14 December 2016

GALA conference 2016 at Utrecht University

The introductory lecture to the annual GALA conference (2016)
The introductory lecture to the annual GALA conference (2016)

From the 5th until the 7th of December, the annual GALA (Games And Learning Alliance) conference was held at the UU. During these three days, numerous guests from all over the world attended various lectures, tutorials and demo sessions focused on games and learning. The conference was held in association with the Serious Games Society

Day 1 - Tutorials

On the first day of the conference, guests could attend various tutorials. Subjects were (among others) gamification and creating interactive virtual characters. At the end of the day there was a reception at the Academiegebouw in the center of Utrecht.

Photographs of the first demo session held during the GALA conference 2016
Photograph of the first demo session held during the GALA conference 2016

Day 2 - Lectures and Demo sessions

The second day of the GALA conference (6th of December), started with a keynote from Yasmin Kafai. University of Pennsylvania – USA. Connected Gaming: What Making Video Games Can Teach Us about Learning and Literacy. During the day there were sessions on Games and Sustainability, Games for Math and Programming, Games and Soft Skills and Games and Health. During the coffee break, there were poster sessions. During lunch participants could partake in a multitude of demo sessions. The day was concluded with an excellent dinner at Kasteel Ouddaen in the city center of Utrecht.

Pictures of one of the lectures given during the annual GALA conference 2016
A picture of one of the lectures given during the annual GALA conference 2016

Day 3 - Lectures, Demo sessions & Best Paper Award

Jean-Marc Labat, Université  Pierre e Marie Curie- France, opened the last day with his keynote: Towards enhancing the usage of educational games by teachers: a meta-design perspective

During the day there were sessions on Games and Management, Games and Learning, Game Development and Assesment and Mobile Games. During the coffee break, there were once again poster viewings and during the lunch break there were demo sessions to enjoy.

At the end of the day there was an award ceremony for the Best Paper Award which was won by: A Game-Based Approach to Examining Students’ Conceptual Knowledge of Fractions (Manuel Ninaus, Kristian Kiili, Korbinian Moeller and Jake McMullen)

This was followed by the European Serious Games Award, featuring two categories:

BUSINESS

1st  place: UNLOCK PROJECT MANAGEMENT – Totem Learning

2nd  place:  Skizzz game–  Interactive 4D

ACADEMY

1st place: HELD – TU Delft Game lab 

2nd place:  Anthrocratos– Team Anthrocratos

The conference ended with a closing speech by Remco Veltkamp who brought the GALA conference to Utrecht University. 

It was not yet decided where the conference will take place next year. For more information and the complete program visit the GALA website.

The TU Delft with their winning project "Held" during the annual GALA conference 2016
The TU Delft with their winning project "Held" during the annual GALA conference 2016