The 15th IEEE International Conference on Advanced Learning Technologies (ICALT2015) took place from July 6-9 in Hualien, Taiwan. Writing a wrap-up post about ICALT is not an easy task, since it was a four-day event, with six keynotes, one panel discussion and a total of 182 accepted papers and posters in 18 tracks. Nevertheless, if I had to summarize the conference in one single phrase, it would be Mike Spector‘s message in his keynote: we need to make sure that the research we do finds its way to practice and policy, and that it results in real improvements.

The same concern had already been voiced by Miguel Nussbaum in the conference opening ceremony, when he noted that teachers are not being prepared to integrate technology in the classroom. How to integrate conventional and digital resources? And how to use technology to train children for creativity, reflection, meta cognition and building meaning, instead of focusing on rote learning and repetition? Our technological innovations are still too concerned about “how to teach”, instead of focusing in the very important question of “what to teach”. What can be done to change this?

These questions remained open as the conference closed, almost as a challenge for the researchers gathered there. But, as it was pointed during the panel session, changing “what to teach” takes longer than “how to teach”. In a research environment that encourages a high output of papers with novelties, there is no time for researchers to focus on real impact — which takes time (sometimes years, as Elliot Soloway and Cathleen Norris noted in their keynote), replication studies (which nobody wants to do) and meta-analyses (which can be hard when few researchers report their findings in a way that allows this or publish their data openly).

There is clearly a problem here, but nobody really knows what to do with it. Whose responsibility is it to change? Senior researchers have more leverage to strive for longer projects than juniors who need to build a career, but it certainly is not as simple as pressing a button. I heard a similar message in ECTEL2013, and two years later the Technology in Education field is still struggling to get its researchers away from the shiny new technology and closer to real impact.

Maira B. Carvalho is a PhD candidate in the Erasmus Mundus Joint Doctorate in Interactive and Cognitive Environments, carrying out her research in the University of Genoa (Italy) and in Eindhoven University of Technology (Netherlands). She holds a MSc. in Interactive Technology from the University of Tampere, Finland, and a bachelor’s degree in Journalism and Advertisement from the University of Brasilia, Brazil. In her doctoral project, she is investigating ways to make serious games development easier and cheaper, while maintaining their quality and effectiveness. She maintains a blog about her research at

* A version of this post was published previously here.

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GALA conference news

General news Super User 14 Jul 2015


The organization of this years GALA conf (Rome, 9-11 December 2015) continues also during the summer period.

As you know, the conference gathers all the main actors in the SG field and is articulated in workshops, tutorials, courses, regular conference papers and exhibition.

We already planned four interesting workshops for you:

Overmore, we are planning an exhibition for companies related to the world of SGs. It will have two parts: one dedicated to the commercial world of SG and one to the non-commercial one. The latter aims at spotting, sustaining and creating relationships with people and small companies (students of any level, professionals or amateur developers, small studios, etc.) that are interested in presenting new prototypes and products.

The GALA Conf SG Awards are devoted to honor the best serious games designed by non-commercial producers. This initiative will encourage students, PhDs, new comers of serious games in presenting their product and make the SGs market growing.

Important dates:


Any questions? Check the conference website or send an email to




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International Journal of Serious Games – Vol 2, No 2 (2015)

General news Super User 18 Jun 2015


The second issue of the second volume of IJSG presents papers covering a variety of serious games R&D aspects, from significant user studies to a health application, from an analysis of game-based learning to a description of an interesting system architecture. What I would like to stress is the effort made by several authors – in this one and in previous issues as well – of critically analyzing the values and the features of serious games, in order to pass from the hype of the proclamations – which not always made good to our field – to the rigor and concreteness of science and technology.


VOL 2, NO 2 (2015)




Alessandro De Gloria


Games are motivating, aren´t they? Disputing the arguments for digital game-based learning

Wim Westera

One Size Does Not Fit All: A Smarter Way to Develop Computer Assisted Interventions for Children with ASD

Michael B. Casale, Asim Mittal, Christina Whalen, Aubyn Stahmer, Jovy Quiocho, Sarah F. Vejnoska

Measuring Effectiveness of Persuasive Games Using an Informative Control Condition

Mara Soekarjo, Herre van Oostendorp

An Emotional Engine for Behavior Simulators

Santiago García Carbajal, Fabio Polimeni, Jose Luís Múgica


Simulators Observation and analysis of a classroom teaching and learning practice based on augmented reality and serious games on mobile platforms

