GamerCard is a platform for gamification in a course setting. The system will provide a domain-independent, out-of-box solution for teachers who wish to easily apply gamification to courses.

The main aspects of GamerCard include:

  • The use of experience points (XP) in place of grades
  • Victory Points as a secondary form of rewarding students
  • Tites, Achievements, and Classes for students to work for and earn
  • Quests in place of assignments (with a Quest Log and grading system)

The early version of GamerCard has been used for the past two semesters in CS4730. We published a paper on GamerCard at the 2016 ASEE Conference.


Using Gamification to Promote Energy Savings


The City of Charlottesville is attempting to win a $5 million Georgetown Energy Prize. To contribute to this effort, we teamed up with the city to develop a mobile app that uses gamification to promote energy savings.

The app challenges users to complete quests related to saving energy. Some quests involve taking actions in the home while others are designed to simply inform. The app will contain a store in which active players can purchase rewards.

Media exposure:

Bookmark: Critical Reading Game


Bookmark is a card game that supports student’s improvement in critical reading skills. Students develop their own deck of cards after reading a text and play a board game in which they play cards to build chains off of other player’s cards.

Bookmark is being used in middle schools in central Virginia, and we hope to continue studying its efficacy in the classroom.


Rashi is an inquiry based tutoring system used to teach various subjects through exploration. Students are invited to explore specific cases in their field. They form hypotheses, collect data, and collaborate with others. Rashi implements cases in various fields such as Biology, Art History, and Forestry.

We are developing a 2D adventure game based on the Rashi system, incorporating game elements to increase positive user emotion, engagement, and learning.


CS1 with Game Design

We are developing a course that revolves around the idea of game design as the driving force for teaching and learning introductory programming techniques. The course will be piloted with 30 students in Spring 2015.

Energy Systems in Games to Motivate Learning

Can we use energy systems in a game that kids like to play to get them to do math problems? Can we dynamically change the difficulty of the math problem as the student improves?

General Projects

Gamification of Education

These projects involve the gamification of education in various ways. Specifically, we want to create, maintain, and provide tools to help others incorporate gamification concepts into their courses easily.

  • GamerCard – GamerCard is a platform for XP/gamification in a course setting. The system will provide a domain-independent, out-of-box solution for teachers who wish to easily apply gamification to courses.
  • GameBox – PyGame library to promote teaching programming and game design with beginning programmers.
  • Game Design Kits – Structured game design activity to foster creativity and teamwork with students.
  • Game Design Primer – This is a simple app that supports the showcasing of course materials related to game design.

Serious Games

A ‘Serious Game’ is a game that’s primary purpose is something other than pure entertainment. These projects focus on developing games of this nature.

  • Rashi: This 2d game invites students to take the role of doctor and diagnose various patients. Players must utilize proper inquiry to successfully solve all of the cases.
  • Others coming soon…

Research and Theory

Our students actively participate not just in the development of projects, but also in the study and research of games. Activities include:

  • Weekly readings and presentations of gaming publications.
  • Supporting players, teachers, etc. who utilize our projects for their purposes.
  • Collecting data and studying the uses of progressive game design ideas.
  • Re-formulating game design theories based on the observation of game usage data.