in the area of Serious Games. He was conference chair of ECGBL 2013, the European Conference on Game-Based Learning and he is the Editor in Chief of the EAI Transaction on Serious Games journal.

He served as Vice President of Computer Engineering Department from 2000 to 2001 and was Head of that Department between 2003 and 2005. He was e-learning Director (2001-2005) of ISEP and previously directed (1997-2000) the Distance Education Unit of the Polytechnic Institute of Porto.

Title: Games: Are they serious?

Abstract:  Games are organized and ruled environments where players must overcome challenges and face opponents (real or game characters) to achieve victory. Games offer an incredibly immersive and engaging environment where users “learn by doing” improving personal and social skills like decision-making, strategy thinking, teamwork, leadership and collaboration. This keynote speech will focus on the use of commercial games for competence and skill development and will argue, in this context, for the educational benefit of games, like first person shooters, which are considered somehow undesirable or even outrightly “evil”.

Alphonsus Keary

Alfie Keary has over 30 years ICT (Information Communications Technologies) experience, is a published author and director of Informa Europe. His activities with Informa Europe have included the business development of cloud services; ICT consulting and education ser­vices and interactive web based learning projects. Alfie has taken numerous industry specific training programmes in ICT, has studied and lectured at the Irish Management Institute (IMI) and has completed an Enterprise Development Programme managed by the Dublin Institute of Technology.

Alfie is a graduate of University College Cork, the National College of Ireland, National University of Ireland Galway and Regis University, Denver, Colorado, USA.  In 2010, Alfie graduated with an MSc degree in Software Engineering and Database Technologies (MScSED), a joint degree from NUI-Galway and Regis University. Since then he has been advancing his research in computer mediated communications (CMC).

In 2012, Alfie was awarded a full time PhD Risam scholarship by the Cork Institute of Technology, Ireland.  In returning to full-time education, his work now involves research into perceptual and affective computing, machine learning, artificial intelligence (AI) and brain computer interfaces (BCIs); how these technologies are interrelated and how they will drive future CMC cloud innovations and services.

Paul Walsh

Dr Paul Walsh is an accomplished academic and a leading technical architect with extensive experience in designing and implementing a range of IT Systems. He has published numerous peer reviewed international computer science articles and led and organised academic conferences and committees. He has successfully designed enterprise systems that are secure, auditable and compliant to FDA standards and is a Microsoft Certified Professional and a certified Project Management Professional. He has architected and implemented Web and CD-ROM E-Learning Software for Literacy Education, www.literacytools.ie (Golden Spider Shortlist), www.readwritenow.ie, Literacy Tools, Technology@Work, Read Write Now I and Read Write Now II E-Learning Applications. He is also honoured to be an International .NET Association (INETA, http://www.ineta.org/) speaker on the latest Microsoft technologies.

Title: Role of Affective Computing in Game Based Learning.

Abstract: Objectives of presentation:  Presentation objectives are (1) to provide an introduction to affective (emotional) computing and its potential for serious games development; (2) discuss research on serious games and how they benefit from affective computing capabilities;  (3) introduce an innovative SDK with potential for affect software engineering; (4) present recent research experiments/tests carried out by CIT in the affective computing field.

Relevance to iGBL 2014: The presentation primarily relates to the ‘technology and games development’  theme of the  conference but also has application to the pedagogy,  educational and social aspects of game based learning.  In particular the presentation will provide insights and discussion around technologies,  tools,  platforms and alternative controls/interfaces for serious games development.

Target audience: Expected attendees will range across software developers,  gaming engineers and designers,  educational theorists, games and AI researchers  and games interface specialists.

Presentation outline:

Introduction to affective computing (AC):  This section provides an introduction to AC with practical examples, research and discussion from the field.

Review of AC and games related research:  Examples will be provided from current peer reviewed literature that presents leading research on the increasing integration of affective computing capabilities into software games engineering.

Serious games and AC:  This section introduces a number of examples of serious games  where AC has a pivotal role. Examples will include a specific GBL project that CIT is involved with, namely the S-Cube EU project. Discussion will focus around current requirements/limitations and the justification for introducing real-time affective functionality.

Platform for AC development:  Intel officially launched their Real Sense SDK platform in 2014.  They claim that their SDK will be used by developers to engineer seeinghearing and feeling capabilities into next generation software systems.  Real Sense platform capabilities, application examples and its future potential for innovative games development will be presented.

AC research using Real Sense:  This section presents relevant findings from research experiments conducted at CIT using the Real Sense SDK for real-world affective and perceptual recognition.

AC and games development futures:  This wrap-up will provide a presentation summary, a look to the future and an overview of on-going AC related research projects at CIT.

AAAC-IRL: Finally a call will be made for an expression of interest from attendees in relation to a new network organisation to be established under the Irish Research Council’s (IRC) New Foundations grant scheme, recently awarded to CIT.  The inaugural research network, to be known as the Association for the Advancement of Affective Computing – Ireland (AAAC-IRL) will be established during 2014 by CIT on behalf of the IRC.    

