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Mobile Game-Based Methodology for Science Learning


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This work presents the features and results of a problem-solving collaborative game for 8th graders science classes’ curriculum. Software for pocketPC was developed for this game, based on a complete framework methodology with students and teachers. From our point of view, the key to integrate mobile devices into school is the methodological framework which provides meaning; technology by itself does not contribute much to education. The evaluation study was focused on software usability and the results in the application of the methodology, observing their performance in problem-solving skills. A high degree of user satisfaction with the final product was found. They were motivated to participate actively in the proposed tasks. Results indicate that the experience contributed to the development of the student’s problem-solving skills obtaining positive gains as a result of this experience.
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J. Jacko (Ed.): Human-Computer Interaction, Part IV, HCII 2007, LNCS 4553, pp. 322–331, 2007.
© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2007
Mobile Game-Based Methodology for Science Learning
Jaime Sánchez, Alvaro Salinas, and Mauricio Sáenz
Department of Computer Science
University of Chile
Abstract. This work presents the features and results of a problem-solving
collaborative game for 8th graders science classes’ curriculum. Software for
pocketPC was developed for this game, based on a complete framework
methodology with students and teachers. From our point of view, the key to
integrate mobile devices into school is the methodological framework which
provides meaning; technology by itself does not contribute much to education.
The evaluation study was focused on software usability and the results in the
application of the methodology, observing their performance in problem-
solving skills. A high degree of user satisfaction with the final product was
found. They were motivated to participate actively in the proposed tasks.
Results indicate that the experience contributed to the development of the
student’s problem-solving skills obtaining positive gains as a result of this
Keywords: Children, science, PDA, pocketPC, gaming, learning.
1 Introduction
This research work describes and analyzes some results of the Biology Learning with
Mobile Technology project. The goal of the project is to design, develop, apply, and
evaluate a new pedagogical methodology based on interactive games for mobile
devices (PDA). The software is oriented to developing problem-solving skills in
science classes for 8th graders.
Information and communication technologies do not have much contribute to
education by themselves. The people, models, methodologies and strategies are those
that determine changes, innovation and impact on learning. Also, no task or particular
activity influence learning in a deep and final way, rather, it is the learning culture
(with of without technologies) that can impact it considerably.
Some researchers have focused on understanding what Information and
Communication Technologies, (ICT) integration into curriculum is about [21], how to
do it, and its consequences [13]. ICT integration consists in “making ICT entirely part
of the curriculum as a part of a system, integrating them to educational principles and
didactic for the learning process” [19]. ICT must be integrated to relevant and
legitimate educational knowledge, practices, and available resources in the school
Mobile Game-Based Methodology for Science Learning 323
One of the main contributions of ICTs to education is the support to the
development of high order cognitive skills, such as problem solving, communication
skills, and information management.
Numerous authors have described problem-solving skills as a fundamental activity
in the learning process and as crucial competition ability nowadays. Even though
some authors identify the different steps involved in solving a problem, most of them
agree in those proposed by Polya as a methodology to solve problems: understanding
the problem, designing a strategy, putting the strategy into practice and checking the
solution [16].
One of the most common student practices when using ICT is to play computer
games. However, the potential of the games in education has not been exploited yet.
Games and education appear like separated spaces, even though games produce a high
commitment and motivation in learners [11] and these attributes can be useful to
improve learning activities.
Diverse authors have analyzed the impact of games on education. Some of them
believe that games can promote higher order learning, such as increased meaningful
dialogues among learners [12]. Other studies describe positive effects of games on
social skills [15]. Authors synthesize the effects of games on education to enhance
learning through visualization, experimentation, and creativity of play, [1].
Technology has meaning when making specific and distinctive contributions to
improve education. This is especially important when there are technologies (like
computers) available in the same contexts where the PDA is embedded. PDAs have
been described as low cost devices, comprising data storage and processing
capacities, mobile capabilities, ready-to-use, and, therefore, they can be easily
integrated to other devices, such as desktop computers [17].
Current literature has begun to study the behavior of people who daily carry work
or entertainment tools [2] as a way of improving the design of mobile devices like
PDAs and cell phones [7]. Therefore, the design of mobile devices from observing
daily actual behaviors of end-users using them begins to create a new understanding
of the construction of user-centered scenarios [8,10]
Several authors have posed the question about the pedagogical potential of mobile
devices [4,6,9]. Some experiences have shown that PDAs are most often used as tools
to aid in research and alternatives to paper-based tasks and group collaboration
activities [5]. A research experience using PDAs in collaborative learning has been
developed by profiting from mobility features of the device, making learning a more
natural process, and also promoting negotiation concepts in the classroom [3].
