Just a Spoon Full of Sugar? Gamification and Education

Jane:                      "It is a game, isn't it, Mary Poppins?"

Mary Poppins:          "Well, it depends on your point of view. You see,

In every job that must be done,

There is an element of fun.

You find the fun, and snap!

The job's a game.

And every task you undertake

Becomes a piece of cake

A lark, a spree it's very clear to see

That a spoonful of sugar helps the medicine go down

The medicine go down

Medicine go down ..."

 

In the musical film "Mary Poppins" (1964) the nanny introduces the two kids – Jane and Michael Banks– to a technique how to transform a dreadful job into a joyful game. As she explains in her song "snap!", medicine tastes so much better with tons of sugar. One could argue, that this is what serious games and gamification are all about – designing a spoonful of sugar and adding it to the "serious" content.

Continue reading
308 Hits
0 Comments

Healthcare is Not a Game, but it Should Be

Healthcare is serious business. In the United States, healthcare costs eat up 18% of the GDP and are rising quickly. The US spends twice as much per person as any other country on healthcare but has outcomes that rank at the bottom of the peer nations. Private insurers, federal payers, and large healthcare systems dominate the conversation. Somewhere at the bottom of all this is the patient.

Continue reading
101 Hits
0 Comments

Gamifying the Search for Strategic Surprise

Dr. John Main will present DARPA’s gamification efforts at the ARIT 2017, seeking to engage with Austria’s scientific and innovation diaspora in Austin, Texas. The article below was initially published by the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency.

Continue reading
107 Hits
0 Comments

Designing games that change perceptions, opinions and even players’ real-life actions

 

In 1904, Lizzie Magie patented “The Landlord’s Game,” a board game about property ownership, with the specific goal of teaching players about how a system of land grabbing impoverishes tenants and enriches property owners. The game, which went on to become the mass-market classic “Monopoly,” was the first widely recognized example of what is today called “persuasive play.”

Continue reading
133 Hits
0 Comments

Getting Serious with Games

 

Games are fun. And games are big business. With more than $91B[1] in global consumer spending in 2016, more people are playing more games across more genres than ever before. Players are increasingly choosing mobile game experiences above more traditional PC and console games.

Yet despite the massive year-over-year growth of the gaming industry, most people are unaware of the reach and impact games are having beyond entertainment.

[1] https://venturebeat.com/2016/12/21/worldwide-game-industry-hits-91-billion-in-revenues-in-2016-with-mobile-the-clear-leader/

Continue reading
116 Hits
0 Comments

Mastery, Motivation and the Merit Behind Game-Based Learning

 

Remember the days of Oregon Trail? How about Where in the World is Carmen Sandiego? While learning games have been around for decades, technological advancements are creating an entirely more modern gaming experience - one where quality mirrors the digital literacy expectations of today's student, one that entices the student to play and play again, and one that aligns a game's outcomes with the goals of the course.  

Continue reading
190 Hits
0 Comments

Elisa Arthofer: The Fascination of “Frizzled” Receptors, G-proteins, and Human Health

 

When Elisa Arthofer finished her PhD in early 2017, some might have expected her to pursue her passion for travel. After all, during Gymnasium, she had spent time with a host family in Australia, later returning to Australia for six months while working on her bachelor’s degree. Even her PhD program was an international collaboration between Sweden’s Karolinska Institute and the US National Institutes of Health. Yet Arthofer – who, while growing up in St. Ulrich bei Steyr, “didn’t care too much for the natural sciences” and had “always wanted to become a lawyer” – segued directly into post-doctoral research. And she clearly finds her current career fascinating. “Even after many years of working with cells in the lab … I really really enjoy looking at these cells under the microscope, every single day.”

Continue reading
284 Hits
0 Comments

Michaela Willi: Making Module Mutations in Mouse Mammary Cells

 

Mention “mutated DNA” to non-scientists and they’ll think of something harmful, genetic errors to be avoided at all costs. Mention “mutated DNA” to geneticists, and the reaction may be quite different, especially since the advent of CRISPR. This new genome-editing tool lets researchers modify the base sequence of DNA at very precise locations – essentially, producing tailor-made mutations – even in living organisms! Michaela Willi and her colleagues, for example, use CRISPR to generate mice with mutations in a super-enhancer that controls activity of a gene in mammary gland cells.

Continue reading
296 Hits
0 Comments

Alexander Rauscher: Applying Physics in Medical Imaging

 

“I’m an MRI scientist with physics training, which is very helpful to advance MRI,” explains Alexander Rauscher. Growing up in Salzburg, Rauscher’s interest in medicine was triggered by his civilian service work as a nurse in a Salzburg hospital. Combine that with his academic training in engineering physics, a large dash of neuroscience, and a solid grasp of signal processing, and you end up with a 2015 recipient of the Canada Research Chair (CRC) Tier II award in Developmental Neuroimaging! You also get an ARIT poster that highlights several facets of Rauscher’s recent work with magnetic resonance imaging (MRI).