What attendees will learn from the presentation: Attendees new to the field of affective computing will take away a solid understanding of what AC is, how it is impacting on games development and how to get involved.  Those with existing expertise will gain new research insights, hear about new games, projects and software development platforms and will also learn from peer to peer interactions.

Alison Mc Namara

Alison Mc Namara is a doctoral candidate studying the impact gesture-based computing has in the mathematics classroom. She has a software engineering degree from NUI Galway as well as a Masters. After her masters she pursued work in the field of instructional design and digital resources for the second-level classroom. This focused her career in the area of other resources that could be used in the mathematics classroom and other classrooms in general.

Title: The road less travelled: a journey from the Sony PlayStation 3 Move to the Nintendo WiiMote.

Abstract: This presentation charts the trials and tribulations experienced when developing a three-dimensional (3D) game for the mathematics classroom using a gesture-based device. Initially conducting pilot studies and finally agreeing upon the Nintendo WiiMote as the gesture-based device for the game, this presentation relays practical tips for anyone who is interested in developing a low-cost piece of software that uses gesture as the input for the software.

The game created, known as, Maths Mission, is part of a doctoral study being conducted on students’ attitudes, motivations and perspectives towards mathematics at second-level. Each step taken in the study is part of a design-based research cycle, whereby, students were given the opportunity to offer feedback at each stage of the game development process. Each aspect of the game is designed with the students’ favourite mathematics topics in mind with a view to increasing their awareness of how useful mathematics is in real-world scenarios. This presentation briefly discusses the initial iterations of the design-based research cycle that collects information from students in order to gain an insight into the improvements that were made at each stage of the study. The initial iterations included piloting the software in second-level schools across Ireland to gain an insight into students’ attitudes, motivations and perspectives. Students’ attitudes, motivations and perspectives were then used to focus and refine the game with the eventual conclusion to use the Nintendo WiiMote over the PlayStation 3 Move.

This presentation briefly discusses the design-based research cycles from the initial proof-of-concept development in May 2012 to the final version of Maths Mission in February 2014. Finally, the future of Maths Mission is discussed and how it is then used as a tool in the latter stages of the doctoral study to discover any impact it may have on students’ attitudes, motivations and perspectives.

Diana Yifan Xu 

A researcher of Child-Computer Interaction (CCI), Serious Games and game related experiences.  Interested in games that people learn from, the importance of play, physical play and TUI (Tangible User Interfaces).  Her recent research interests are SEGA4D (Serious Games for Development), social aspects of games, e.g. collaboration and competition, game engagement and addiction.

Previously she has worked on several interdisciplinary projects including: mobile device and music for social inclusion of Children, Table-top games for young children, VLE Pop4Schools, digital TV for young children, broadband and technology for museums.  Her PhD is on Tangible Technology and child-centred evaluation method for capturing experience.

Janet C. Read

Janet Read is a Professor in Child Computer Interaction and is the Director of the Child Computer Interaction (ChiCI) research group at University of Central Lancashire (UCLan).  She is internationally known for her work on designing and evaluating technologies for children as well as for her work on text input with digital ink.

Prof. Read is chair of the International IFIP TC13 SIG on Interaction Design and Children and the Child Computer Interaction Community Chair for the prestigious ACM CHI Conference series.She has co-authored a key Elsevier text on Evaluating Children’s Technologies.  Her work with children as users of interactive technology helped to define a new research field and she has authored over 70 articles in the area of child computer interaction.  Prof. Read acts as a PI on several European and Research Council projects. Recent projects include UMSIC (EU FP7), SELEAG (EU LLLP), and Mad4Nrg (RCUK).

Title: Children designing Serious Game, ChiCI in Africa Project

Abstract: Serious Games have a broad implication in today’s society: from gamification and learning, to game elements to engage audiences, to market products and services offering new experience.  This presentation looks at children designing Serious Games and calls for interests of Serious Games for Development (SEGA4D).

A user-centered approach is used for the research, some important questions were asked at the initial stage of the research: who is the game for?  When, where and how the game is going to be played?  What is the added value of the SEGA4D process?

According to UN 2011 data, nearly 25% of the world population (1.7 out of 7 billion) is in extreme poverty.  Estimates from UNICEF in 2003 suggest that as many as 1.6 million children die each year from poor hygiene, mainly in less developed regions.  Poverty and related issues are serious matters that could only be gradually tackled by collective efforts.  We have initiated “ChiCI in Africa” project, to connect children in developed region to children in less developed rural Africa, and to bring Serious Games and green technologies to the local communities.

We have had participatory design sessions with UK children to design a game for children in African, which came out as a “Hand Wash” game, as according to them “effective hand-washing can be a life-saver”.  The project found that UK children predominantly focused on the learning aspects of the Serious Game during their design activities but they were also able to consider some of the game aspects.  They demonstrated understanding of instruction but were less aware of some of the other aspects of learning including feedback on understanding.  Involving children in the design of the Serious Game led to some insights that were included in the game that was subsequently built and brought to the children in Africa.  At the same time it was also a learning process for the UK children about the broad world, the importance of hygiene and children in other parts of the world.

The research explores game-based-learning at different levels: from the users’ learning of playing the game and from the Serious Game, the child designers’ learning about design and design process, and the researchers’ understanding of the technology used in situ and in use; all are interrelated.