The overcrowding of mobile devices, which integrate functionality and allow a
high level of processing and communication, reveals an important potential on the use
of Personal Digital Assistants (PDA) for educational purposes. Their processing
capabilities, the feasibility of multimedia integration and communication possibilities
are key features to create playful and attractive activities for students.
2 Biology Learning with Mobile Technology
The methodology used in the project presented here is problem-solving. This
methodology is framed within learning constructivism in which learners are the main
324 J. Sánchez, A. Salinas, and M. Sáenz
actor in their learning process. Basically, the goal of problem solving methodology is
that children adapt the four fundamental steps involved in problem-solving: (1)
Understand the problem, (2) Trace a solution strategy, (3) Put the strategy into
practice, and (4) Check results.
A biological problem was presented to the students to be solved in a real-time
strategy game for pocketPC named Evolution. Learners have to keep and grow four
animal classes (fish, amphibian, reptiles and bird), each one with three species. The
interaction is made by different actions which affect positively or negatively in the
preservation and development of each species within changing and unknown
environments. The problem is faced in teams of four learners and each student had to
adopt a species.
Learners had to follow three main stages: fieldtrip to the zoo, classroom work and
final activity.
Fieldtrip to the Zoo. The first part of the methodology consisted in taking out the
students to a fieldtrip in a zoo, so they could understand key concepts for the
development of the fore coming stages. In this activity, and also in the next ones,
learners must solve a problem which is functional for solving the whole game main
problem. At this stage learners interacted with trivia software for pocketPC
(BuinZoo), which guided them and presented riddles that must be solved during the
visit to the zoo.
In order to solve the riddles, learners went to the zoo seeking information and
assisted with the guide and support provided by the software. Each team member
solved a different riddle which complements with the others from different members,
so they can solve the main problem.
When a student finished the test, he or she could help the team companions. Once a
team ended, the members gathered and shared relevant information of the work done.
Finally, each team presented their major conclusions to the problem posed through a
forum moderated by the teacher.
Classroom Work. Following the fieldtrip learners began to play at the classroom
with the game Evolution. This stage lasted four weeks and the students rotate their
interaction with different species. Likewise, during this time learners reinforce
contents embedded in the game, along with problem-solving tasks.
During this stage two activities were implemented in the classroom: 1. Game with
the PDA: students were dedicated to play Evolution. The time session was used for
manipulating species and exploring the possibilities offered by key variables
manipulated for evolution. Along with this, learners continued evaluating, sharing and
analyzing individual and team strategies with the rest of the team. From lesson to
lesson students designed, implemented and evaluated strategies designed to solve the
problem. 2. Approaching to concepts: lessons close to game sessions were planned
in such a way that the teacher could systematize the phenomena observed by learners
during the game and provide key content to understand and interpret the evolution
phenomenon. This content also allowed improving the learner’s performance in the
Mobile Game-Based Methodology for Science Learning 325
Final Activity. To observe the results of the work done during the previous stages, a
web application was implemented to allow students to observe a simulation of the
evolution of the species in the same environment. This simulation, using simplified
parameters, shows what would happen with the species grown by the students using a
bigger time scale. Hence, an environment with biological diversity and a sufficient
number of well grown individuals allow the sustainability of the environment in the
time being (see Figure 1). The idea behind this system was that learners could make
their own daily tracking, watching the status of the ecosystem resulting from game
Fig. 1. Web Simulation
3 Evolution
The game Evolution was designed and developed with real time strategy game
features. The purpose was to simulate a real biological process, where the flow of
time is a key variable since it affects living beings mortality and feeding. This type of
game also allows the development of synchronized action between different users
units and the adversary.
The user’s interaction in Evolution presents different components. The
environment is composed by rules which affect the natural behavior of the present
animals. It includes environment variables, which define the type and behavior of the
species. The student, through simulated actions (mortality, reproduction, feeding and
attack) generates changes in the environment status, restricted by defined rules.
The game displays an attractive interface, playful and intuitive. This is a key
element to the game experience, since keeping the users attention is a very important
matter in gaming. For this purpose, graphic and interaction concepts of this type of
game were re-used, focusing on the interface understanding. The interface of the
game is divided in four main parts: 1. Description: This sector shows help
descriptions to the user. These descriptions are dynamic depending on the current
context of the game. For example, if the user has selected certain unit, the description
326 J. Sánchez, A. Salinas, and M. Sáenz
Fig. 2. Interface of Evolution
will consist on relevant data associated to that unit. 2. Map: This is the main zone of
the game. This zone shows all events and provides access to all actions available in
the game (feeding, attacking, moving, reproducing and evolving units). 3. Mini Map:
This is a zoom out of the complete map, showing a general vision of all units. User
and enemy units are represented by a green and red square respectively, while nests
are represented by a white square. 4. Options Menu: There are three options in this
menu, from left to right: show evolving zone in the mini map, game pause/play, and
go to game menu (see Figure 2).
