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Edumarket game: Technocity



The objective of this paper is to restore the process of development and installation of a project called "Technocity" which aims to develop technology courses of French State Education among the young people from 15 to 18 years old. We develop a gameplay to build a new school guidance tools. We choose to create a dynamic approach with video game and shortly report on different technical job. After, we explore the impact and the reception of this tool in different classrooms by childrens.
Edumarket game : Technocity
Julian Alvarez Olivier Rampnoux Jean-Pierre Jessel Gilles Methel
Toulouse II & III, FRANCE Poitiers, FRANCE Toulouse III, FRANCE Toulouse II, FRANCE
The objective of this paper is to restore the process of development and installation of a project
called "Technocity" which aims to develop technology courses of French State Education among
the young people from 15 to 18 years old. We develop a gameplay to build a new school guidance
tools. We choose to create a dynamic approach with video game and shortly report on different
technical job. After, we explore the impact and the reception of this tool in different classrooms by
Keywords: Advertaising tools, Advertainment, Education, Innovation, Marketing, Reception, School guidance
1 Introduction
Technical courses of study offered by the state edu-
cation system, "Electro technical Energy", "Elec-
tronics IT", "System maintenance", "Mechanical
engineering" and "Construction – civil engineering"
find themselves in a dramatic situation in terms of
attractiveness and recruitment as a result of their
very poor image and reputation among young peo-
ple. Even though there are real opportunities in
terms of finding a job, attractive salaries and profes-
sions which are far from being routine, each year
classes in the technological sector are being closed
because there are insufficient numbers of candi-
dates. Starting from this observation, the Sumotori
communication agency has suggested to the state
education authorities and the local education board
in the Midi-Pyrenees Region (France) that they add
to their communication plan and traditional tools
through the development of a tool in order to boost
the number of candidates and to improve the image
of these courses.
"Technocity" is intended to participate in improving
the image of five technological courses of study as
seen by young people aged 15 to 18. The idea is to
innovate in the communication strategy through the
use of new technologies. Sumotori has suggested to
the local education board to try to attract young
people and to reinforce the impact of the message by
using the principle of the video game as a communi-
cation mediator. The strategy is based on the idea of
arousing interest and attracting the target with a rec-
reational format and a medium which recalls their
digital leisure activities and then encourages them to
discover a message of a persuasive nature : discover
and learn about the technological courses.
This experiment is a first for the local education
board which has decided to give it a go and evaluate
its impact. This choice has been driven by the ur-
gency of the situation. The economic pressure on the
school system is more and more significant in terms
of performance and efficiency. "Technocity" com-
bines in the same movement the recreational dimen-
sion and the informative dimension. In order to keep
the attention for long periods, the video game is
attractive and will offer mini reports at a later stage.
During the game, the student will complete a quiz
relating to the professions shown in the videos. This
is this a radically new approach which seeks to
combine the digital leisure activities of the child,
videos and games. Given that our ultimate aim is to
modify the child's attitude towards technological
courses, we can talk of an advertising product. But,
as the concept contains video games which require
dexterity and experience of games, we can also po-
sition this product as entertainment. We see emerg-
ing an illustration of what is usually called adver-
tainment. However, we must go beyond this term
because, as a result of introducing into "Technocity"
the quizzes which refer to the recreational educa-
tional space, we find ourselves in a more complex
combination which brings together the stakes of
entertainment, education and marketing. This inno-
vative combination brings forth a new category of
product which we could call Edumarket game.
Today, communication strategies already use video
games to place products, the mobile phone to broad-
cast messages or ring tones which reproduce the
sound associated with a brand. "Technocity" goes
even further, because through this product, we are
seeking to make video games compatible with a
persuasive message which evokes studies and work.
This antinomy is our major concern and is central to
our thinking. Firstly, we will look at what is at stake
in the development of "Technocity" and we will
present the original facets of the product, and then
we will present the results achieved in studies and
inquiries carried out with children and teachers and
representatives from the state education authorities.