This research calls for interests of Serious Games for Development (SEGA4D), from government agencies, policy makers, development funds, researchers, developers, teachers and etcetera.

Leanna Prater

Leanna Prater, M.A. Ed. is a doctoral candidate in Instructional Systems Design in the Department of Curriculum Instruction at the University of Kentucky College of Education.  Her research interests include digital game-based learning, new forms of authentic assessment and computational thinking. She currently works as a District Technology Resource Teacher for Fayette County Public Schools in Lexington, KY where she conducts professional development and provides supports to educators in the area of instructional technology.

Joan M. Mazur

Joan M. Mazur, Ph.D. is professor of Instructional Systems Design in the Department of Curriculum & Instruction at the University of Kentucky College of Education where she also serves as a director of the Digital Game-Based Learning P-20
Innovation Lab. Her research is primarily interdisciplinary and has focused on narrative forms of instruction, mediating technologies and inquiry, and recently on teacher professional development and coaching as part of the P-20 Innovation Initiative. Her work has been funded by NSF, NIOSH, DoDEA and several private foundations to support research to practice efforts.

Title: The Can You Create a Game Challenge: Connecting Curriculum to Student Authored Games.

Abstract: Game authoring software, such as MIT’s Scratch program, provides classroom teachers with free innovative tools to promote creative thinking, problem solving and non-routine thinking within the classroom. Historically, teachers have resisted the adoption of instructional technologies in their classrooms (Jen-Hwa, Clark & Ma, 2003; Laffey, 2004; Li ,2007). This trend continues in the appropriation of digital gaming for instruction and assessment (Chik, 2011).

This session will share a simple solution we created to easily analyze a learning target then evaluate it through a student game challenge. The Can You Create a Game Challenge, based on constructivist theory, combines the ability for students to demonstrate understanding of skills, problem solving and creativity with the teacher’s need to evaluate learning targets derived from deconstructed curriculum standards.  When carefully written, the game challenge uses a combination of game development/ designer constraints, player goals, narrative structures of a game and a student plan sheet for teachers to intentionally plan for and assess specific learning targets within student created games. Initially, we developed and implemented the Can You Create a Game Challenge as a model for teacher professional development on Scratch software.  The challenge demonstrated a connection between mandated curriculums and game authoring software. This work led us to a second component to the challenge: the development of the analyzing strategy for teachers to create their own game challenges. We then conducted a classroom pilot study on the game challenge design.  The session will include preliminary research findings of this work in progress including results from a pilot study using game challenges in the classroom, instructional design strategies for game based learning based on an inquiry model, using the challenge for formative and summative assessment and plans for additional research.

Dr. Lorraine Boran

Dr. Lorraine Boran, BA (Psych.), LL.B, Ph.D (Psych), Dip. (Law), Dip. (Statistics) is a lecturer in Psychology in the School of Nursing and Human Sciences, Dublin City University. Her research in applied areas of cognitive psychology includes education and mental health, with a focus on cognitive assessment, enhancement, rehabilitation and reserve.  She has published in the field of serious games and cognitive function in the healthy elderly and children with Autism Spectrum Disorder.

Aly Egan

Aly Egan has just completed her third year of studying Psychology (BSc) in Dublin City University. Her main interests within the course include cognitive and neuropsychology as well as research methods. She has completed a three month work placement as a research assistant with Dr. Lorraine Boran which was focused on researching brain training and its effects on clinical and non-clinical populations. Aly has just begun a three month internship with Dr. Sinéad Smyth which will be focused on incorporating elements of gamification into third level education to help reduce drop-out and failure rates.

Title: Brain Training and Gamification-Effect Size Matters:An analysis of brain training efficacy in healthy and clinical populations.


Computerized brain training that targets the brain’s executive function (EF) system (or the brain’s CEO), responsible for high-level thinking, problem-solving and decision-making, has been found to benefit individuals with EF impairment, such as Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD), as well as enhance cognition such as IQ in neurotypical individuals, (Klingberg et al., 2005; Jaeggi et al., 2008). More recent reviews reveal a lack of consistency among results of brain training studies, largely due to the differing methods used to train EF e.g. train mental updating; attention, memory etc. (Shipstead, Redick & Engle, 2012). Computerised brain training techniques vary widely in terms of the training programmes employed (e.g. frequency of training, training environment, gamified elements, challenge level), pre- and post-intervention test measures, involvement of active or passive control group(s), direct and indirect/transfer effects, and follow-up testing. The current review examines the efficacy or effect sizes efficacy of brain training using serious games as a function of training schedule and effects recorded across clinical and healthy samples. We also examine the use of gamified elements in brain training, and consider the implications of such interventions for cognitive enhancement in education. Our findings will be  of interest to individuals and educators with an interest in cognitive function and serious games inside and outside of the classroom.

Daire Ó Broin

Daire Ó Broin holds a Ph.D. in Computer Science from TCD, which focussed on approaches to developing the conditions of flow.  He has been a lecturer at IT Carlow since 2008, where he teaches on the Computer Games Development programme.  His research interests include increasing engagement and intrinsic motivation in games and learning.