4 Usability Study
Expert Evaluation. This evaluation was carried out by two HCI experts ages
between 20 and 25 years old, assisted by a member of the development team. We
used heuristic evaluation questionnaires built from Schneiderman golden rules [20]
and Nielsen usability heuristics [14]. The resulting test consisted in 12 heuristics
embracing a total of 25 items. They are statements on which experts have to indicate
their appreciation in a Likert-type scale from strongly agree to strongly disagree. The
evaluation was carried out by each expert during a session of 45 minutes by using a
first prototype. During the session, the software was shown to experts. Then, they
explored the software freely during 30 minutes. Finally, they answered the Heuristic
Evaluation Questionnaire.
Experts highly accepted the software. On the average, the game obtained an
appreciation score of 3.6 out of 5 (see Figure 3). Out the 11 heuristics evaluated by
experts, 8 obtained scores situated in the average or above the average score. Only 3
heuristics were located below the average score.
The heuristics that presented the lowest score in the evaluation were “error
prevention”, “help users to recognize, diagnose and recover from error” and “help and
documentation” during the game. One of the most important reasons that can explain
the low score obtained in these three heuristics was the early implementation of this
test during software design and development cycle. However, the highest scores
obtained corresponded to the heuristics that are considered a standard for videogames
(and that learners are used to). The results of this testing allowed to correct bugs and
improve the interface design of the application, such as colors, icons and characters.
Mobile Game-Based Methodology for Science Learning 327
Fig. 3. Heuristic Evaluation
Cognitive walkthrough methods were also implemented. Experts assumed the role
of the end-users, developing tasks in an early prototype of the game. They played as if
the software was finished and solved tasks in the role of a typical user. Each step
carried out by the expert was monitored, looking for those situations in which the
interface blocked and prevented him or her to finish the task or to follow procedures
unnecessarily complex. This information allowed us to identify critical aspects to
improve in the interface.
Experts could complete all tasks without relevant difficulties. Experts detected
some bugs that were later eliminated, suggested the improvement of the feedback
provided by each action, and the correction of some errors.
End-User Evaluation. The sample consisted in 76 teenagers from 8th grade, from
three primary schools of Santiago de Chile. The sample selection was based on the
diversity criteria according to socio-economical level and academic results from
standard tests. In this test the Evolution game was evaluated.
The end-user evaluation was implemented through the following stages: software
introduction, software interaction, application of the End-User Usability
Questionnaire [18] and evaluation. The questionnaire consisted of 21 closed
questions, using a Likert-type scale of 5 points from “strongly agree” to “strongly
disagree”. Each answer was matched to a score scale from 5 to 1 respectively.
The results obtained can be grouped in 5 categories: (1) Game Satisfaction, (2)
Game Control, (3) Game Usage, (4) Game Sounds Quality and (5) Game Image and
Color Quality.
The field with the higher score was the one related to game image and color
quality, which reveals an attractive and entertaining user interface. Game sounds were
also evaluated with a high score. They were pleasant and visible to evaluators. There
were no important differences between women and men. There was a high general
satisfaction with the game, scoring an average of 4.2 (see Figure 4). Two very
important aspects were also evaluated: whether the user would play again, and
whether they would recommend the game to other youngsters. These aspects were
highly scored too, obtaining a total of 4 points out of 5. Both items were evaluated
highly by men and women.
The evaluation of the use of the game, based on the perception that the game was
interactive, user friendly, easy to use, motivating and with a interface that allows the
user to do everything in a simple and quick way, obtained a high score (4.1 out of 5),
328 J. Sánchez, A. Salinas, and M. Sáenz
Fig. 4. End-User Usability Results
stating clearly that the user interface and interaction were well designed for this type
of users (see Figure 4).
It was important for users that they felt they are in total control of the game; they
could do different actions when consider it was advisable, or stopped doing them as
well. This part of the evaluations scored the lowest of all variables (see Figure 4),
which could be explained by the type of game presented, where many actions could
not be controlled by the user.
There were difference between the results obtained by men and women on game
usage and control. In both cases the difference was about 0.5 points, which should be
highlighted. This difference tells that women found game interaction and
understanding more difficult than men. Along with this, they did not feel in total
control of the game.
