1 Universidade Aberta (PORTUGAL)
2 Engineering Institute of Oporto (PORTUGAL)
3 University of Oporto, Faculty of Engineering (PORTUGAL)
About this paper:
Appears in: EDULEARN15 Proceedings
Publication year: 2015
Pages: 1721-1727
ISBN: 978-84-606-8243-1
ISSN: 2340-1117
Conference name: 7th International Conference on Education and New Learning Technologies
Dates: 6-8 July, 2015
Location: Barcelona, Spain
This paper starts by presenting the development of a game aimed at making the process of learning sign language enjoyable and interactive. In this game the player controls a character that interacts with various objects and non-player characters, with the aim of collecting several gestures from the Portuguese Sign Language. The learning model used pushes forward the concepts of gamification and storytelling as learning processes valued by students and teachers alike, and how they may be used as personalized devices for amplifying learning. The ultimate goal is providing a new methodology to involve students and general public in learning specific subjects using a ludic, participatory and interactive approach supported by ICT-based tools.

Research in educational technology needs to go far beyond learning with multimedia to recognize the role of new learning experiences, for example, one that games and simulations can reveal. The learning model which we call "ludic" - based on games - can be used in formal or informal education by well-defined age groups, and can be introduced in various scientific fields. In the educational context, considering that "ludic” is not usually a priority in most activities, a game may be the motivating factor that is needed in many learning resources.

Unfortunately, the production and deployment of educational games is not without difficulties, particularly:
• The high development costs and an uncertain market make investment in educational games and innovations too risky for producers;
• Institutions resist adopting innovations and do not want to make unnecessary changes and investments, including the use of new technologies for learning;
• Instructors, institutions and publishers do not (traditionally) want to replace textbooks with educational games;
• The value of specific educational technologies (games, simulations, etc..) have not been proven in many cases;
• Parents and teachers still have very negative attitudes about the use of games in the classroom;
• Games are especially suited to teach higher order skills that are not typically assessed through examinations (multitasking, decision-making, strategic vision, etc.);
• Easy access to computers and the Internet cannot be taken for granted in educational institutions (the case of many developing countries).

Gamification is a relatively new concept that has acquired considerable momentum over the last years (Deterding et al, 2011; Lee & Hammer, 2011; Kapp, 2012). It’s a concept that integrates the mechanics of gaming in non-game activities to make these more effective and enjoyable. When used in the educational field, gamification seeks to integrate game dynamics and game mechanics into learning activities, for example, using tests, quizzes, exercises, edu-games, badges, etc., in order to drive the intrinsic motivation and foster participation of students. In a way, educational processes have always used gamification in learning activities by applying scores on assignments that can be considered points. However, this game-based system doesn’t seem very engaging for the students; so, in this paper we discuss that perhaps education processes could be improve by adding the gaming factor, and a digital narrative, trough technologies that are able to involve students in a way that is more physical (using Kinect and sensor gloves), so learning becomes more memorable and intense.
Educational game, gamification, storytelling, Portuguese Sign Language.