2 Scenario development of Technocity
2.1. Games design
In order to develop the game scenarios, the first step
was to list the "federating aptitudes" which are
looked for in the child for each of the five prede-
fined sectors. These "federating elements" are then
associated with major existing families of video
games (arcade, simulation, strategy) to determine
the choice of gameplay for the five "Technocity"
games. For example, in the case of "Mechanical
engineering", whose "federating elements" are "spa-
tial perception", "reflection" and adaptability", the
principle of the game is an assembly game along the
lines of "Tetris". We were guided in our choice by
the idea that, beyond recognising skills, these games
have to stand out in order to offer a choice to cover a
widely as possible the different groups of players
which make up the target.
Budgetary constraints and production deadlines
played a large part in the development of the games.
Developing a 3D video game for general release
such as "Warcraft III", "The Sims" or "GTA", which
could involve several hundred people over many
months or years, requires a budget well in excess of
1 million euros. Moreover, video games for general
release must make a profit which requires sales of
thousands, or even millions of copies. In the present
case, the means at the disposal of the education
authorities are quite relative and make it necessary
to consider cheaper development alternatives. We
decided to develop a multimedia video game using
programmes such as "Flash" (Adobe/Macromedia)
which are simpler and quicker to use.
2.2. Style of graphics and sound in the games
The conscious choice of 2D, unlike the most recent
video games on sale, aims at producing a break in
perception. This type of contract can also be found
in most small cartoon animations on Internet,
"webtoons" such as "Happy Tree Friends", which
push the concept to an extreme degree by depicting
animals with personalities. Thus, a 2D graphic uni-
verse exists which is recognised and codified by
children and we found it logical to use it as a source
of inspiration. Moreover, as music and fashion are
federating elements of identification for young peo-
ple, the option of introducing variations with ado-
lescent fashion models, associated with different
styles of music also fits into the scheme of commu-
nal on-line practices. Each variation has its own
music dedicated to its style of clothing and it ac-
companies the player through the different phases of
the game
2.3. The video sequences in the mini reports
In order to present the various technical sectors, the
local education board had several different video
films. They present interviews with young techni-
cians who describe their jobs for 2 to 3 minutes and
explain exactly what they do. Presenting the mes-
sage through explanatory videos constituted a diffi-
culty both in terms of scenario and narrative in that
the user has to move from an active state (interact-
ing in the video game) to a passive state (watching
video extracts) which creates a genuine break.
Moreover, when the first video sequence is shown,
we are at a crucial moment in the narrative structure,
because the real intention of "Technocity" is re-
vealed. In order to stimulate the attention and
strengthen the recreational dynamic, a quiz with
questions linked to the contents of the videos is pro-
posed during the video sequences. A significant gain
is made available in order to stimulate the memori-
zation work of the student: access to new Flash
games by a connection to 6 advertainments from the
Dupuis’s website The local edu-
cation board is relying on word of mouth which
might encourage young people to access games with
well known enduring characters. This idea sends us
back to the question of how "Technocity" will be
received, to the formation of preferences which are
going to have an influence on the attitude towards
the professions presented and thus how it will affect
the capacity to develop a behavioral intention for
career guidance, which is the subject of the second
part of our report.
3 Evaluation of Technocity
3.1. Research design
Distribution of the product takes place in two
phases. First of all, through the intermediary of
1,000 CD-ROMs distributed in 600 colleges, secon-
dary schools and career guidance centres in the
Midi-Pyrenees region (France). Then an Internet site
is set up with content identical to that of the CD-
ROM ( The idea is that the site
enables young people to continue exploring “Tech-
nocity”’s contents at home and can show it to their
group of peers and to their parents.