5 Problem Solving Competitions
The measurement of problem-solving competitions was made by using a survey built
with 3 dimensional resolution scales. This survey was applied to students who
participated during the whole project and to a control group who did not participate in
the study. The scale records the report made by the students concerning the frequency
of the application of typical problem-solving procedures in their daily life.
Each dimension conform subscales measured by several items, whose scores vary
from 1 to 5. By using this subscale, the lower the score, the less frequency the
students apply a series of procedures related to planning, designing strategies and
As depicted in figure 5, the average score obtained in each the sub-scale varied
from 3.6 to 4.2 points. In each subscale, the experimental group obtained a score a
little higher than the control group. The dimension in which both groups obtained the
higher scores was strategy, but the scale that presented the biggest difference was
planning. This is precisely the subscale where the difference between the
experimental and control groups was statistically significant. This means that, when
controlling other variables, the activities performed in the project would improve
planning strategies in problem-solving. In the evaluation index of strategy for daily
life the differences were not significant by a small margin.
Mobile Game-Based Methodology for Science Learning 329
Fig. 5. Subscale Scoring on Daily Life Problem-Solving
We also applied a problem-solving performance test. The participants were 26
groups of 4 students each. From each of the participant classes plus the participants
from the control group, we selected randomly 2 teams of students. This test consisted
in that the students had to solve a problem during 10 minutes. The problem was to
build a route which joined a defined amount of dots over a surface, considering
special requirements and restrictions. The target, requirements, and restrictions were
given on paper to each student. The performance of the students was observed by 2
evaluators. Once the test was finished, a few questions, both oral and written, were
asked to the students about the experience.
The observations made during this test showed a small improvement in those
students from experimental group over the control group. In general, these students
tended to organize faster and to discuss more between them. Nevertheless, the most
interesting difference between both groups was that the students from the
experimental group followed the whole problem-solving cycle, including evaluation
of obtained results and comparing them with the requirements presented at the
beginning of the work.
6 Conclusions
The Evolution game was motivating for users, producing satisfaction and desire to
recommend it to others and to play again. Sounds and images used in the game were
pleasant to users and allowed to convey information.
Integrating games into education is not easy to achieve. There is an attempt to
articulate playful concepts with complex concepts, quickness with reflection. Our
game integrated these concepts to a level we could define as procedural: students
manipulated variables to achieve the evolution of their species. Nevertheless, the
declarative level was the teacher task out of schedule. Then, they researched over the
Internet, discussed concepts, and systematized information. We believe that this first
experience could be improved and represent a promising future line of work.
In more global terms, users were satisfied with the project. One of the things most
remarked by users was the game contribution to learning, and the newness and
mobility of the used technology, which allowed taking advantage of places like the
zoo for curricular purposes.
330 J. Sánchez, A. Salinas, and M. Sáenz
One of the most remarkable aspects was the commitment of learners with the task
performed. The literature about the use of games in education remarks the
commitment with the task as one of the strongest aspects and one of the main
contributions of games to learning. Participant teachers and students agreed that the
commitment produced, even on those times where the task was complex and hard for
learners. This is more interesting when learners often had little tolerance to hard work
and frustration from the harder tasks. We believe this is a very valuable and
interesting clue worth of further research: how the use of games in education can
increment work skills and solve complex problems, and at the same time allowing the
handling and management of learner’s frustration. In one of the visits to BuinZoo a
person who was visiting the zoo approached a research team member asking how we
achieved that students worked so focused and well, even in a context of little control
from teachers. The answer was the focus of the activity they were involved using the
PDA: students were working not to pursue a grade mark or because someone was
controlling their work. Rather, they were working because they were interested in
doing so.
We also found that the methodology used had an impact on the problem-solving
competitions of learners, but the results indicated that the impact was significant only
on one dimension out of the three analyzed. Our interpretation of this is that the
application was in a short period of time to produce an impact in all dimensions of
problem-solving. This should be explored more fully in future studies.
We believe that the development of games with educational purposes using mobile
devices is rewarding and stimulating. Our work has been guided by the interest of
developing a game with logic close to the most attractive games in the market,
integrating learning contents. We believe it is necessary to continue the study of
learning- embedded games, meaning that a good performance of the game is possible
when the contents are learned. At the same time, we believe that providing spatial
reality to learning (unbinding it to specific places such as the classroom and granting
mobility to students who want to move by nature) open new possibilities to tailor
learning to the learners way of being.