Title: Gamifying Education

Abstract: In Project Based Learning, learners work in teams to produce a series of artefacts culminating in a final product, which is usually organised around a driving question.  Informal ethnography suggests that many students over-emphasise the product of a project to the detriment of learning.  Moreover, this is something that continues into the workplace (Keegan, 2001).  The problem is that what the students have learned is rarely available to them in future projects.  The question is: how can we encourage more of a focus on mastery rather than mostly focusing on the product?

A promising approach to addressing this problem is to design a gamified system – that is a system in which game elements are applied in non-game contexts to more engaging and fun (Deterding et al., 2011).  A set of requirements for the system were identified, using a standard HCI design process.  Chief among them were: (i) to represent a changing set of learning outcomes and (ii) to motivate students to achieve these outcomes, and (iii) to motivate students to help other students master those learning outcomes they themselves have already mastered.

We have designed, developed, and deployed a prototype of a gamified system meeting these requirements.  One such game element is a progression loop in which the learner’s learning outcomes are depicted using graphical representations which show his/her growth and journey to mastery.  Another is a points system which creates an engagement loop that motivates students to assist other students.  Learners can create learning resources for learning outcomes they mastered and these are assessed by other students and lecturers using a game like interface, where the learner obtains points from the learning objects depending on the quality and quantity, giving rise to a status structure similar to that of stackoverflow.

A study was carried out with a group of third level Computing students in a Project Based Learning context.  After using the system for 2 weeks, a survey was administered including measuring user’s perception of the value of the goals of the system, the importance of reflection on learning and sharing learning, and usability.  This talk describes the goals of the system, its design, and the design the study and the results of the study in the context of the research question (how successful the game-like system was in encouraging more of a focus on mastery rather than mostly focusing on the product.)

Peter Weadack

Peter Weadack studied Architecture in UCD before transferring to accountancy and qualifying as a Chartered Management Accountant (CIMA) in 2000. He was employed in television, industry and banking before working as a freelance financial trainer and mentor with several business support agencies and professional bodies. In 2007 Peter joined the Faculty of Humanities & Enterprise at the Institute of Art, Design & Technology (IADT) Dun Laoghaire as an Accounting Lecturer on the Entrepreneurship and Arts Management business degree programmes. Accounting on these programmes is introductory and applied in nature. Peter’s teaching is entirely computer laboratory based using Excel, Bullet accounting software and Blackboard.  Peter has a Postgraduate Diploma in Applied eLearning from DIT. His research interests include the gamification of accounting education, data visualisation, storytelling and play.

Title: “Pimp my Blackboard”

Abstract: I use Blackboard to upload accounting theory PowerPoints and Excel exercises for my students. A digital depository many of my students only access before a class test or the August repeats. I post announcements regularly but usually accompany them with texts alerting students to log in and check. I am an advocate of VLEs but have always found Blackboard lacking in terms of user-friendliness, reliability and contemporaneity, thus my grudging unkempt participation – until I took a Technology Enhanced Learning course (LIN/IADT) where the main assessable deliverable was a Blackboard module. Finally I would design a module properly – and experiment with Gamification attributes – and (in theory) pimp the user experience. I wanted to give it a palpable narrative and flow, with the quest being “getting to the assessment” – but along the way meeting some minor obstacles: quizzes, theory sprites, which increase in difficulty and emulate “levelling up”. The first quiz is a first class treasure hunt where students have to click into every nook of the Blackboard module and find words, dates, items – in other words familiar themselves with the module – actually read. Feedback is built in to the quizzes and assessments and hyperlinks are positioned to bring the student back to the beginning or the place yet to master. Whether students are collaborating or competing with each other as they eye up each other’s Blackboard screen or working separately from home they can connect, share and post on the discussion boards linked to assessments or the twitter feed. The challenge was to achieve as much of this as possible using clunky, dated …. Blackboard.

This thirty minute workshop will appeal to anyone who shares the sentiments above – it will begin with a demonstration and walk-through of the Blackboard module, followed by participants (max 8) logging on and exploring themselves.

Quick tour: the entry point of the site (aka on-boarding) is set to Dashboard, position zero. The theme is connectivity: Calendar/Announcements/Twitterfeed/Forum. One page naturally leads and links to the next – a short animation about the course entitled “10 Steps to Success in Accounting 3”, followed by Assessment. The brief is on the face of the Blackboard page, giving the impression that Blackboard is not just somewhere for hoarding things, a simple collection of links – but a living tableau of the course – this format also works well in the Blackboard App. Quizzes are divided into different levels of difficulty to encourage students to level up and if they wish, they can listen to some ambient white noise while doing so. At the point of assessment submission there is a “last minute” checklist of important criteria. There are other pages and interactions – and the course ends with a feedback survey and links to onward study.  The project was an opportunity to explore some of the gadgetry of Blackboard and pimp it with some Gamification mechanics – which resulted in better pedagogical design.  But more importantly, building it was engaging, addictive, fun! (sound familiar?)

