🎬 Looking back, in 2014 the Gates Foundation included video as one of 4 key innovations for poor farmers, coupled with a grant to Digital Green, a video enabled approach to agricultural extension. In 2018 an RCT found that "the effectiveness of mediated video-based training on individuals’ adoption rates of a new agricultural technology (alternate wetting and drying) in rural Bihar, India... increased by 0.05 for those who viewed DG videos… [i.e.] videos can serve as a feasible and scaleable method for improving agricultural outcomes”.
Now it's 2019, what might drive new change? One area of digital tech in the global south is on the rise...
📱The future trends (games). GSMA estimate that by 2025 78% of all development market mobile connections will be smart. These phones can amplify the power of video, seen above, but what else? Interestingly, India is among the top 5 mobile game countries globally, expected to surge to 368 million gamers in 2022. If this is a bell weather for developing markets, we can expect gaming to be a significant force across the global south.
🕹 Game designer Jane McGonigal argues we need 21 billion hours of gameplay per week. Why? Gamers are “super empowered" and "hopeful" individuals, who are amazing at "collaborating online". This power has been used in unexpected settings: Blockbyblock uses Minecraft as a tool to improve the urban design process; Hellblade (with support from University of Cambridge neuroscientists) gives players an insight into psychosis; GRID sets out to affect social change with interactive apps catered to “the bottom billion”. These trends seem to get most attention in the education technology sphere when it comes to major funders and policy makers, but capitalising on the power of games cuts across almost all sectors. The key is that the learning outcome of the game is determined by the product designer, and that’s where the potential to address social impact problems comes in...
🛷 Avoid gamification bandwagon. Instead shoot for fun. Raph Koster explains this well in his book, A theory of fun:
"There is a design practice called “gamification” which attempts to use the trappings of games (reward structures, points, etc.) to make people engage more with product offerings. Does it miss the point of games? It is often layered on top of systems that lack the rich interpretability of a good game. A reward structure alone does not a game make…"
"Fun, as I define it, is the feedback the brain gives us when we are absorbing patterns for learning purposes”… [if you are going to make a game] "your sole responsibility is to know what the game is about and to ensure that the game teaches that thing. That one thing, the theme, the core, the heart of the game, might require many systems or it might require few. But no system should be in the game that does not contribute towards that lesson."