Games for Health UK Conference at Coventry – 14th May 2014

1On Wednesday 14th May I attended the Games for Health UK conference, held at Coventry University’s Simulation Centre. This was a satellite event linked to Games for Health Europe, which is an organisation based in Amsterdam.

Jurriaan van Rijswijk spoke first, talking about Games for Health’s vision of using games as a way to change education, promoting active learning and behavioural change. As an organisation they want to help game creators in institutions to share their work more widely. He also said that the ‘Games for Health’ book that they had published, which contained proceedings from their 3rd annual conference, encouraged people to take the organisation more seriously.

Next, Sebastian Yuen talked about wearable technology and how this can be used to change patient behaviours. He was able to talk about his own experience using Fitbit and talked about the possibilities around using badges.

Charlotte Lambden who is a Research Therapist at Newcastle University spoke about a game that they had developed to help with the rehabilitation of people such as stroke victims. It is called Limbs Alive and encouraged people to perform a range of movements and tasks, helping the patient see their progress.

Paul Canty from Preloaded spoke about a range of games for health. You can explore further on the Games with Purpose and Games for Change websites, but examples were FoldIt, Family of Heroes, The Walk, Dys4ia, Actual Sunlight, and Touch Surgery.

Pamela Kato talked about the future of games for health. She says we need research to help us understand if games work, for whom, when and how. We need quality games, and distribution channels so there are places where people know that they will find high quality games. She also gave advice on making games saying to be precise about what you want when dealing with game development studios, because they cannot do your job as a medical professional or academic. She was keen on people hiring artists to work on the game to make them look better, and including the target group in development at each stage to make sure there is nothing that would prevent that group using the game. Games she mentioned were Re-Mission 2, and Plan-It Commander.

Jamie MacDonald from Fosse Games shared from his long experience in the games industry, again pointing out the importance of quality and customer recommendations in making a game a success. He said a key area to look at is innovation. This can be leading in new categories of games, with new audiences, and in using new hardware, but it can also be smaller scale evolutionary innovation within an existing genre.

Finally Adrian Raudaschl spoke about gamification, John Blakely spoke about games to improve the training of Junior Doctors, and Alex Woolner about growing Games for Health UK.

Over all I was impressed by the organisation and its aims. There was a focus on the importance of producing quality games, and on sharing games that have been created. Because of the cost of creating quality games, the reuse and sharing of what has been created seems vital if the use of them is to grow and make the investment worthwhile.

It is certainly going to be useful to keep in touch with what is going on in this organisation, to know what sort of educational games are being created and how people are using them in health contexts.

beaumont_smaller

Peter Beaumont
Learning Technology Development Officer

Students – keep telling us what you think!

There is still time to win one of our prizes (£50 Amazon vouchers, 2 x £25 Amazon vouchers or a 1GB USB wristband) by completing the fourth Students eLearning Survey. We have now had 327 responses to our survey so a big thank you to all those who have completed it so far, but we need as many more as possible to give a truly representative picture.

We’ve had a look at the results to date and thought we would share some early feedback with you. We’re delighted to see that a high percentage of students (79.2%) feel that Learning Edge enhances the knowledge and understanding that they get from lectures and tutorials. Last year this figure was 75.2% so it’s great to see that this has increased. Similarly 88.1% of students agree that Learning Edge enables them to learn at a place and time of their choosing; this has increased from last years figure of 83.4%.

Another positive finding is that technical difficulties experienced when using Blackboard (now Learning Edge) have decreased. Last year, 60.7% of students had problems off campus compared with 43.5% this year. 45.9% of students had problems when on campus last year, but this has reduced to 38%. This hasn’t happened by accident; Learning Edge is a more robust and reliable system, underpinned by high quality technical and learner support. We’ve also created lots of new guides for students so we hope this has contributed to the reduction in problems!

We know how important it is to many students to be able to submit assignments online (84.7% said so this year and 82.7% last year) and we’re pleased to report that there are developments underway to improve this process and to offer more options to both students and tutors….so watch this space!

If you are a frequent viewer of our blog you will have seen previous posts about Mobile Learn, the mobile app for Learning Edge. Many students have already downloaded the app which is great news, and we’re keen for more students to make use of the app. The results of the survey show that last year 36.1% of students had an internet enabled mobile phone, but according to this year’s results so far this has increased to 78%. The launch of our mobile app was obviously very timely! For more information about the app have a look at this post.

The results mentioned above are based on the responses so far, so if you’ve not already completed the survey please do so and contribute to our findings for this year. Remember, as an added incentive, we are offering a grand prize of £50 Amazon vouchers and two runner up prizes of £25 Amazon vouchers to the lucky winners of our prize draw. We are also giving away one of our very exclusive Learning Services 1GB USB wristbands for every 20th response. We’ve already given away 16 of our wristbands – complete the survey now for your chance to be the next winner!

Current EHU students can access the survey from Learning Edge, the GO portal, your email or from http://surveys.edgehill.ac.uk/elearning_survey_2011/.

Katherine Richardson
LTD Operations Co-ordinator

You’ve got to be in it to win it …

Our fourth Students eLearning Survey has only been open for a week and we’ve already had 180 responses – thank you to everyone who has completed it so far!

As you know we are giving away one of our Learning Services USB wristbands for every 20th response so this means we have given 9 away already – check your student email to see if you’re one of the lucky winners.

Have a look at the picture below to see what these exclusive wristbands look like and complete the survey quickly so you don’t miss out on your chance to win one!

Don’t forget that the main prize draw will take place when the survey closes at the end of January 2012, with a grand prize of £50 Amazon vouchers and two runner up prizes of £25 Amazon vouchers!

On a more serious note, the survey really does help to inform developments and in fact one of the main drivers for moving to Learning Edge was the feedback from last years survey that told us you wanted a more reliable, stable and professional system. We think Learning Edge has provided these but want to hear your views .

Current EHU students can access the survey from Learning Edge, the GO portal, your email or from http://surveys.edgehill.ac.uk/elearning_survey_2011/.

Katherine Richardson
LTD Operations Co-ordinator

Students, have your say about the VLE … and a few other technology-related things

The VLE Project Review team have been running workshops with different groups of Blackboard users in order to develop a clear picture of the VLE and associated technologies that will meet (and hopefully exceed) the needs and expectations of Edge Hill students and staff.  Feedback from those attending the workshops has been incredibly positive about the process and the opportunities it provides for everyone to have their views heard. Last workshop for staff this semester is Friday 11 December 9.30 in Solstice and will be followed by a Festive Lunch with mulled wine. All welcome. To book a place and lunch, email Katherine Richardson (Richark@edgehill.ac.uk) asap.

Which brings me now to the 2009 EHU Student e-Learning Survey. This is the second online student survey produced by EHU’s  SOLSTICE Centre of Excellence for Teaching and Learning. It aims to develop an understanding of our students experience, expectations and use of technology-enhanced teaching and learning and this year will also feed into the VLE review. We used the findings from last year’s survey to improve our services to students and we will use this year’s responses to continue to improve existing services and inform new developments and improvements, especially concerning the proposed VLE  requirements.

If you are an Edge Hill student, please (please!) complete our survey. There is a prize draw and two lucky participants will each win £50 worth of  Amazon vouchers.

The survey may be accessed via the GO portal, from Blackboard, from the SOLSTICE webpages or from http://surveys.edgehill.ac.uk/student2009/. We plan to close the survey on 20th January 2010.

EHU students, have your say! EHU staff, you are not forgotten as we’ll be running a survey for you in the New Year.