Acknowledgments. This report was funded by the Alliance for Education Program,
Microsoft Corporation, Project Biology Learning with Mobile Technology “ABTm -
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... Learning in physical space by observing a real object (Real object observation), is a learning activity strategy that is met in various mDGBL apps for addressing mobile and ubiquitous, and/or context-aware learning experience. An example of this situation was given by Sánchez et al. (2006) who developed a situated mDGBL app named BuinZoo in order to support learners' navigation in a zoo. The app consists of two games. ...
... If the outcome matches one of the aforementioned vertex shapes, then it is drawn on a virtual map and it is flagged with the specific team's color, so as to be visible to the other teams. Similarly, BuinZoo(Sánchez et al., 2006) discussed in subsection 3.2.1, contains a sub-game, named The evolution game. ...
... According to the authors, this enables learners to develop scientific argumentation skills. Human PacmanCheok et al. (2004), BuinZoo(Sánchez et al., 2006), Evolution(Sánchez et al., 2007), MobileMath(Wijers et al., 2008), MEL(Sandberg et al., 2011),Wang and Lai (2011), and ZooQuest(Veenhof et al., 2012) are very similar mDGBL apps in the fields of technology, mathematics, biology, music, place exploration, and English language.The use of communication channels is also explored in Mobile Rhythm Learning System (MRLS) music game(Wang and Lai, 2011). This game supports single or twoplayer gaming experience with the aim of assisting elementary school students to acquire rhythm skills that is considered a fundamental task at the first stages of learning music. ...
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Nowadays, due to the proliferation of the Internet and the increasing deployment of the plethora of internet-connected devices, security and privacy issues are considered fundamental topics in students' education. For instance, semantic attacks (also known as social engineering) such as phishing, aim to deceive or lure people into visiting a seemingly legitimate hyperlink in hopes to disclose their personal information. Similar attacks intend to violate computing devices and usurp users' personal information via the use of malware. All these kinds of attacks, exploit human's lack of knowledge rather than the system vulnerabilities. This is quite expected since attacks of this kind are typically unknown to the non-security-savvy individual, while for some others, the knowledge on security protection measures and privacy awareness is mostly classified as a secondary task Over the last decades, the concept of integrating learning and entertainment appeared in the Information Technology (IT) field and shaped new terms including learning by playing, Educational entertainment (Edutainment) and Game-Based Learning (GBL). Today, within the context of e-Learning, DGBL generally refers to the deployment of various forms of digital games to support teaching and learning. Such games can be played over the Internet, on personal computers, smartphones, or on specific mobile or traditional game consoles. GBL also pertains to digital board games, card games, and many others that are strategy-intensive. In the literature, DGBL is often referred to as Digital Game-Based Learning (DGBL). On the other hand, smart mobile devices are considered as context-sensitive and one of the most challenging technological fields in formal or lifelong learning due to their intrinsic characteristics such as portability, connectivity, built-in sensors, etc. Taking advantage of this technological trend, several researchers consider that e-Learning has given birth to an independent type of learning, which is known as mobile-Learning (m-Learning). This transformation supports just-in-time and just-in-place learning capabilities, by allowing learners (and instructors) to have instant access to the learning content and collaborative activities anytime, and from arbitrary device types and platforms. Further, several mobile hardware advancements, such as the plethora of sensors and wireless interfaces that these devices offer, have also contributed to a new transformation of m-Learning which is known as ubiquitous learning (u-Learning). So, the plethora of contextual information that can be detected from a u-Learning environment, led to context-aware learning apps. In this context, in this Ph.D. thesis, a literature review is conducted in order to identify several aspects of (m)DGBL for improving students' learning experience, spanning a period from 2004 to 2016. This review also contributes to pinpointing the different mobile characteristics and the main trends in mDGBL environments so far. We also paid special attention to whether the existing mobile games substantially utilize the technological affordances of mobile technologies for supporting innovative and pedagogically efficient context-aware learning environments. In this respect, we used a six-dimensional framework for scrutinizing the inherent constituents of the learning games and bring to the foreground important issues pertaining to mobile and context-aware ubiquitous DGBL. Moreover, this doctoral thesis focuses on the design and development of a novel learning platform that consists of a Learning Content Management System (LCMS) and a mobile DGBL (mDGBL) app for educating and raise users' awareness on basic cybersecurity and privacy issues. More specifically, the implemented mDGBL app, namely CybeAware, comprises a suite of quick games, that can be played either in a standalone or in a client/server mode, and it is designed to support elementary and early secondary students in formal and informal learning to basic Internet security and privacy issues. Further, the mobile version of CyberAware app can be experienced as a classroom or an outdoor learning activity. Contrary to analogous studies found in the literature so far, during the design phase of the app, our focus was not solely on its technological aspects, but we uniformly paid special attention to the educational factor by applying a specific model of motivation. Our findings from both the literature review and the evaluation of CyberAware suggest that, in information security and privacy domains, DGBL is rather the most efficient method to be used toward educating young learners. However, additional evaluation efforts are needed to better assess and estimate the positive impacts of this kind of learning for this particular domain.
