Potentials of Applied Games - GameJams

Laurea GameJam 2015 – Adopting Healthier Lifestyles

The last weekend of September (25-27 Sept), JamToday project’s 2015 edition – ‘And they lived healthier ever after’ - was hosted by Laura Applied Sciences University and welcomed a bunch of enthusiastic youngsters representing different sectors: health, gaming, education etc. The assignment was to provide a gamified solution to a specific health related problem, through using Applied Games. The ideas and prototypes prepared and presented after such a short time frame (48 hours) amazed the jury members and all the stakeholders who took part on the event. The Jammers were supported by experts from the health sector (students of Laurea University), Coders from Microsoft and inspired by keynote speakers as Tatu Petersen-Jessen, art director at Rovio Entertainment (Angry Birds).

Besides the rich experience learned by organizing and observing the Jam, we asked the hosts and the GameJam’s project manager Jaakko Porokuokka to explain us what possibilities and outcomes Laurea expected by organizing the GameJam:

Laurea is a multidiciplinary University of Applied Sciences. It aims to promote collaboration and transition of knowlegde across diciplines. One of the main reasons Laurea wanted to host a Game Jam was that the event would serve as a platform to cross boundaries between game developers and healthcare professionals. Healthcare experts are generally speaking not familiar with the world of games and gamification. While a Game Jam is not going to turn them into game developers, it gives them an idea of how gaming and gamification could benefit their line of work.

Game Jam served as a learning environment for Laurea’s Master’s degree students. Students from Master of Healthcare-programmes were able to either participate the event as Jammers, or to support the teams as experts in their field. For both roles, the students were able to get credits towards their elective studies. Additional tasks, such as writing an essay about applied games, were used to ensure that the academic requirements were met. Earlier in 2015 Laurea served as a local host to Global Service Jam. Providing education in Service Design, Laurea was able to use their Master’s degree students in Service Innovation & Design-programme as mentors to Service Jam participants.

For Laurea, Jams serve as a learning environment in which students can use their expertise in multidiciplinary environments. Master’s degree students are already established professionals in their respected fields. Jams provides them an opportunity to utilize their skills and knowledge while taking a safe step outside their comfort zone. As an informal platform for cross-diciplinary transition of knowledge, jams can also become a breeding platform for new, innovative service offerings.

We hope this inspiring story encourage you to apply gamified solutions more frequently in your work environment, furthermore gives you motivation to apply for hosting next year's GameJam which is about another challenging topic: Teaching Mathematics through using Applied Games. 

Laurea GameJAM, JAMToday