Julie Anne O’Connell Kent 

Julie Anne O’Connell Kent is currently completing her BSc. (Hons) in Psychology in the School of Nursing and Human Sciences, Dublin City University. She is currently collaborating with a number of researchers, including Dr. Lorraine Boran, Dr. Ruth Stanley and Dr. Fiachra O’Brolacháin on a number of projects. Her research focuses on the applied ethics of brain training software and developing a music-based brain training software; and also the application of serious games to cognitive fitness and academic performance in children and older adults.

Dr. Lorraine Boran

Dr. Lorraine Boran, BA (Psych.), LL.B, Ph.D (Psych), Dip. (Law), Dip. (Statistics) is a lecturer in Psychology in the School of Nursing and Human Sciences, Dublin City University. Her research in applied areas of cognitive psychology includes education and mental health, with a focus on cognitive assessment, enhancement, rehabilitation and reserve.  She has published in the field of serious games and cognitive function in the healthy elderly and children with Autism Spectrum Disorder. 

Dr. Ruth Stanley

Dr. Ruth Stanley, BMus, MA (Mus), Ph.D (Mus), LRSM (Piano) is a musician and musicologist, with a research focus on the history of music in Ireland and Northern Ireland in the twentieth century, especially pertaining to issues of broadcasting and identity. She has contributed to the Encyclopedia of Music in Ireland. She is music consultant to the brain training software, Neuronotes. She is currently teaching piano at CIT Cork School of Music and is a music examiner for the State Exams Commission and the Associated Board of the Royal Schools of Music.

Title: Neuronotes: Cognitive enrichment through music-based brain-training games

Abstract: Enhancing the executive function system in the brain through the use of game-based interventions has captured the attention of researchers and the general public alike in recent years. The brain’s executive function (EF) system is similar to an air-traffic controller – it is responsible for managing how goal-relevant information is given priority processing (e.g. monitor air space for target planes), whilst goal-irrelevant information is ignored. EFs include the ability to sustain attention, regulate impulses, update information and be mentally flexible – processes key to academic achievement (e.g. problem solving) (Miyake et al., 2000).

Brain training using music instruction in clinical (e.g. stroke patients) and non-clinical (e.g. neurotypical children) groups has demonstrated significant cognitive advantages following training.  For example, music training can lead to better EF control (Hyde et al., 2009; Moreno & Bidelman, 2013; Thaut et al., 2009); enhanced speech processing (Besson et al., 2011; Strait et al., 2012) and enhanced verbal intelligence (e.g. Moreno et al., 2011).

Similarly, in a separate body of literature, computerised EF training (serious games) has also been shown to enhance cognitive functions such as EF and academic performance (e.g. Klingberg, 2010); however, transfer effects to enhanced IQ remain controversial (e.g. Reddick et al., 2013).

We have developed a novel brain training game based on the principles of music and EF training – called  Neuronotes –  to train impulse control (core EF) using a combination of visual images and tones. A pilot will be conducted in DCU with two separate groups of registered summer students: healthy older adults attending the Intergenerational programme; and gifted children attending the Centre for Talented Youth, Ireland aged 12-16.  Both pilots will take place over a three-week period. We present the protocol for our programme, as well as the rationale underpinning our principled approach to training EFs using a tone (music) based serious game. A practical demonstration of the learning and training phases of Neuronotes will be also be presented. The implications of this targeted brain training for cognitive advantage and academic performance in children and lifelong learners will also be discussed.

James Corbett

This workshop is presented by James Corbett, co-founder of MissionV. MissionV is a start-up business supported by Enterprise Ireland through the New Frontiers incubation programme to build an online platform for learning through virtual reality. James is a graduate of University of Limerick with a degree in Computer Engineering. He has been working in the IT sector for 19  years including stints at Apple Computer, Motorola and Analog Devices. In 2011 MissionV was supported by the Department of Education and Skills to run a pilot programme in 20 schools across Ireland.

Title: How to build your own Virtual Reality learning experience

Abstract: MissionV will run an hour long workshop that gives participants the opportunity to build their own Virtual Reality learning experience.  Participants will then be offered the opportunity, at the end of the workshop to view their work through the Oculus Rift virtual reality headset. Facebook purchased Oculus for €2bn in April.

MissionV is running a beta programme with 11 primary schools around Ireland which are using it’s virtual reality platform (based on Opensimulator) to give students the opportunity to create their own interactive learning simulations.

In 90 minutes participants will be shown how to build a virtual reconstruction of Clonmacnoise. They construct buildings and artefacts and texturize them appropriately. They will terraform land and rivers. They will program interactive elements. And when finished they will be among the first in Ireland to view their own virtual reality creation through the Oculus Rift VR headset.

This workshop is for teachers and trainers wishing to learn how they can use an open-source platform to build a fully immersive virtual reality experiences at low cost.

Dr. Jože Rugelj

Dr. Jože Rugelj is Associate Professor of Computer Science in Education at the University of Ljubljana and a head of the Chair for computer science didactics at the Faculty of Education. His main research areas include use of ICT in education, cognitive aspects of multimedia support for learning, serious games in education, and innovative approaches to teaching computer science. He has actively participated in 7 European and 4 national projects on e-learning and serious games. He published the results of his research activities in 11 papers published in international scientific journals, 58 papers in conference proceedings and 13 chapters in scientific monographies. His papers have been cited 41 times in Wos ans SCOPUS. He has been supervisor to 6 Ph.D. students.