Sylvie Barma, Sylvie Daniel, Nathalie Bacon, Marie-Andrée Gingras, Mathieu Fortin


Enhancing Healthy Habits Among Overweight and Obese Children Through Serious Games: Technological Comparison

Jon Arambarri, Isabel de la Torre, Miguel López-Coronado, Daria Druzhinenko-Silhan




Alessandro De Gloria

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Call for PhD project proposals Game Research

General news Super User 26 May 2015





Call for Proposals – Deadline June 6, 2015
The graduate program Game Research at Utrecht University offers talented students the opportunity to write their own PhD proposals. We supervise selected master students, and offer excellent students a PhD position on a research project written by themselves. There is room for four such PhD positions, two starting September 2015, two starting in September 2016.

We are now soliciting research proposals for two positions that start September 2015.

Five strong research clusters in game research contribute to this graduate program, from the following domains: Artificial Intelligence, Software Systems, Virtual Worlds, Interaction Technology, and Game and Play Studies. The choice of these five domains is motivated by their importance for the main game research topics and by the current strengths within Utrecht University. Together these clusters contribute to the Utrecht Center for Game Research, The focus of the research and education in the graduate program lies on the computer science and humanities aspects of games.

We perform research and education on the development, application and socio-cultural context of (serious) games and simulations, for example with regard to persuasive technologies and interaction, artificial intelligence, software technology, and virtual worlds, in relation to subject areas like playful/smart cities, health, education, and safety. This involves the use of innovative game technologies and concepts, including design, production, validation, and deployment, as well as new forms of using games themselves in social contexts.

For more information about the organization of the graduate program, see

Application to participate in the PhD phase of the graduate program Game Research are open to Utrecht University students participating in the master phase, as well as to external candidates. Applicants must have obtained supervision agreement from two supervisors listed in the mandatory research proposal format provided at….

The criteria for evaluation and selection are the quality of the proposed research, the CV of the candidate, and the relation to game research.

Please send your application (motivation letter and research proposal including CV) by  June 6, 2015 to: prof. dr. Joost Raessens <> and prof. dr. Remco Veltkamp <>.

Time schedule
6 June 2015: deadline for submission
7-19 June 2015: selection procedure, including interviews
22 June 2015: notification
1 September 2015: start PhD research

Terms of employment
In the Netherlands, doing a PhD research is a paid job. The salary is max € 2717 (level AIO, CAO Nederlandse Universiteiten, for a fulltime job); the candidate is offered a full-time position for four years. Salary starts at € 2,125.- and increases to € 2,717.- gross per month in the fourth year of the appointment. The salary is supplemented with a holiday bonus of 8% and an end-of-year bonus of 8,3% per year. In addition we offer: a pension scheme, a partially paid parental leave, flexible employment conditions. Conditions are based on the Collective Labour Agreement Dutch Universities.

More information
For more information about the graduate program, please contact prof. dr. Joost Raessens or prof. dr. Remco Veltkamp.
For more information about doing a PhD at Utrecht, see….
For more information about doing a PhD in the Netherlands, see


The PhD positions in the graduate program Game Research are funded by the NWO Graduate Program funding instrument.

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CfP: Games and Culture – journal of interactive media

General news Super User 05 May 2015


Games and Culture (G&C), peer-reviewed and published quarterly, is an international journal that promotes innovative theoretical and empirical research about games and culture within interactive media. The journal serves as a premiere outlet for ground-breaking work in the field of game studies and its scope includes the socio-cultural, political, and economic dimensions of gaming from a wide variety of perspectives.

Here the link to the manuscript submission:

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More Articles …

  1. What to assess when assessing effectiveness of Digital Game-Based Learning? My journey towards a conceptual framework
  2. DIGRA 2015
  3. InfoTech-2015 – the SGS in Shenzhen, China
  4. Participants needed for study on serious games models
  5. Serious Games and Learning Analytics
  6. ECGBL Mini track call for papers on Pervasive and Ubiquitous gaming for learning
  7. International Journal of Serious Games 2, 1, 2015
  8. Game-based Learning for Early Childhood (Part 2)
  9. Game-based Learning for Early Childhood (Part 1)
  10. Digital game activities in later life: from cognitive training to intergenerational learning.


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GALA Conf 2016

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