#nofilter - an interactive play on life online and offline through the lens of gamification

Matilda Johanna Ståhl, Kaihovirta Hannah, Dahl-Tallgren Nina

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The Finnish National Core Curriculum for basic education urges educators to use the possibilities provided by games and gamification (Finnish National Agency of Education, 2014) yet gamification is not defined nor discussed. In the studies leading up to this (Ståhl, Kaihovirta & Rimpilä, 2019a; Ståhl, Kaihovirta & Rimpilä, 2019b) we analysed an interactive play as an aesthetic process from teacher and student perspectives and noted five levels of gamification: structural, narrative, semiotic, interactive and environmental. In this study, we implement this framework on an interactive play on identities and social relations online and offline.

Aesthetic processes within education can entail learning about and through art. An aesthetic process can further be understood as regenerative; a multimodal response on experience and knowledge. Burman (2014) describes a mimetic view on aesthetics processes and learning as a reflection or transformation as a mirrored view of our reality. This reflection is worthy on its own beyond its connection to reality and all forms of art, including games, can be considered reflections (Kirkpatrick, 2011). Games as well as plays, can be considered non-mimetic as they do not reflect everyday life with its non-linear narrative, yet the participant can accept that as a requisite to create a “successful play space” (Upton, 2015, s.254).

Gamification, coined in 2008, is often seen as a motivational design by using game mechanics (Deterding et al, 2011: Rapp et al, 2018). Previous gamification research has focused on specific software with varying implementations of PBL (Rapp et al, 2018) with education as a key research field (Kasurinen and Knutas, 2018). Koivisto and Hamari (2019) state that the three key elements of gamification are affordances, psychological outcomes and behavioural outcomes. Affordance refers to the game mechanic used, psychological outcome refers to participants experiences and behavioural outcomes refer to the activity encouraged by the gamification design. Empirical studies on gamification have focused on points as affordance and behavioural outcomes such as performance in relation to time.

There is a need for empirical studies on gamification that is based on varying game mechanical affordances and forms of implementation (Kasurinen and Knutas, 2018; Rapp et al.,2018) with a focus beyond PBL (Nacke and Deterding, 2017) as well as a need for discussing potential negative effects of gamification. Gamification should be seen “as organizational and individual practices reminiscent of those which may be observed in games” (Koivisto and Hamari, 2019, p. 205). There are studies on aesthetic processes and game-based learning, yet combining aesthetic processes and game mechanical affordances as gamification is rare. This study is part of a longitudinal research collaboration on aesthetic processes and gamification within the arts in primary education with a focus on other affordances than PBL (Ståhl, Kaihovirta and Rimpilä, 2017; 2018; 2019a; 2019b).

The current study is based on #nofilter, an interactive play, planned and implemented in collaboration between a primary school and the local theatre in Finland, The play is formed through the collaboration and will be offered to other schools as TiE, Theatre in Education (Jackson, 1993; Heathcote, 1984). In TiE, professional actors explore certain phenomena together with teachers and students and common themes are empathy, reflection and communication (Heathcote, 1984). The interactive play focuses on digital competencies with a narrative exploring identities and relationships online as well as offline. The collaboration involves theatre educators, actors, the director as well as teachers and students in year 7 and 8 (13-15year-old).

Original languageEnglish
Publication statusPublished - 2021
MoE publication typeO2 Other
EventECER 2020 Glasgow: Educational Research (Re)connecting Communities - University of Glasgow, Glasgow, United Kingdom
Duration: 24 Aug 202028 Aug 2020


ConferenceECER 2020 Glasgow
Country/TerritoryUnited Kingdom
City Glasgow
Internet address


  • Identity Construction
  • Interactive play
  • gamification


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