- freely available
Sensors 2019, 19(15), 3251; https://doi.org/10.3390/s19153251
1.1. The Learning Theory and Game-Based Learning
1.2. The Approach and Motivation
2. Materials and Methods
- Pocket Code Framework : An open-source framework for mobile devices that allows children to create their own games, animations, music, videos, and many types of apps, directly on their phones or tablets. Pocket Code provides pre-coded modules, so called bricks, that enable connection with mobile devices sensors, as well as links with other sensor-based approaches and developments, such as LEGO Mindstorms®. Pocket Code is the bais of the [email protected] App and was used as a pre-designed version of this App to train both students and teachers, in coding skills.
- The [email protected] App is an integrated development environment (IDE) for smartphones and tablets designed for children. It is the enhanced version of Pocket Code that has been customized for educational environments. The [email protected] App embeds the concepts of game mechanics and dynamics through ready-to-use (pre-coded) game templates (based on different game genres coming from a leisure gaming environment). Students used the [email protected] App in class, to integrate playful activities into regular classroom education. This kind of classroom setting allowed a hands-on approach to provide extrinsic motivation for students when starting to use a new tool . Students need some time to start benefiting from new educational tools, and thus may take longer to become intrinsically motivated.
- Templates: Pre-coded templates were developed integrating nested objects as object collections (i.e., grouping several objects), clustered levels through scenes, or pre-coded interaction with a sensor. These templates were prepared (coded) in Pocket Code and linked to the different academic competences for different subjects and classroom ability levels. The templates allowed teachers and students to develop any kind of game genres in a standardized manner; being flexible enough to adapt to the preferences and likes of the students, and affording different methods to present and play with the academic content.
- The Global Public Inclusive Infrastructure (GPII) framework is an infrastructure that allows accessibility preferences to be set (e.g., text with bigger font sizes, appropriate colors, etc.) for children and people with special educational needs, making the [email protected] App a more accessible IDE.
- Project Management Dashboard (PMD) and analytical tool: A web interface that allows orchestration of the class environment and enables the integration of information from all students in class, including the list of students per class, the projects assigned, and evaluation of the projects about the academic or curricular objectives. Through the PMD, the teachers not only can plan, assign, and manage the delivery of game projects to support new game-based teaching approaches, but can also evaluate students regarding the completion of projects and achievements of academic objectives. The PMD is based on the idea of implementing a game jam approach in classes . This enables collaboration, engagement, and competition between the students that develop each project. The created game projects are uploaded to the PMD by each student at the end of the lesson.
- The analytical tool is embedded into the PMD and allows monitoring and assessing of the way the students’ work and code on a class project, thus providing a set of quantitative values that enables the evaluation of socio-behavioral constructs; including: confidence, self-efficacy, performance, interest, creativity, persistence, effort/dedicated time, and concentration amongst others. Thus, the analytical tool generates feedback data on each student’s progress, socio-behavioral constructs, coding, and use of elements of the [email protected] App, streamlining the process of the assessment of student work.
- Tablets and mobile phones: In total, 338 tablets and mobiles devices were used for the classes comprising the following models and specifications: Seven-inch and 10-inch Android mobile devices, which include Google Nexus 7, MOTOG-2 as well as BQ Edison 3 10-inch and 8-inch. The resolution was: either 800 × 500; 1024 × 640; or 1280 × 800—a common aspect ratio of 1.6. The devices had a range of embedded physical and virtual sensors. The physical sensors were hardware-based sensors embedded directly into mobile devices that derive their data directly by measuring particular environmental characteristics (e.g., accelerometer, gyroscope, and proximity, etc.) and virtual sensors that were software-based, harvesting their data from several hardware-based sensors (e.g., in the Android platform - linear acceleration, and gravity sensors).
- LEGO MINDSTORMS® technology : A programmable robotics construction set that allows the building, programming, and commanding of LEGO robots from their PC, Mac, tablet, or smartphone. It provides an interface to enable programmable intelligent bricks or modules, thus it is able to interact with Pocket Code. It comes as a set that includes connecter and universal serial bus (USB) cables, LEGO Technic pieces or elements, one EV3 Brick, two Large Interactive Servo Motors, one Medium Interactive Servo Motor, and touch, color, infrared, and infrared beacon sensors.
