Getting rewards right. Recognise, don’t Bribe.

Rewards recognise dont bribe Getting rewards right Recognise don 8217 t Bribe

One of the things that my daughters school like to do is give certificates to students for various achievements. Below are two that she has had over the last few months. Which one do you think she was happiest to get?

If you guessed the Gold award for reading 25 times or more in a term – you were wrong. She has half a dozen of them on the wall. The Bronze award for a “brilliant and inspiring” science experiment had her far more excited than all of the Gold awards put together.

I have mentioned our struggles to get my eldest to bond with reading and to be honest, even though she now does it quite happily, it really is not something she enjoys much. The thing is, she knows that it is something good to do and for the most part is OK with reading every night. That makes the Gold award pretty much guaranteed without having to put any abnormal effort in. Read More ...

Surprise and Delight with Google Photos

IMGP0056 PANO Surprise and Delight with Google Photos

Anyone who follows me on Twitter has, by now, noticed I have been sharing a load of stuff from Google Photos.  For those who don’t know, this is a free service from Google that allows you to basically upload an unlimited number of photos (if you are happy with their “high quality” setting) and store them in the Cloud.

On top of that, Google Photo has some really clever little tricks up its digital sleeve, by way of Auto Awesomeness. It will analyse your images and do all sorts of clever things. It will create panoramas if it finds images in a panoramic sequence. It will create animations of images that have been taken in quick succession. If you have stuff geotagged, it can also create stories based on image sequences and locations. On top of that it will also create montages and filtered images where it sees fit and probably more. As well as that, it categorises things for you and makes your images searchable. You can look for images of faces, of locations, objects and all sorts – which is actually rather handy. Read More ...

What can comedy teach us about gamification?

Comedy 1430402323 What can comedy teach us about gamification

I was reading an old article, on the Telegraph website, that had Jimmy Carr and Lucy Greeves explaining how comedy works. It was actually much more interesting that I had expected and offers valuable insights into how to apply gamification in a more engaging way.

Whilst it is true that we all find different things funny, the general way in which jokes are constructed and delivered is as important as the content or the context of them.


Surprise is the fundamental joke mechanism. Most punchlines rely on an element of surprise – that’s why they’re not funny the third time you hear them. Read More ...

Mystery, Curiosity and Surprise

55 Curiosity Mystery Curiosity and Surprise

Most people seem to like surprises and mystery. It also seems that curiosity has the power to drive us to do strange and counter-intuitive things. We like to know what is in the mystery box, what is behind door number 3, what happens after the season finale, what the red “do not press” button actually does, if we can climb to the top of the rickety looking rope.

Curiosity can also be seen around problem solving. Whilst at times we need to solve the problem, there is no need for us to do puzzles like crosswords or to learn languages that we do not really need. These kinds of drives seem to fall in or around curiosity. Think of children and how they learn. I remember being told and told and told that the berries in the garden were poisonous, but curiosity got the better of me – I had to find out if they really were. The resulting vomiting supplied me with the answer to my curiosity. I could not deal with this idea that I just didn’t know for myself. Curiosity lead me to learn about Gamification and learn how to programme. Read More ...