Continue reading
410 Hits
0 Comments

Tobias Niederwieser: Growing Little Green Algae in Space

 

When the pilots let Tobias Niederwieser sit in the cockpit as the plane approached Vienna, they didn’t know that the experience would change the 8-year old’s life! Seventeen years later, Niederwieser has a private pilot certificate and is pursuing his PhD in Aerospace Engineering Sciences at the University of Colorado, Boulder! And his fascination with flying now extends far beyond the Earth’s atmosphere: “First impressed by planes, that interest moved over to human spaceflight,” he says of himself.

Continue reading
451 Hits
0 Comments

Philipp Haslinger: Measuring gravitational attraction in a vacuum

 

“In school, I was always looking for alternative solutions for mathematical or physical problems,” Philipp Haslinger (Recipient of the 2016 ASCINA Young Scientist Award) says, adding: “My teachers were not always very amused!” It’s likely that his childhood teachers in Großkrut, Lower Austria, would be impressed by his current pursuit of alternative solutions, as Haslinger applies his ingenuity to improving the measurement of tiny forces using atomic interferometry.

Continue reading
643 Hits
0 Comments

Marlies Meisel: Untangling cause and effect in immune diseases

 

Growing up in Grafensulz, Lower Austria, Marlies Meisel already had a deep interest in medical science and research. “I always wanted to know how the things work in the body and what happens when the body gets sick,” she says. Marlies had a strong personal incentive for understanding how the body works and why it gets sick.

Continue reading
808 Hits
0 Comments

Maximilian Kasy: Why would you add random noise?

 

Maximilian Kasy enjoys life on the edge or, more precisely, at the intersection: “…between applied research, statistical theory, and general methodological … issues,.” At a time when borders are much in the news, he finds it “very fruitful and exciting to cross the boundaries between these.”

Continue reading
564 Hits
0 Comments

Aleksandar Jovanovic: Geothermal energy as a force in urban redevelopment

 

Aleksandar Jovanovic’s career was inspired by his dual interest in natural science and the arts. Having competed in contests involving physics, music, geography, and ecology, he eventually chose a career in science – specifically, civil engineering and architecture. Here, he has found opportunities to “integrate [an] ethnographic approach to technology and develop novel methods in architectural research.”

Continue reading
681 Hits
0 Comments

Georg Winter: Using protein degradation to combat cancer

 

“Science is the thing that keeps me up all night,” said Georg Winter, reflecting on what inspired him to pursue a post-doc at Dana Farber Cancer Institute/ Harvard Medical School, and led to his present position at CeMM – the Research Center for Molecular Medicine of the Austrian Academy of Science. Winter clearly loves his chosen field: “It has always been great fun,” he says,” to spend long hours in the lab.” 

Continue reading
1016 Hits
0 Comments

Who should drive the data?

 

We probably agree that relevant, effectively usable “data” are one key ingredient to approaching the grand challenges of the 21st century. Their central role is demonstrated daily in areas ranging from economics to climate science, from the digital humanities to malaria research. Liveable cities can be built only if we learn from data over longer time frames and, increasingly, these data are collected by citizens. Tackling climate change fundamentally relies on scientists’ ability to analyze reliable time-series data from diverse sources.

Continue reading
1135 Hits
0 Comments

Who Will Drive Innovation around "Big Data"?


It’s a curious pattern, that when new technologies arise and enable access to new forms of data, it is often not the domain experts who drive innovation, but those with deep technical expertise who pick up the required domain knowledge along the way. In other words, it can be a costly mistake to ignore new methods. Let me illustrate this pattern with three examples, before making the connection to "big data."

Continue reading
1544 Hits
0 Comments

Small-Data Research in a Big-Data World – an Ethnographer’s Perspective on Bridging the Divide


As an organization scientist, I am interested in how knowledge workers create, use, and maintain their social networks to get their jobs done. I was trained as an ethnographer, and I observe people at work for a living. What, one might ask, does this small-data girl have to say about Big Data?

Continue reading
1907 Hits
0 Comments

Culture Eats Technology for Breakfast


"Will we live in a beautiful Utopia or a dystopian Big Brother society?" Journalists, politicians, and even random acquaintances ask this question when they learn about my work with Big Data and cities. In fact, most researchers and practitioners working in the Big Data space have shared this experience.

Continue reading
1304 Hits
0 Comments

Good Things Come in Small Packages: Neural Organoids’ Gift to Brain Science


Barely two weeks ago – in mid-April – STEMCELL Technologies of Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada, announced its new partnership with the Institute of Molecular Biotechnology (IMBA) in Vienna, Austria. Their collaboration will develop products for researchers who use “cerebral organoid cultures.” From a business standpoint, the international agreement sounds promising for both organizations. But what is an “organoid culture” anyway? And why are these little blobs of brain tissue so fascinating to researchers in science and medicine?

Continue reading
5103 Hits
0 Comments