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Project

Game-Based-Learning

Framework

Play has always been an important element in the development of children, both as an individual and as a social being. Lots of research has been carried out on play activities and their deep positive impact, and today they are universally considered one important element in cognitive and social development. Playing allows the child to experiment and consolidate new skills and abilities while enjoying himself. Furthermore, the generation of the digital natives often prefers and mainly uses digital games.

This project aims at investigating the relationship between digital games and learning in a wide variety of contexts (formal education in schools and professional training, informal and non-formal education). Within the project, specific digital educational games have been designed and developed, as well as educational methodologies for the use of off-the-shelf digital games and apps. Besides curricular competences, also basic skills such as logical reasoning, problem solving, and strategic thinking are addressed.

Objectives

  • Analysis of the state of the art in specific environments, such as digital games for the development of strategic thinking and logical reasoning, for special educational needs; and for ageing adults to maintain their cognitive abilities;
  • Design and development of games for specific educational contexts (e.g. compulsory education, students with special needs, etc.);
  • Design of learning modules for game based learning in schools;
  • Development of specific methodologies and teacher training initiatives;
  • Identification of optimal interaction characteristics and game mechanics for educational games applied in a given context and for given objectives.

Major Activities

  • Development and deployment of digital games for the acquisition and consolidation of basic skills in mathematics and logical thinking, perception of space and lateralization;
  • Comparison of games based on different methodologies and interaction paradigms (e.g. immersive virtual reality games, non-immersive virtual reality games, traditional digital games, etc.). This comparison is intended to determine impact on the development of basic cognitive competences (e.g. being able to take another person’s perspective);
  • Development of methodologies for implementing pilot game based activities in primary schools;
  • Collection, processing and analysis of experimental data;
  • Use of digital games with people with special cognitive needs (e.g. dyscalculia, people with cognitive impairments, Alzheimer’s, dementia, etc.);
  • Dissemination of scientific results generated in these activities.

Expected results

  • Design and development of digital games supporting the development of spatial skills in primary school students. One example is “In Your Eyes”, a game on Spatial Perspective Taking that has been developed in three different versions, each featuring a specific interaction mode: immersive virtual reality, simple virtual reality, traditional screen-based game;
  • The In Your Eyes game has been tested with about 100 local primary school students to assess how the different modalities impact on game performance;
  • Quantitative and qualitative data on game performance and experience in the pilot has been collected and analysed;
  • Dissemination of scientific results generated in these activities;
  • Design and implementation of a new primary school pilot experience regarding the use of digital games for development of spatial reasoning abilities and evaluation of the resulting impact on mathematics results.