Foundation for Research and Technology – Hellas (FORTH) - Institute of Computer Science (ICS) (GREECE)
About this paper:
Appears in: EDULEARN17 Proceedings
Publication year: 2017
Pages: 8475-8484
ISBN: 978-84-697-3777-4
ISSN: 2340-1117
doi: 10.21125/edulearn.2017.0577
Conference name: 9th International Conference on Education and New Learning Technologies
Dates: 3-5 July, 2017
Location: Barcelona, Spain
Lately, many educators adopt a “playful learning” approach, where students are actively engaged to the learning process (Resnick, M. 2004), instead of passively receiving information (Fisher et al. 2011). Technology promotes the creation of playful educational applications; nevertheless, educators are mainly confined to use the content that comes prebuilt with each application.

This paper presents an authoring tool that enables educators to create new content and scenarios for various types of ubiquitous educational games through an intuitive UΙ. The main goal of the system is to provide an educator-friendly mechanism through which the user can intuitively “program” some of the games’ aspects. Five game types are currently supported, giving the educators the opportunity to create a rich portfolio of fun exercises for their students:

-Multiple choice quizzes. The educator is able to insert questions with at least two possible answers, which can be optionally accompanied by relevant multimedia.
-“Find the correct sequence” games. The goal of these games is to place a number of items in the correct order. Through the authoring tool, the educator can insert each step (i.e., description, image, etc.) and define the correct sequence(s).
-“Classification” games. This type of game allows the students to train their classification skills by placing items on their correct location on a map (e.g., placing a pot on the stove, placing the hens in their coop, placing Big Ben in England, etc.).

In order to create such games, the educator has to:
(i) define the map (e.g., a picture of: a kitchen, a backyard, map of Europe, etc.),
(ii) designate areas of interest on the map (e.g., stove, cupboards, refrigerator, etc.),
(iii) insert the relevant items (e.g., pot, dishes, etc.), and
(iv) associate them with the appropriate areas of interest.

-“Wrong item detection” games. The gameplay revolves around a map that contains correct and wrong items and the player has to designate those that do not belong to it (e.g., dishes in the bathroom). To create such a game, the educator firstly has to select the map and then place the correct and wrong items on it.

-“Execute a process” games. This is the most complex –in terms of creation– type of game. The student is asked to follow a process (e.g., cook a recipe) by completing different sorts of activities. Through the authoring tool, the educator has to insert each step of the process which requires the definition of:
(i) the action expected by the user (e.g., bring, cut, remove, etc.),
(ii) the items involved in the current step (e.g., lettuce, knife, etc.),
(iii) the area where the step takes place (e.g., the sink),
(iv) the outcome of the step (e.g., a bowl of chopped lettuce).

Additionally, for each of the aforementioned games, the educator can define their difficulty level (i.e. simple or advanced) and optionally provide:
(i) multimedia to augment textual information,
(ii) help and feedback messages and
(iii) different content for the simple and the advanced levels.

A heuristic evaluation experiment was conducted in order to identify any major usability issues before proceeding with user testing. A group of five evaluators inspected the interface and judged its compliance with recognized usability principles ("heuristics"). The next steps include the incorporation of the improvements revealed by the evaluation and the realization of a full-scale user-based evaluation with end-users.
Authoring tool, ubiquitous educational games.