... Learning in physical space by observing a real object (Real object observation), is a learning activity strategy that is met in various mGBL applications for addressing mobile and ubiquitous, and/or context-aware learning experiences. An example of this situation was given by Sánchez et al (2006) who developed a situated mGBL application named BuinZoo in order to support learners' navigation in a zoo. The application consists of two games. ...
... If the outcome matches one of the aforementioned vertex shapes, then it is drawn on a virtual map and it is flagged with the specific team's color, so as to be visible to the other teams. Similarly, BuinZoo (Sánchez et al, 2006) discussed in subsection 3.1, contains a sub-game, named The evolution game. In this sub-game, groups of 4 learners must cooperatively solve a problem regarding the colonization of 3 species, among 4 classes (fish, amphibians, reptiles and birds). ...
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With the increasing popularity of smartphones and tablets, game-based learning (GBL) is undergoing a rapid shift to mobile platforms. This transformation is driven by mobility, wireless interfaces, and built-in sensors that these smart devices offer in order to enable blended and context-sensitive mobile learning (m-Learning) activities. Thus, m-Learning is becoming more independent and ubiquitous (u-Learning). In order to identify and analyze the main trends and the future challenging issues involved in designing mGBL learning strategies, as well as to bring to the foreground important issues pertaining to mobile and context-aware ubiquitous GBL, the work at hand conducts a comprehensive survey of this particular area. Specifically, it introduces and applies a six-dimensional framework consisted of Spatio-temporal, Collaboration/Social, Session, Personalization, Data security & privacy, and Pedagogy, with the aim of scrutinizing the contributions in the field of mGBL published from 2004 to 2016. It was found that the transition to mGBL presents several difficulties, and therefore cannot be conceived as a simple and quick modification of existing GBL solutions. In this respect, this work is anticipated to foster the development of well-designed solutions that are intensive not only in their technological aspect, but in pedagogical qualities as well.
... Many works point to the pedagogical potential of new technologies and new human interfaces (Clough et al. 2008, Lloret Romero 2007, Sánchez, Salinas, and Sáenz 2007, Savage 2007. A number of technologies are presently emerging from STEAM initiatives within primary and secondary level music education. ...
This article presents a free framework for collaborative creation of interactive and experimental computer music called Soundcool. It is designed to fill a gap between rigid ready-to-use applications and flexible programming languages. The system offers easy-to-use elements for generating and processing sound, much like ready-made applications, but it enables flexible configuration and control, more like programming languages. The system runs on personal computers with an option for control via smartphones, tablets, and other devices using the Open Sound Control (OSC) protocol. Originally developed to support a new music curriculum, Soundcool is being used at different educational institutions in Spain, Portugal, Italy, and Romania through EU-funded Erasmus+ projects. In this article, we present our system and showcase three different scenarios as examples of how our system meets its objectives as an easy-to-use, versatile, and creative tool.
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Gaming is becoming a popular method of engaging students in learning processes across all levels of the educational community. The effective integration of gaming activities into course curricula has the potential to enhance student learning, motivation, and knowledge acquisition in a range of disciplines. However, gamification of education is not without its opponents, with many educators concerned about the negative impacts of game use on effective learning. This study enhances our understanding of contemporary practices related to the areas, usage and characteristics of gamification in education. It is of particular relevance to educational institutions with a focus on developing innovative teaching methods and curricula that utilize gamification techniques in a multidisciplinary , cross-national context across all stages of formal learning. Through the use of bibliometric analysis techniques, our study of the citation relations of 3,617 publications identified ten prominent themes dominated by gamification: mobile gaming, physical education, health and medicine, business, learning performance, programming and computing, English language, teacher adoption, primary & secondary education, and mathematics. Clear evidence of increased student motivation to learn and improved course results were evident in the examined literature. This study will benefit serious game designers, educators, and educational institutions to develop more inclusive and engaging pedagogies that exploit the ubiquitous availability of gaming technologies for inclusion in more traditional course delivery methods.
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Heuristic evaluation is a fast and cheap method that can be used to identify usability flaws in mobile learning applications. In this paper, we proposed a framework for heuristic evaluation of mobile learning applications to ensure that best practices are followed, hence saving time and effort in conducting a heuristic evaluation. Ten case studies on heuristic evaluation of mobile learning applications were selected, and an analysis was conducted to identify the best practices that were later incorporated into a framework. The framework was utilized to conduct heuristic evaluation to show the feasibility of our approach. The results indicate that it provides clear guidance, and it’s fast and easy to conduct heuristic evaluation.
