2 Sofia University (BULGARIA)
About this paper:
Appears in: EDULEARN18 Proceedings
Publication year: 2018
Pages: 8260-8270
ISBN: 978-84-09-02709-5
ISSN: 2340-1117
doi: 10.21125/edulearn.2018.1922
Conference name: 10th International Conference on Education and New Learning Technologies
Dates: 2-4 July, 2018
Location: Palma, Spain
Nowadays, digital games are applied in education as a highly interactive visual media able to incorporate knowledge, didactic tasks, and virtual objects in an appealing and highly interactive way. Modern game-based learning has proven advantages over classical teaching in a classroom - it motivates students to play an active role in the learning process and, hence, to learn in an immersive and effective way. While playing educational video games, learners obtain both long-lasting knowledge and practical skills in an enjoyable way. For a massive penetration of educational video games into the learning process, teachers and educationalists do need simple and affordable software platforms for an easy construction and generation of such games in their subject area, in a straightforward way without any needs of programming. For greater both effectiveness and efficiency, constructed games for learning should adjust their features such as task difficulty, object speed, learning content, and audio-visual effects depending on the outcomes and the emotional state shown by the player. Thus, players would be able to improve their skill levels, cognitive abilities, and overall performance.

The paper presents a case study aiming at the identification of user needs of platforms for construction of educational video games, developed in the scope of the project APOGEE (smArt adaPtive videO GamEs for Education). The project goal is conceived as creation and practical validation of an innovative open software platform for building smart and adaptive video games for education. The games will represent educational mazes with various didactic tasks embedded into each room of the labyrinth. They are going to be constructed, customized, and automatically generated by K12 teachers and educationalists using the APOGEE online platform, without any need of skills in programming and information technologies. In order to identify and understand the user needs, at the very beginning of the project the team conceived and conducted a special case study addressing these needs.

The case study was designed as a two-stage process:
1. First, we conducted structured interviews with K12 teachers and educationalists in order to embrace their vision about both the types and usage of educational video games applicable to their subject and, next, about the functional requirements for the future online platform for construction, customization, and automatic generation of such games;
2. Second, we conducted an online survey applying a special questionnaire having 21 items addressing the types and the use of educational video games, together with the functional requirements for the platform.

The paper outlines the stages of the conducted case study and the specifics of the questionnaire. As well, it presents some of the initial results obtained from filling in the questionnaire, together with an initial statistical analysis of obtained data. Next, it provides a discussion on both the meaning and significance of the presented data. Finally, the paper concludes with some important decision about the types of educational games found important for K12 learning and, as well, about the features of the future platform for construction and automatic generation of smart and adaptive video games for education.
User needs, educational video games, platform, generation, K12 schools, APOGEE.