Serious games (SG) are games with a purpose (GWAP) other than pure entertainment. It is a booming new multidisciplinary field that uses gaming techniques to solve real-world problems like skills training or data collection. SGs are important for social change as they could facilitate deep and sustained learning through engaging virtual experiences. The cluster focuses on investigating innovative applications to tackle national & international problems in the field of education and sustainable development. The current educational system does is considered boring as it does not cater to the different types of learners nor the variable learning paces inside the classroom. Well-designed SGs challenge these difficulties with game-based problem solving, conceptual reasoning and goal-oriented decisions. They mimic successful teacher pedagogy and integrate embedded learning in a safe environment, promoting agency and facilitating mastery. Sustainable development (SD) is "to meet the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs". The population explosion combined with the finite earth resources makes efficient behavioral change a crucial prerequisite for our survival. SGs could raise awareness about sustainable development aspects as they can model real-life situations. They impart new skills on the players and increase the knowledge and understanding of complex processes in a multitude of contexts like civics and economics. The four main objectives of the cluster are: 1. Creating a platform for the development of scalable serious games 2. Creating serious games for education 3. Creating serious games for sustainable development 4. Creating serious games for crowdsourcing with special focus on user profiling and Arabic multi-purpose corpus.

Grants: DAAD-BMBF funding project “Sustainable research cooperation with the German University in Cairo (GUC)”

Research Topics & Projects

SGs for Education: Games for STEM K-12 Education

This project targets developing games to support the education of science and mathematics for young K-12 students. The developed systems could either be used to aid or replace the traditional teachers in delivering the content, depending on the supported scenarios. The motivation is to provide a personalized adaptive learning experience to overcome the preceding problems in the current educational system. Moreover, the platform will foster collaboration between experts and students alike.

SGs for Education: Games for Learning Algorithms and Logic

Algorithmic thinking is acquired through practice. However, students have a hard time practicing as well as grasping programing concepts in their introductory CS courses and logic-related courses. The objective is to incorporate games learning principles in a modular online interactive tutoring system. The system is used to introduce the concepts as well as provide a space for practicing them. Another approach is to represent complex logic problems and algorithms as interactive animated visualizations to aid in problem solving.

SGs for Education: Learning languages

Language is one of the pillars used by humans to communicate and express their needs. However, learning a new language is often a challenging and daunting task. Edutainment is “integrating entertainment to education”. It is proved to be a successful way with learning. Thus, this track focuses on creating gamified solutions facilitate the language learning process for children. Learning the language includes reading and pronouncing it. The main focus is on English and Arabic languages. Through this track, we investigate various challenging and intriguing problems in the domain such as: 1. How to evaluate the learning of the students 2. How to help children with learning disabilities? 3. How to help children with speech disabilities? 4. Can a gamified system completely replace a teacher or not?

SGs for societal awareness and sustainable development

The population explosion combined with the finite earth resources makes efficient behavioral change a crucial prerequisite for our survival. The objective of this track is to investigate the potential of using serious games in promoting positive behavioral change in the society. We explore a wide variety of topics such as: traffic congestion, air pollution, energy saving and general knowledge about constitutional law.

SGs for behavioral change in sports

Building healthy habits is a challenging but critical task. This track investigates the potential of using serious games in encouraging healthy habits and sports routine. It also explores relevant topics such as using sensors and wearables to track the vitals of a person and provide an adaptive experience corresponding to their performance.

SGs for crowdsourcing

The objective of this track is to harness the power of human computation in data collection and processing. Our central use is the collection of an extensive Arabic corpus through a set of custom games. There are a lot of corpora available for the English Language. However, very few corpora with minimal dictionaries are available for the Arabic language. The track investigates multiple problems such as: using human computation to perform complex optical character recognition tasks, digitization of diacritics and enhancing name entity recognition.

Fundamentals for Serious Games

This track explores fundamental interactions with systems. It is an integral part to the work of the cluster to provide new interfaces and interaction techniques through the developed games. Topics include sensors fusion for detecting stress, adaptive interfaces according to cognitive load and enhancing the accuracy of touch events.


Abdelrahman Sakr, Injy Hamed, Slim Abdennadher: iPlayAStory: A Language Learning Platform for Interactive Story-telling, The Games and Learning Alliance conference (GALA), Springer LNCS, 2015
Fatema Gabr and Slim Abdennadher: Walk Like An Egyptian: A Serious, Pervasive Mobile Game for Tourism , 11th Conference on Mobile Learning, 2015, Portugal., 2015.
Gasser Akila, Mohamed El-Menisy, Omar Khaled, Nada Sharaf, Nada Tarhony, Slim Abdennadher: Kalema: Digitizing Arabic Content for Accessibility Purposes Using Crowdsourcing, 16th International Conference, CICLing, 2015.
Maya Osman, Caroline Sabty, Nada Sharaf, and Slim Abdennadher: Building a Corpus for Arabic Dialects using Games With A Purpose ,ACLing 2015, 1st International Arabic Computational Linguistics Conference, 2015