In order to comprehend the reception of "Tech-
nocity", we have put in place a study design (Evrard
et al, 2003) which aims at covering the entire target,
but more particularly students in 3ème (grade 9),
because it is a key part in career orientation. At the
end of the college cycle many students can decide to
opt for the technical sectors. First of all, we made
participative observations with the students and in-
terviews with education authority representatives
and teachers in order to define a number of items
and to be able to construct a questionnaire which
will be put to a representative sample of the target
population. The key idea is to assess the persuasive
value of the concept thus developed on students
after the orientation process through a comparison
with pre-orientation statements, the perception of
"Technocity" and the real orientation via the dossi-
ers constituted by the students. Using the informa-
tion thus collected, which will terminate at the end
of the 2006 school year, we will be able to consider
constructing a segmentation like that of Schaaper
(1999) for the video game market. The identification
of user profiles and the definition of a taxonomy of
the students is necessary to enable the evolution of
the communication tools during the next informa-
tion and orientation campaigns put in place by the
local education board. In this context, we considered
it essential, in order to assess the reception of
"Technocity", to meet all the different classes, while
also taking into account the socio-geographical pa-
rameters such as the urban, peripheral and rural
3.2. Results, attitude and reception
In the end, our results cover six reports of partici-
patory observation in 8 classes, and 12 individual
interviews with secondary school teachers and rep-
resentatives of the local education board. Given that
the entire study took place within a college or sec-
ondary school during sessions supervised by teach-
ers, (we can consider that it is a kind of immersion)
it is quite clear that this interacted with the reception
of the product. Indeed, in the school setting, the
child places himself in an apprentice situation and
not in a play position. The institutional setting nor-
malises the reception of "Technocity" and therefore
requires distancing the speeches and the remarks
made by the students. As a result, as the first se-
quence, after choosing a character, begins with a
video game, the contrast with the school context
produced a very positive and enthusiastic initial
reaction from all the students. As Molinier points
out, as a result of the labelling of the school around
knowledge, skills and apprenticeships, and also a
virtual refusal of the game in the school setting
(Brougère, 1995), the recreational sphere appears as
a contradiction, indeed a break with what the stu-
dents expected, we are able to interpret this attitude
in the light of the product.
As part of this research, we wanted to take a tripar-
tite approach to the attitude and not a uni-
dimensional approach. Indeed, by picking up on the
work by Derbaix (1982) concerning the hierarchy of
effects, which deal with advertising in particular, it
appeared logical to us to seek to break down the
attitude of the child into these three components,
that is to say, the cognitive component, the affective
component and the conative component. Knowing
that the model which has been well-tested with chil-
dren is an inverted sequence compared to the adult,
we are in the presence of the following chain of
events : affective – conative cognitive. Thus, the
initial enthusiastic reaction of the children relates to
the affective dimension of the product. Moreover, as
in the case of advertising in its traditional form, we
know that the peripheral elements (music, charac-
ters, colours and graphics) play a key role in the
construction of this affective dimension (Kapferer,
1985, Guichard, 2000). All the consideration, con-
ception and development work carried out before-
hand is justified by this initial reaction by the chil-
In a second phase, during our observations, we no-
ticed that playing video games followed by watch-
ing videos does not produce any weariness in the
short term. Given the constraints linked to the
school setting, our experimentation and observation
protocols could not exceed one hour. In numerous
cases, we had to interrupt the game or video because
the students did not wish to stop it themselves. From
this assessment, becoming familiar with the product
has been achieved and raises interest. From the point
of view of attitude, once again the product encour-
ages support, and in particular in the behavioural
component. Lastly, with regard to the cognitive di-
mension which sends us back to a better under-
standing of the professions and sectors, the fact that
a large number of students were able to finish com-
plete sequences (video games and quizzes on pro-
fessions) leaves us to think that the adolescents have
memorised the information, at least in the short
term. The question of transferring the memory of
work to the long term memory of knowledge was
not part of the declared aims of the product.
The exploration of behavioral intention remains to
be explored and understood. Currently, our results
do not enable us to reach any conclusion regarding
the impact and thus, efficiency of "Technocity" in
relation to student orientation. This is the subject of
the second phase of our research design which is
currently being developed. If a real impact exists,
we will have to test the hypothesis of knowledge
memorization, of the modification of their vision of
industrial professions, and the fact that students
have made appointments with career guidance coun-
selors or are seeking information about these profes-
sions. Lastly, an increase in the number of students
in the classes previously out of favor may also be an
indication of efficiency, but this would then require
having control over all the variables interacting in
this chain of events which leads to an actual enroll-
ment in the training branch.