Matej Zapušek

Matej Zapušek is Teaching Assistant of Computer Science in Education at the University of Ljubljana. He received his Bachelor of Science degree in 2008. In diploma titled “Videolectures” he studied behaviouristic, cognitive and constructivist learning theories to find aims for designing video learning materials for which he received a national award ‘Prešernova nagrada’. He is currently a PhD student at University of Ljubljana, Faculty of computer and information science. His main research areas include argument based machine learning, intelligent tutoring systems for teaching programming, serious games in education and teaching programming with serious games. He participated in 4 European projects on e-learning and serious games as an author of content, lab activities designer, coder and story writer.

Title: SADDIE – Design approach for developing educational adventure games

Abstract: The main goal of this presentation is to present a method for designing educational adventure games – SADDIE – which was used by teacher students at the Faculty of Education, University of Ljubljana to develop serious games for computer science education. The method has two important outcomes. The first outcome is serious game itself. This is a side effect of the main goal, i.e. to motivate our students to learn actively in an efficient way through carefully refined process of active engagement in the game design and development process, which result in students’ improvement of competences that are crucial for teachers. Such competences include the ability to determine learning objectives that are consistent with the curriculum, the selection of appropriate teaching approaches and their implementation in the learning process, preparation of feedback, evaluation of acquired knowledge and evaluation of the learning process.

We have been using the serious games project approach in our two-semester course “Use of ICT in education” for 6 years. During this time, many interesting ideas have been developed and our course is improving as well as students’ projects and the resulting serious games. The best of them are presented in our web portal <http://hrast.pef.uni-lj.si/igre&gt;.

SADDIE (Specification, Analysis, Design, Development, Instructional and Evaluation) defines the framework phases. The game design begins with the specification phase where students identify learning goals in the computer science curriculum for primary school that are challenging for students. The analysis phase focuses on analysing the specification, selecting target audience and available resources, and mapping learning goals with game goals to prepare important information for the design phase. In the design phase detailed scenarios are prepared with dialogues that integrate the requirements and recommendations from the specification phase. Students are then required to design all the graphical elements needed for the games such as backgrounds for the scenes, artefacts and all characters. In the development phase, a game is produced using a game machine such as e-Adventure and an appropriate programming environment such as Scratch, Alice or Flash. Once the game is finished, it needs to be integrated with the correct teaching and learning instructional design. Usually different accompanying activities need to be prepared. Students carry out all these activities during their practical training in schools. The evaluation phase is taking place in parallel with the implementation or immediately after this phase. Students need to measure the efficiency of the alternative learning approach, usually comparing it to the traditional one, and to get feedback from the players. This allows them to determine whether the objectives from Specifications have been achieved and to improve the quality of their products.

The results are very promising. Students from all previous generations acknowledged after completion of the project that they invested in the project more time than anticipated, but they have really learned a lot and enjoyed the project activities. Teachers from Slovene primary schools daily send us acknowledgments, because we have prepared good learning materials for their pupils and many of them ask us to participate in our workshops on serious games design. All these results allow us to reasonably reject the claims of many sceptics among our teachers who still believe that playing (or producing) games in school means loss of time and that it cannot be an effective way of learning.

Bernie Barber

Bernie is an accomplished Compliance, Quality and CSER (Corporate Social & Environmental Responsibility) professional with qualifications in Applied Science (Physics & Maths), Lean Sigma (Black Belt) and Supply Chain Management (Higher Diploma). Bernie has >25 year’s experience in the ICT sector and has worked in a variety of Research & Development, Quality & Compliance roles managing suppliers, customers and internal projects and processes in an electronics manufacturing environment. Before joining Tyco last year, Bernie was a Senior Director with global responsibility for environmental & compliance programs at Logitech, where she worked for 22 years.

Title: Tyco Compliance Education 2016 – Incorporating GBL

Abstract: This presentation will give an insight into how an education program, training 70k employees across 50 countries in 20 languages every year, has been reviewed and redesigned with a focus on training effectiveness and making the training more relevant and engaging

for trainees. Bernie will outline the review process and the rationale for the proposed changes which are based on cognitive theory, best practice and current trends in compliance education. She will discuss the current state vs. future plans for compliance education

at Tyco and some of the challenges that driving innovative change in this environment can bring. The presentation will also outline how, with the help of local colleges, she plans to incorporate GBL as a transformational element in the future Tyco compliance education program. Some notes are offered and inputs welcomed on early outlines of the game and its role in the overall training process.

This presentation offers a corporate perspective on the key benefits and challenges of game-based learning. Participating will gain an insight into the early efforts of a major transnational company to engage with game-based learning and gamification as a way to answer a range of learner and company requirements with regard to greater interactivity, “fun factor”/engagements, adaptivity, tracking, evaluation etc.  In context of the conference’s theme of “Pedagogy, Educational and Social issues”, the presenter will offer notes and reflections with regard, variously, to the pedagogical underpinnings of game based learning, its assessment and evaluation, and possible organisational issues in the implementation of games within a corporate training setting. Under the theme of “Technology and Game Development” some early thoughts will be offered with regard to the design process of moving from a traditional corporate training model to one that incorporates significant game-based learning aspects.