Mathematics learning has become one of the most researched fields in education. Particularly, word or story problem solving skills have been gaining an enormous amount of attention from re-searchers and practitioners. Within this context, several studies have been done in order to analyze the impact that serious games have on learning processes, and in particular on the development of word problem solving skills. However, little is known regarding how games may influence student acquisition of the process skills of problem solving. In a first attempt, this theoretical paper deals with word problem solving skills enhancement in second grade school children by means of a practical educational serious game that addresses general and specific abilities involved in problem solving, focusing on how different parts of a solution effort relate with each other. The serious game is based on Polya’s problem-solving model. The emphasis of using the specific model was on dividing the problem-solving procedure into stages and the concentration on the essential details of a problem‐solving process and the relationships between the various parts of the solution.
Game-based learning environments and learning analytics are attracting increasing attention from researchers and educators, since they both can enhance learning outcomes. This book focuses on the application of data analytics approaches and research on human behaviour analysis in game-based learning environments, namely educational games and gamification systems, to provide smart learning. Specifically, it discusses the purposes, advantages and limitations of applying such approaches in these environments. Additionally, the various smart game-based learning environments presented help readers integrate learning analytics in their educational games and gamification systems to, for instance, assess and model students (e.g. their computational thinking) or enhance the learning process for better outcomes. Moreover, the book presents general guidelines on various aspects, such as collecting data for analysis, game-based learning environment design, system architecture and applied algorithms, which facilitate incorporating learning analytics into educational games and gamification systems. After a general introduction to help readers become familiar with the subject area, the individual chapters each discuss a different aim of applying data analytics approaches in educational games and gamification systems. Lastly, the conclusion provides a summary and presents general guidelines and frameworks to consider when designing smart game-based learning environments with learning analytics.
Technical Report
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A motivação intrínseca dos jovens com relação à jogos contrasta com a frequente falta de interesse deles pelos conteúdos curriculares. Em realidade, o mundo desafiador dos jogos molda as habilidades cognitivas dos estudantes e suas expectativas sobre o aprendizado, fazendo com que o conteúdo e práticas acadêmicas pareçam tediosas e sem sentido. A falta de motivação dos estudantes nos conteúdos acadêmicos e escolares, combinada com a presença de conceitos difíceis e métodos tradicionais, por vezes comprometem a eficácia do processo de ensino-aprendizagem. Procurando combater esse problema, alguns educadores estão se valendo de recursos interativos e de jogos digitais no ensino fundamental, médio e superior. Jogos educacionais podem contribuir diretamente no aprendizado dos alunos, pois eles possuem um fator motivacional que estimula curiosidade, dando ao estudante a impressão de que eles estão no controle do próprio aprendizado. Assim, jogos digitais também estão se tornando mais importantes no auxílio do aprendizado, uma vez que eles são capazes de contemplar diversos tópicos incluídos no currículo. Neste contexto, uma questão importante é a necessidade de avaliar a qualidade e especificamente a usabilidade de jogos educacionais, a fim de assegurar uma interação efetiva, eficiente e satisfatória focada nos objetivos didáticos do jogo. Uma forma amplamente usada de avaliar a usabilidade é por meio de avaliações heurísticas. Porém, apesar da existência de diversos conjuntos de heurísticas universais surge a pergunta: se não existem customizações de heurísticas de usabilidade especificamente para jogos voltados para o ensino. Desta forma, o presente trabalho visa levantar e mapear heurísticas de usabilidade para jogos educativos. As heurísticas são definidas por meio de um levantamento de literatura que mapeia e unifica as heurísticas de usabilidade e aspectos instrucionais. Como resultado é proposto um conjunto de heurísticas customizadas. Essas heurísticas podem ser utilizadas no desenvolvimento de jogos educacionais avaliando e indicando oportunidades de melhoria de usabilidade, contribuindo assim para o aumento da qualidade de jogos educacionais, permitindo que os alunos atinjam seus objetivos de aprendizagem de forma otimizada.
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In the last years, there has been an increasing interest in the design of video games as a tool for education, training, health promotion, socialization, etc. Usability, which is a key factor in any video game, becomes even more important in these so-called “serious games”, where the users’ special characteristics should be considered, and the game efficacy depends on the users’ adherence and engagement. However, evaluation of the usability of this kind of games requires a redefinition of techniques, methods and even terminology. In this paper, we elicit six research questions and conduct a systematic review of the scientific literature, which resulted in the selection of 187 papers that contained the most relevant responses. The conclusions of this systematic review illustrate the general status of current academic usability evaluations of these games and the main trends in the selection of methodologies and how are they applied. This view may be a very valuable foundation for future research.