4 Conclusion
Our reflection will only be complete when we have
tackled the question of student orientation in all its
complexity. The mobilisation and development of
new communication tools are not sufficient to guar-
antee the efficiency of the tool. Indeed, school ori-
entation is also an eminently social process, in
which parents seek to enrol their children on a tra-
jectory which is in line with their social status and
their representations of professions and sectors. Par-
ents are strongly aware of the importance of school
and training in order to ensure more rapid integra-
tion into the world of work in an extremely com-
petitive context. As a result, the question arises con-
cerning the choice of the target for state education
communication campaigns, parents or children and
hence the genuine efficiency of a tool such as
"Technocity". School orientation is a syncretic deci-
sion for parents in which the children are closely
associated. As a result by targeting secondary school
students, we hope to exploit this double socialisation
(parents – children and children – parents) or social
interactions (Gollety, 1999). The question of the
impact of "Technocity" and its reception by parents
remains complete and does not come within our
research. The other point to be analysed arises di-
rectly from the comparison between an 3D edu-
markert game, like Food-Force ( and Technocity. Even though they use
the same narrative plan, these two products do not
make use of the same technologies (3D vs. 2D), and
the influencing agent does not have the same legiti-
macy (United Nations vs. State Education) and they
do not deal with the same themes. Having these two
approaches available today makes us open to other
study objects, to know if the different computer
graphics approaches play a significant role in the
reception of messages by young people, if edumar-
ket game will open as many new paths to be ex-
ploited in commercial strategies for industrialists
and marketing professionals.
Gilles Brougère, Jouer/Apprendre, Paris, Economica An-
thropos, 2005.
Christian Derbaix, L'enfant, la communication publici-
taire et la hiérarchie des effets, Recherches française de
marketing,(89) p.31 – 47, 1982.
Mathilde Gollety, Lorsque parents et enfants s'apprennent
mutuellement à consommer, Décisions Marketing,(18)
p.69 - 80, 1999.
Stephen Kline., Nick Dyer-Witheford and Greig de Peuter
Digital Play. The Interaction of Technology, Culture
and Marketing, Montréal, McGill-Queen's Univer-
sity Press, 2003.
Tony Manninen, Interaction Forms and Communicative
Actions in Multiplayer Games, Copenhague , Game
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Pierre Molinier, Enjeux d'une culture de l'image à l'école,
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ResearchGate has not been able to resolve any citations for this publication.
Full-text available
This paper offers an insight into interaction forms available in multiplayer games by analysing the communicative and social aspects of computer-mediated gaming. The work is conducted using conceptual analysis, by applying the Communicative Action Theory as the framework. The analytical framework is further expanded by a model of interaction forms, which delineates the categories of perceivable interaction forms. The main contribution of this work is in illustrating the available interaction forms and in analysing them based on the various functions they support. The successful application of the social theory framework as a tool for analysing interaction forms indicates the importance of combining the research efforts of various disciplines and practices in order to achieve more comprehensive results in the area of interaction design for multiplayer games.
Witheford and Greig de Peuter Digital Play. The Interaction of Technology
  • Stephen Kline
  • Nick Dyer
Stephen Kline., Nick Dyer-Witheford and Greig de Peuter Digital Play. The Interaction of Technology, Culture and Marketing, Montréal, McGill-Queen's University Press, 2003.
Enjeux d'une culture de l'image à l'école
  • Pierre Molinier
Pierre Molinier, Enjeux d'une culture de l'image à l'école, Paris, An@é,(2), 2000.
The Interaction of Technology
  • Stephen Kline
  • Nick Dyer-Witheford
  • Greig De Peuter Digital
  • Play
Stephen Kline., Nick Dyer-Witheford and Greig de Peuter Digital Play. The Interaction of Technology, Culture and Marketing, Montréal, McGill-Queen's University Press, 2003.