Azita Iliya Abdul Jabbar 

Azita received her Bachelor of Arts degree in Teaching English as a Second Language (BA TESL) and her Master of Arts degree in Human Resource Management (MA HRM) from the Hawaii Pacific University, Honolulu, Hawaii, USA. She also received her Postgraduate Diploma in Research Methods from the University of Bristol, UK. She carries many years of experience in the education and instructional design field. She has been an instructional designer for over ten years. Prior to pursuing her PhD at Waterford Institute of Technology (WIT), Ireland, she was involved in eLearning project management in corporate sector and courseware design for schools in Malaysia. Her interest in information and instructional design has led her to research and learn more about new methods of teaching and learning using technology, specifically in computer gaming. She is always keen to apply them to design strategies for engaging learning in all levels of education, particularly in primary and secondary levels.

Dr Patrick Felicia

Patrick Felicia, PhD, is a lecturer, course leader and researcher at Waterford Institute of Technology, where he teaches and supervises postgraduate students. He obtained his MSc in Multimedia Technology in 2003 and PhD in Computer Science in 2009 from University College Cork, Ireland. His research interests and expertise are mainly in Game-Based Learning, Multimedia, Educational Psychology and Instructional Design. He has served on program committees for international Game-Based Learning and Technology-Enhanced Learning conferences. He is editor-in-chief of the International Journal of Game-Based Learning (IJGBL), and is also editor of the Handbook of Research on Improving Learning and Motivation through Educational Games: Multidisciplinary Approaches, published by IGI.

Title: A pupil pilot survey to identify how games may be facilitated in the classroom

Abstract: Game-based learning (GBL) in primary and secondary schools is seldom used by teachers due to several obstacles faced by instructors. This lack of use of GBL solutions, expressed in several studies (Felicia, 2011; Kearney & Wastiau, 2009) is possibly due to a lack of familiarity with and/or guidelines and best practices for this approach. In this presentation, the authors investigate how GBL environments for primary education in Ireland can be successfully designed and facilitated, (i.e. best practices) from the pupils’ perspectives; it looks specifically at the aspects that children use and appreciate for both formal and informal learning environments.  This pilot study which involved 52 respondents from an Irish primary schoolwas designed to identify the elements that motivate pupils to learn, and that keep them engaged and involved. The survey has two parts. Part one comprise closed questions (e.g.: Yes/No, Likert scales, Multiple choice) and part two open questions (e.g.: what games they enjoy or do not enjoy and why). While the results are still preliminary, several trends were identified (e.g.: pupils seem to prefer stories and comics, most use computer merely for gameplay, read only when assigned by the teacher), and provide interesting insights into the way pupils enjoy, acquire, and share information (e.g.: use of Google and talk about what is read with friends). The survey also revealed the activities pupils consider entertaining, and the features make learning fun. In addition to interesting findings on what/how pupils read, play and learn, the results also revealed some limitations in the design of the survey that ought to be addressed in the large-scale survey (e.g.: pupils needed input to answer open ended questions as they have limited vocabularies for open questions). In the presentation, the authors will discuss the impact and limitations of their approach; they will then analyze the results of this preliminary study, providing both descriptive and statistical analyses of the data, and explaining how these can be used to design more effective game-based learning experiences, that both teach and entertain. This presentation matches the conference objectives as it supports GBL research towards designing for engaging experiences. The audience will be able to understand how to best set-up the classroom and learn about successful approaches to motivate pupils.

Chinedu Obikwelu

Chinedu Obikwelu is currently a PhD candidate with the Child-Computer Interaction group at the University of Central Lancashire. His research area covers scaffolding in serious games and its effect on gameplay and learning experience. He has an aptitude for graphics design. Though he is currently into game design, he specializes in website design.  He is currently interested in Game-Based Learning and has publications in this field. He has been involved in the review of papers for journals and has presented his work in various conferences.

Dr Gavin Sim

Dr Gavin Sim is a Senior Lecturer in Human Computer Interaction at the University of Central Lancashire. He is a member of the Child-Computer Interaction group (ChiCI) within the university. His main research interests are in the area of educational technology, games, user experience and usability. He is currently involved in a project analyzing long-term user experience of serious games with primary school children. He has published extensively in international conferences and journals. He is an active reviewer for journals and conferences within Human Computer Interaction and Educational Technology. He is secretary to the BCS Interaction group and co-chair of the British HCI Conference for 2014.

