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Amany Annaggar is a researcher at Humboldt Universität zu Berlin in the chemistry education department and the founder of Sci2Play. Her Ph.D. research is about Gamification and serious games as assessment tools of problem-solving competence in chemistry education.
Besides her Ph.D. research, she worked as a tutor and lab assistant at Humboldt Universität zu Berlin and on 2 EU projects in science education (Inspiring science education & Ark of Inquiry).
Currently, she is preparing for her Ph.D. defense and also working on her Sci2Play business idea to start it officially.
A regular day for Amany is quite different depending on the day as she is a mother of 3 children across different age groups so every day for her is quite diverse. Waking up each day her priority is to take care of her children before starting her work which changes differently week-on-week depending on the week’s objectives. She tries to balance research, her business, and her family.
Amany’s favorite fail comes from a time where she chose her Ph.D. mission (or topic), because of her intrinsic motivation to design a scientific game with the same level of fun as other games she chose to work on gamification in science education. She began to discuss options with her mentor and once they eventually agreed on a topic her mentor told her she must choose the suitable tool that she must use in her research. The tools she found were not what she was looking for and could not find an affordable solution. Therefore, she decided to approach this by herself which was a huge learning curve and effort for her and although it wasn’t an easy journey ultimately worked out.
A story of a time of success for Amany comes from when she was trying to develop an assessment tool that can successfully assess problem-solving competence in chemistry education and motivate the unmotivated students. She noticed her 6-year-old was playing on games for hours just for fun and realized how this could be used to help motivate students as well as a great tool for data collection. The solution she came up with was a 3D adventure video game called Alchemist which had lots of gamification elements and allowed students to carry out experiments in the virtual lab and tried to solve given problems there.
When approaching a new project Amany’s process generally involves first defining the main objective of the project before making a user/player analysis to analyze anything that they want the learners to learn and which skills she would like to improve. From there, she would then move on to find a story that fits with the concept. In the scientific projects, she keeps following the competence model. The students should be able to represent the problem and then solve it themselves, they are gamifying the solutions together. Next, she wants to make sure that the learning actually happens and there is an evaluation phase. Transversal to all this it is important to understand what data the educator wants to extract from the experience.
A best practice for Amany would be to have a SMART (Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic and Time-bound) mission and to keep iterating, she follows her concept of great design is iteration of good design.
Amany would love to hear Professor Juho Hamari from Tampere University as well as Dr. Lobna Hassan who is a doctoral researcher who made her research in educational harry potter and virtual reality and would love to hear from either of these on the Professor Game podcast. She would recommend either of the books by Dr. Karl Kapp as she always recommends these books for beginners who would like to learn more about gamification, she would also recommend his online blog as she has learned a lot from him.
She would say her superpower is her ability to multitask and persistence to achieve the desired goal once it is set no matter how hard it is. Amany now spends a lot of time playing games with her children such as Elfland as well as Ghost Fightin’ Treasure Hunters as it helps her to understand the different perspectives in different games to learn from them, even though she doesn’t consider herself a gamer!
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