My favorite conference of the year is NASAGA. It's a conference focused on games for training and learning. The underlying concept of the conference is experiential learning, and it's a conference that practices what it preaches. During most sessions, you play a game that someone facilitates from their own domain. You then debrief the game to think about how you can apply it to your own domain. Most games are non-digital and have you playing with your feet instead of your fingers. I'll be running a pre-conference on how to take your passion for gaming and turn it into something you can use in an organization.
Here's a news blurb they just sent out:
Join us for our 50th anniversary conference on Nov. 7-10 in Columus Ohio, Early bird registration ends on Monday October 1, 2012. Register today and save with the special price.
This will be a very special conference that celebrates 50 years of simulations and games for learning. 24 breakout sessions, three keynotes, two game night activities, and one amazing kickoff experience. Check out the details on our updated conference schedule.
Attendees will also the the first to receive a copy of our first ever book, The NASAGA Training Activity Handbook. It contains, 28 complete activity designs contributed by trainers in Canada, Czech Republic, Germany, Italy, Philippines, Scotland, Spain, Taiwan, The Netherlands, and the U.S. Including five NASAGA Ifill-Raynolds Lifetime Award recipients. Each activity includes two variations and all handouts are available online through the Pfeiffer Website. Several of the contributors will be presenting at the conference and special session that that explores the book. You can get your book autographed!
Visit North American Simulation and Gaming Network at: http://www.nasaga.org/?xg_source=msg_mes_network
Scott Nicholson from the School of Information Studies at Syracuse University is the PI for a recently awarded grant designed to make an alternate reality game toolkit for academic libraries. Dr. Nicholson, director of the Because Play Matters game lab, will be working with The Education Arcade from MIT and Jenny Levine from the American Library Association on the project over the next 18 months.
Here's the offical award announcement:
Syracuse University, School of Information Studies - Syracuse, NY
Congressional District: NY_25
Award Amount: $150,000; Matching Amount: $51,895
Contact: Scott Nicholson
Syracuse University’s School of Information Studies will partner with the Massachusetts Institute of Technology’s Education Arcade and the American Library Association to plan, develop, and test an Alternate Reality Game Toolkit that could be used by libraries to create engaging game-based learning exercises. The toolkit’s framework will permit libraries to insert their own local content and resources and customize the game experience and learning objectives to meet their own local needs without having to build the entire educational game from the ground up. The project will focus initially on academic libraries and functionality that best supports educators and students at the college undergraduate level, but future work may extend to other types of libraries and target audiences.
Presentation - Because Play Matters: A Journey Into Transformative Games and Meaningful Gamification
During the 2011-2012 academic year, Dr. Scott Nicholson, iSchool faculty, was a visiting professor in Comparative Media Studies MIT. He worked with two game labs and lived in the undergraduate dorms to expand his knowledge of game creation, game studies, and the creation of playful spaces.
Join Dr. Nicholson on September 14, 2-3pm, in Hinds 347 for a light-hearted presentation about his sabbatical experiences and his journey from a focus on board games and libraries to his new areas of focus on transformative games and play in informal learning environments and meaningful gamification.
The talk is now online, and you can watch it below:
Later that day, at 5:30pm in the same room, Dr. Nicholson will be convening the first meeting of the Game Designers’ Guild, which is a group for students, faculty, and members of the community interested in creating games of all types. More information about the Game Designers' Guild is at http://becauseplaymatters.com/gdg
Both events are open to the public (visitor parking information).
As I've been talking more about gamification, I found that I needed a term for gamification that focused on points, levels, achievements, and badges. Playing with the first letters of these concepts led me to coin the term BLAP gamification:
The term "BLAP gamification" also provides a good mental image of what happens when a gamification consultant takes a structure of points, levels, badges, and achievements and drops it down on a non-gaming context: BLAP!
I've used the term as the base of an introduction to gamification post that I made on the TL-DR blog where I am a guest author, and you can see that post at