Title: Investigating the advantage of guidance-fading in Game-Based Learning

Abstract: In scaffolding, full support (guidance) is given to the learner where he/she is still weak and withdrawn bit by bit as his/her knowledge fortifies (Martens & Maciuszek, 2013). The process of withdrawing this support or guidance is referred to as fading. There are a few attempts at introducing fading to serious games, with the view that it would improve game-based learning (GBL).  But these attempts have faced considerable challenges and misappropriation. These challenges revolve around the complexity issues in the decomposition of the game’s core concept into bits and ordering the presentation of these bits. In GBL fading is often considered as an abrupt switch from guidance to problems(Thomas & Michael, 2010). This is a misuse of the concept, as fading is the gradual removal of guidance (worked example) not an abrupt switch from guidance (worked examples). This misappropriation could strip fading of its potential to cognitively absorb the player-learner in the course of serious game-play. Depending on the nature of the serious game, guidance may involve single or multiple game elements. Thus, where a single game element is involved, fading would entail the gradual diminishing of that element; and where multiple elements are involved fading would entail a gradual removal of these elements.

“Renkl, Atkinson, Maier and Staley (2002) found that a fading out procedure was superior to an abrupt switch from worked examples to problems”(Sweller, Ayres, Kalyuga, & Chandler, 2003). The hypothesized advantage of gradually reducing guidance during serious gameplay was empirically examined in our pilot study involving eighteen children. Three modes of scaffolding were compared in this study – gradual fading out; abrupt switch; no scaffolding. These modes were designed into the “What-Eat-What” (WEW) – a game designed to introduce children to the food-chain concept. Six children were randomly assigned to each mode. The outcome showed that children playing in the gradual fading out mode were more cognitively absorbed in the serious gameplay. The highest mean score for immersion and appropriateness of challenge in this mode is a reflection of cognitive absorption. The mean scores for flow in the three modes were relatively close.  For the purpose of this study, the “What-Eat-What” (WEW) (a single-scenario serious game) was designed with the three different modes.

Intricacies of fading include what should fade? And when it should fade? These were attended to by using colours as the main coaching element in the WEW game. For the fading out mode, the colours are gradually removed as the player-learner become proficient in gameplay – adaptive fading. In the abrupt switch mode all the colours are removed immediately the player-learner hit a set target. In the no scaffolding mode the coaching element (colours) is absent.


Valerie Butler

Valerie Butler is a lecturer at the Galway Mayo Institute of Technology in the Department of Maths and Computing. Her research interests include: 3D collaborative virtual environments (CVEs), Computer Supported Cooperative Work (CSCW) and complex problem solving.




Dr Sam Redfern

Dr. Sam Redfern is a university academic at NUI Galway and a computer games developer, with 30 years games development experience and more than 15 years academic research experience. He has published a number of award-winning leisure games and achieved numerous academic and industry publications in areas such as serious games and virtual collaboration technologies, artificial intelligence, and digital image processing.

Title: The role of place in knowledge re-use for practice-based and situated learning

Abstract: This work explores the value of prior knowledge in the problem solving process. It will examine the contributions of past processes in making subsequent ones more efficient and better informed. Virtual environments offer the possibility to provide problem-solvers with media-rich access mechanisms to past events.

Much of the research has been informed by the works of Allen, Lave and Wenger, Gertler, Gero and Clarke and Chambers, all of whom explore through varying theories and techniques, how knowledge is acquired experientially.

Much of one’s knowledge and expertise is developed through practice, experience, the re-iteration of a process and the refinement of subsequent processes until mastery or, at least, competence is attained. These refinements involve applying (and removing redundant) knowledge gained in previous processes to improve the current one. Much of the knowledge that has not been previously externalised and recorded, only exists at the moment of activation or recreation. Research has demonstrated that much of the knowledge acquired during each process is lost afterwards. Prior knowledge comprises the vast proportion of all problem-solving processes. Therefore an inability to capture and re-use this knowledge has significant implications. Furthermore it impedes opportunities for new knowledge creation.

For our study we are developing a 3D puzzle game, the Gordian knot, within a 3D environment to determine the value of capturing problem-solving processes to assist knowledge re-use. The Gordian knot puzzle is a twelve piece puzzle with eleven identical parts. The puzzle is sufficiently intricate to ensure that the solution is not readily recalled when the problem solver makes subsequent attempts, having disassembled and assembled it once.

A physical version of the game will be tested in two physical environments, one of which will be re-used in subsequent tests along with any supporting documentation that the problem-solver wishes to store.

The purpose of this investigation is twofold:

  • Firstly to assess the value of providing problem solvers with access to their previous problem solving processes. The environment in which the 3D puzzle resides will have a recall function that allows the problem solver to access previous attempts.
  • Secondly to determine the role of the surrounding environment insupporting memory, knowledge re-capture and access to tacit knowledge. Engagement with the physical environments and the 3D environment will be evaluated to determine the dynamic interplay between the problem-solvers and their world.

Problem solving is solution driven. The goal is to solve the problem rather than capture the learning that is invested in its realisation. Learning is a by-product of the process. It is anticipated that the findings from this study will demonstrate that providing access to prior knowledge in its native form will enhance the problem solving process.

This presentation will centre on the elusive nature of tacit knowledge and the role 3D environments may play in facilitating a more intuitive approach to knowledge capture and reuse. It may be of interest to those who develop or research virtual environments for the purposes of collaboration and/or problem solving by examining the development of one of the key concepts of our research, engagement with the surrounding environment and its role in facilitating the problem solving process.