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This paper explores the theoretical basis for a mentoring model of professional development concerned with the integration of computing technologies into classroom teaching and learning. It describes seven factors that affect professional development for technology integration and tells how the Capital Area Technology and Inquiry in Education (CATIE) Program's mentoring approach can be characterized according to each of these. Grounded in situative theories of knowledge and learning, the CATIE model places educational technology experts in schools and classrooms to work directly with teachers. Together mentors and teachers create and implement technology supported lessons that meet the teachers' instructional needs. The CATIE model thus aims to integrate technology into classroom activities at a grass roots level and situate teacher learning about technology in authentic classroom practice.
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One of the major themes concerning educational systems with programs that implement information and communication technologies (ICTs) in the schools is the integration into curriculum of these technologies. Once the school has the technology and teachers learn how to use it comes to discussion how to integrate it to the curriculum. The literature about technology integration to curriculum is unclear in both concept and orientation. This study intends to review the concept and scope of the integration of information and communication technologies ICTs into curriculum by proposing a conceptualization, requirements, levels, and models for ICTs curriculum integration and appropriation. Keywords: Integration of Technology into Curriculum, Information and Communication Technologies, Curriculum Models, Cognitive and Social Appropriation, Computer in Education, Educational Technology. Uno de los temas de mayor preocupación de los sistemas educacionales que han implementado tecnologías en las escuelas es la integración curricular de las Tecnologías de la Información y Comunicación, TICs. Una vez que la escuela posee la tecnología y los profesores aprenden a usarla, el tema que surge es cómo integrarla al currículo. Al respecto, la literatura sobre integración curricular de TICs no es del todo clara en su conceptualización y orientación. Este estudio tiene por finalidad revisar el concepto de integración curricular de las tecnologías de la información y sus alcances, proponiendo una conceptualización, requerimientos, niveles y modelos para la integración y apropiación curricular de las TICs. Palabras Claves: Integración Curricular de Tecnologías, Tecnologías de la Información y Comunicación, Modelos Curriculares, Apropiación Cognitiva y Social, Informática Educativa, Tecnología Educacional.
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The design challenges and experiences faced during the designing of mobile devices are discussed. Mobile devices are opening up business opportunities, and conveniences for users. One of the challenge for designing the mobile devices is lack of screen space. The fundamental areas that should be considered while designing are method, business, and brand. Mobile applications come with a complicated business model still being worked out is the marketplace. As the industry realizes the value of mobile platform for providing needed functions and capabilities to users, the need to generate latest business models, latest method, and latest products that will improve the lifestyle.
The State of Virginia’s Standards of Learning (SOL) curriculum identifies specific objectives for each grade level in the subjects of reading, math, science, and social studies, and assesses student mastery of those objectives at targeted grade levels. The third-grade social studies curriculum and test represent a particular challenge for teachers because they cover information taught from kindergarten through third grade over a wide variety of topics, including Ancient Civilizations, Famous Americans, Civics, Famous Explorers, and U.S. Holidays. To assist one school in reviewing for the third-grade exam, the first author developed a Web-based review tool using the formats of the popular television game shows Who Wants to Be a Millionaire? and Jeopardy! that actively engaged students in reviewing social studies material. This mixed-method study used both a quasi-experimental and a qualitative approach. In the quasi-experimental design, scores of students in one third-grade class who used the game to review for the SOL test were compared to scores of students in another class who reviewed for the exam using more traditional methods. Students in the Web-review treatment were extensively observed, recorded, and analyzed. Students in the Web-based review treatment did score higher in the SOL exam than students in the control group, but not significantly so. However, more importantly, the games promoted higher order learning outcomes such as increased meaningful dialogue among students and the identification of student misconceptions, both of which contributed to deeper student understanding.
This article explores the theoretical basis for a mentoring model of professional development concerned with the integration of computing technologies into classroom teaching and learning. It describes seven factors that affect professional development for technology integration and tells how the Capital Area Technology and Inquiry in Education (CATIE) Program's mentoring approach can be characterized according to each of these. Grounded in situative theories of knowledge and learning, the CATIE model places educational technology experts in schools and classrooms to work directly with teachers. Together mentors and teachers create and implement technology supported lessons that meet the teachers' instructional needs. The CATIE model aims to integrate technology into classroom activities at a grass roots level and situate teacher learning about technology in authentic classroom practice.