DIZ3, TECHNOLOGY FOR A BETTER EDUCATION
Having in mind the evolution of technology inside classrooms and the proximity that is increasing between young students and technology environment, it is clear the need to build tools that promote learning, appealing to new technology.
That was the main reason why Diz3 was created. It is an application built to evaluate primary school students’ mental skill and test, in a playful way, the knowledge acquired on the three main areas of study – Maths, Portuguese Language and “Estudo do Meio” (which is a mixture of Geography, Science and interpersonal relations).
This application differs from the existing ones because it presents questions in a test that is highly parameterized, anticipating the outputs of propositions with different formulations, but with the same objectives. This system was named Questions Generation Models. Nowadays they are classified in a tree of objectives, having more than 2000 models. The mentioned method is an innovative way of representing several scientific areas not only in a scientific and educational perspective but also in a computer science perspective, and is the essential software produced by Projecto Matemática Ensino of the University of Aveiro for the last 20 years.
Due to the referred aspects, Diz3, becomes a highly dynamic tool because it allows 2 computers/mobile phones, side by side, working on the same goal but rendering different propositions for each user to answer. Therefore, every time each user access the application it will be shown a different group of questions to which will be always associated the educational skills that want to be evaluated.
The competitive spirit is also noticed, because after finishing the test, a score board,
in real time, is calculated, according to the given answers and the time that was used. It is given the option of checking each student best result, last scores and the access to a ranking where the user can compare his scores with his partner.
From the technological point of view, this application spotlights itself because it uses a complex system of rendering mathematic formulas on MathML to keep scientific precision.
All the interaction between user/machine was carefully studied to create an intuitive and appealing layout to children in this age group, optimizing not only the conventional use (keyboard/mouse) but also use the interactive boards that exist inside classrooms. As we live in a technological era we didn’t want to limit the use of this application to a desktop or laptop one, consequently mobile versions to Diz3, similar to the original but directed to platforms with systems like Android (Google) and iOS (Apple) were developed. They are available for free download on the markets of these two companies. The goal of this initiative is to promote a formal education, that also has a playful and an interactive character. It is to be used outside the classroom giving to students the possibility to challenge their knowledge anywhere by using only a tablet or a smartphone.
Since its launching in January 2011, Diz3 has already 2740 registered users with near 27.500 played games, which shows a strong reception since its first day. It also shows that it is appealing to its users because they tend to play it several times.