2.2.1. The Sample
2.2.2. The Technology Validation Cycles
2.2.3. Template-Based Methodological Approach
2.2.4. Measures and Evaluation
Hassenzahl Model and AttrakDiff Tool
- The usability and utility of the technologies perceived by the users;
- The satisfaction of the users that used the technologies, and the attractiveness of the technologies.
- Pragmatic qualities (PQs): These attributes are related to practicality and functionality. A consequence of pragmatic qualities is usefulness and usability. The pragmatic quality (PQ) scale has seven items, each with bipolar anchors that measure the pragmatic qualities of the product. This includes anchors (see) such as technical–human, complicated–simple, confusing–clear, and impractical–practical, among others.
- The hedonic qualities (HQs) reflect the psychological needs and emotional experience of the user. In the Hassenzahl model, hedonic qualities are divided into two categories:
- The stimulation quality (HQ-S) represents the users wants to be stimulated in order to enjoy their experience with a piece of software or product. These include rarely used functions that can stimulate the user and satisfy the human urge for personal development and increased skills. The hedonic stimulation quality (HQS) scales have seven anchors each. HQS has anchors, like typical–original, cautious–courageous, and easy–challenging.
- The identity quality (HQ-I) refers to the human need of expressing through objects, to control how people want to be perceived by others. Humans have a desire to communicate their identity to others through the things they own and the things they use. They help humans to express themselves; who they are, what they care about, and who they aspire to be. The hedonic stimulation quality (HQS) scales also have seven anchors each. HQI has anchors, like isolating–integrating, gaudy–classy, and cheap–valuable.
- There are seven items for overall appeal or attraction (ATT), which comprises opposite words scales (e.g., ugly–beautiful and bad–good). The items are presented on opposite sides of a seven-point Likert scale, ranging from −3 to 3, where zero represents the neutral value between the two items of the scale.
Competitive Validation Outside Classes Environment
3.1. Design and Development of [email protected] App and PMD
- Customization for education environments;
- Integration of game templates, providing pre-coded templates that have coded game mechanics (i.e., templates for adventure, action, quiz, or puzzle games). This reduces the time needed to develop games and applications in classes, as well as allowing personalization for different ages, personal interests, and academic content through the development of the game dynamics and aesthetics by pupils. The templates and the [email protected] App enable game dynamics and aesthetics by the editing of an existing game design, whilst allowing personalization of backgrounds, landscapes, and characters, the creation of new challenging levels, as well as changing the difficulty of a game;
- Integration of 48 new features and improvements identified during the project and based on the experience and insights gathered from the No One Left Behind pilots’ users;
- Integration of the GPII framework that allowed automatic and individual personalization for students with learning disabilities and additional sensory impairments.
3.2. Evaluation Results
3.2.1. Results of the Evaluation of Pocket Code vs. [email protected] by Teachers
3.2.2. Results of the Evaluation Study of Project Management Dashboard (PMD)
3.2.3. Results of the Evaluation of [email protected] App by Students
3.2.4. LEGO NXT, EV3, and LEGO® League Validation
4.1. Teachers’ Evaluation of Pocket Code vs. [email protected] Study
4.2. Teachers’ Evaluation of the PMD Study (3.2)
4.3. The Students’ Evaluation of [email protected] Study (3.3)
4.4. The LEGO® League Participation
Conflicts of Interest
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|School Site||Course||Age||Teacher Technical Background||Subject||Students|
|Puerto Santa María||Y11||15–16||No||Mathematics||30|
|Y10||14–15||No||PEMAR—Mathematics and Science||13|
|School Site||Course||Age||Teacher Technical Background||Subject||Students|
|Puerto Santa María||Y11||15–16||Yes||Computing||17|
|Y9||12–13||No||Mathematics, Biology, and Geology||21|
|Y7||11–12||No||Language, Mathematics, and Social Sciences||26|
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