Interview with Gamification Europe Speaker Bernardo Letayf

1) When and how did you first hear about gamification?

I was teaching my second semester at the American School Foundation and one of my students came to me and said: “I know how to fix education. Gamification”

This was back in February 2010. That moment changed my life FOREVER. I started by watching a short video by Extra Credits, followed by the 40 minute DICE talk by Jesse Schell, followed by buying Reality is broken, followed by Gamification by design, For the win and Kevin Werbach’s Coursera course…. All in around three months…

2) Why and when did you decide that you want to use gamification?

During the Extra Credits video. I’ve always wanted to turn my life into some sort of RPG where instead of thinking yourself as unable, you consider you are at level 1 in that discipline. So i said, this is it. No more Web designer, let’s use all I know to make this happen. So I started developing a system in PAPER for my classes.. nothing fancy just assigning points to everyone in a million different ways. Suddenly I had something that needed calculation… so Excel comes in… then I need a repository for my players’ work, WordPress enters… and so EVERYTHING starts moving towards building a system that will let me run my gamified classes as smooth as possibl with as many mechanics as I can think of.

The main reason I took it to the schools?
Easy. I don’t like grades one bit. So I figured out a way to get the grades out of the equation and have the players focus on learning. When a player doesn’t have to study for a grade but for the knowledge and the problem solving and the narrative, it feels like education should. Natural.

3) What is the main takeaway someone will take after attending your session at Gamification Europe?

I will show my to NOT-DO list on a gamified classroom. In my experience I passed very hard times when trying to fix the system into what I had on my latest semesters. It was horrible at times and I know that the teachers out there might be having similar issues.

What I found out is that the hardest part isn’t actually the system. It’s the resistance from the kids that don’t know what to do when there is no grade involved. On a second level comes the content. The system will follow the content as long as you use a narrative to hold it together.

Basically people will get a series of tried and tested steps to make sure all players have fun and focus on learning

4) What other session of Gamification Europe are you excited about and want to attend?

WOW! I’d say pretty much all of them have me really hyped. But if you insist, here is a list in order of preference (of my top 5)

5) Don’t just use gamification, think hybrid solutions – Sylvester Arnab
4) Gamification works because of science – Ercan Altug
3) Lessons From the Front Line – Andzrej Marcsewski
2) Game mechanics SUCK without narrative – Melinda Jacobs
1) Theory vs. Practice in Implementing Successful Gamification – Michael Wu

I think Michael Wu has one of the best approaches in the gamification industry and it’s been a while since I last heard of him. I also love Melinda’s energy and straight-forwardness.

Bernardo Letayf’s speaker profile: https://gamification-europe.com/speaker/bernado-letayf/