EDUCATING CHILDREN IN SMART CITIES BY USING A VIDEOGAME
Smart cities make use of information technologies to improve performance and quality of urban services, to decrease costs and to optimize resources, besides to involve citizens actively. However, many citizens, including children, do not know all the services and advantages that a smart city offers to them. In this work, we make use of a geogame, that is, a videogame played in a real geographic environment, to involve them in different cities and, by playing with real services, increase their knowledge about smart cities.
When training or education becomes boring, it is obvious that we are not being engaged or motivating. That is, we are not involved in the process of learning. However, it is sometimes confused or mapped learning to memorization, and learning does not mean memorization. Thus, instead of spending time in the classroom trying to learn how to perform in the face of real-world challenges. We consider that effective, interactive experiences that motivate and actively engage us in the learning process are necessary.
Therefore, we propose a game-based learning process to educate children in smart cities. Our main objective is to increase the knowledge in terms of transportation, traffic and bikes lines in a city.
This game is scoped in popular cities around the world, probably well known by most of the potential players. Our target players are children (adults are also allowed) interested in knowing better a city, within this particular atmosphere. In general, children play in different cities in the world, and services such as traffic conditions or information about bus stops, to name a few, will be connected to the corresponding level.
This game is mainly focused on cities, and game levels are bound to them. For example, you could have a group of levels named “New York”, with a particular level where the player must cross some checkpoints in the shortest time possible. In another level, the player should get to a place, as fast as possible, taking into account the current, and real, traffic conditions, and so forth.
Aiming at sustaining interest in the experience over time, for each level, leaderboards with best players are available. Moreover, players optionally can enable a multiplayer mode, so that they see other users playing, at the same time, in the same place (level).
In conclusion, using a videogame can lead us to produce and refine highly motivating learning environments for the children to enjoy. In fact, this is motivational because we can quickly see and understand the connection between the learning experience and our real-life work.