Monday, November 10, 2008

2008 Dust Or Magic: Using Serious Games To Improve Health

Enhancing the impact of Serious Games used to improve health


Via: RC/A Digital Media - 2008 Dust or Magic

The Eighth Annual Children's New Media Design InstituteNovember 2-4, 2008
Richard Carey reports from the Dust or Magic Institute held on November 2-4, 2008 in Lambertville, New Jersey, on Debra Lieberman’s presentation.

Dust or Magic is an annual demonstration-intensive institute for individuals who need to understand the latest interactive media products for children. Because participants stay at the same Inn and come from a variety of perspectives, the event has a retreat feel to it.

Time is put into the agenda so that there are opportunities to try out the latest products in both formal and informal settings. Dust or Magic Institutes' agenda is planned around the products, and videos of child testers using key products help ground the discussion. Throughout the session, there are presentations by developers, reviewers and researchers, and plenty of hands-on time for the participants to play with the latest products.

Debra Lieberman, Ph.D. talked about using interactive games to improve health knowledge, skills and behavior.

“All games are educational games. The question is what are they teaching?” one of her opening statements, is pretty close to my heart.


Health Games Research is an $8.25 million national program of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation that is directed by Debra and supports research to enhance the quality and impact of interactive games used to improve health.




Game platforms of interest range from game consoles, handheld game devices, arcade machines, Web sites and multiplayer online worlds, to exertion interfaces (dance pads, cameras pointed at players, motion-detecting remote controllers), robots, interactive television, electronic toys, context-sensitive programs or other emerging technologies that are becoming more affordable and accessible.

About Health Games Research


Health Games Research is an $8.25 million national program of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF) that supports outstanding research to enhance the quality and impact of interactive games used to improve health.

The goal of the program is to advance the innovation, design, and effectiveness of health games and game technologies so that they help people improve their health-related behaviors and, as a result, achieve significantly better health outcomes.

The program is directed by
Debra Lieberman, Ph.D., communication researcher in the Institute for Social, Behavioral, and Economic Research at the University of California, Santa Barbara. Program funding comes from RWJF's Pioneer Portfolio, which supports innovative ideas and projects that may lead to breakthroughs in the future of health and health care.

Health Games Research focuses on interactive games that are delivered or supported by digital technology. Game platforms and formats of interest to the program range from traditional video games on game consoles, handheld game players, arcade machines, computers, Web sites and multiplayer online worlds, to new kinds of games delivered, for example, by mobile networked computing, exertion interfaces (dance pads, cameras pointed at players, motion-detecting remote controllers), robots, interactive television, virtual environments, electronic toys, context-sensitive programs (using sensors, physiological and health monitors, global positioning systems), or other emerging technologies that are becoming more affordable and accessible.

Health Games Research investigates how people respond to interactive games, in order to develop highly effective and beneficial ways to design and use games to improve health.

In addition to funding research and providing technical support to grantees, to build this emerging field the Health Games Research program also contributes to national conferences and professional meetings, widely disseminates research findings and resources related to health games, develops research tools, and conducts and publishes research. It also shares information and collaborates with health care and health promotion professionals, game publishers, technology firms, government agencies, educators, researchers, community leaders and other decision-makers who create, buy, recommend or fund the development of health games.

The Health Games Research program will offer two rounds of funding, with awards made in 2008 and 2009, to support research on games that (1) increase physical activity and/or (2) games that improve self-care. The goal is to develop theoretically grounded, evidence-based principles for designing and implementing health games successfully, keeping in mind the unique needs of specific populations of end users.


The next Call for Proposals (CFP) for Health Games Research will be released in January 2009. Before then, to be fair to all applicants, the program cannot respond to any questions about the CFP, including questions about eligibility, selection criteria, project requirements, research topics, funding levels, or proposal deadlines. You are encouraged to sign up for Funding Alerts and will be notified when the CFP is released.