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Proc. of 7th Int. Conf. on Education and New Learning Technologies EDULEARN15, ISBN: 978-84-606-8243-1, Barcelona, Spain, 6-8 July, 2015, pp.6943-6950.
In last two decades, educational video games have been proven as a modern platform able to enhance substantially traditional e-learning in K12 and higher education. Many recent studies demonstrate using such video games tends to be effective in helping students to obtain new knowledge and to develop useful practical skills; however, lacking free tools and platforms for creation and customization of educational games hampers their mass usage. The paper presents an open software platform for easy creation and flexible customization of video games for teaching students in any subject based on 3D mazes and embedded mini-games for assessment or fostering visual skills and creativity. Teachers can construct easily customizable mazes in their educational domain as a non-restricted hierarchical graph allowing non-linear student gameplay and, next, customize maze nodes using a property editor by shaping each node as they like and by adding multimedia content to it. Playing such maze games, students can learn new ideas, concepts and theories while exploring the customized 3D maze at each hierarchy level for finding the final maze node which may contain some special gift for them. As well, they can play several embedded mini-games for developing fine-motor brain skills, visual and spatial thinking, context-based reasoning and entrepreneurial creativity. The reported results of first field trial are very promising in terms of high appreciation by master students of the created 3D maze video games.

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  1. 1. Boyan Bontchev Prof. at Fac. of Math & Informatics, Sofia University, Bulgaria Marie Curie Fellow at Brainstorm Multimedia, Spain (in the scope of the ADAPTIMES FP7 PEOPLE project) EDULEARN15, Barcelona, Spain, July 6-8, 2015 CUSTOMIZABLE 3D VIDEO GAMES AS EDUCATIONAL SOFTWARE
  2. 2. • Serious games as a tool for adding fun to teaching and professional training • Game-based learning as a new teaching paradigm with proven efficiency • Many ambition projects using serious games for education successfully finalized • Many simple drill-and-practice games oriented to curricular goals of the traditional classroom Serious video games for education
  3. 3. • Educational games for higher education are still not a popular mean for teaching • Simple drill-and-practice computer games are not enough • Tools for creation of educational games should be available for domain specialists • Existing lack of customizable and cheap video games/platforms for teaching young people Some of the problems with game-based learning
  4. 4. • To find new opportunities for practical and massive exploitation of the serious video games for higher education, • by offering teachers and students a free software platform for customizable video game creation by non-software domain specialists Our goal
  5. 5. Imagine a maze as an educational game. Intro Cell1 Cell2 Cell3 Cell4 CellN Cell5 Customizable video maze games for education
  6. 6. Now imagine 3D rooms instead 2D cells. Intro Room1 Room2 Room3 Room4 RoomN Room5 Educational textual content … forms & textures forms & textures forms & textures forms & textures forms & textures forms & textures Educational textual content … Educational textual content … Educational textual content … Educational textual content … Educational textual content … Educational textual content …
  7. 7. Points = So player moves from room to room but not for free. Intro Room1 Room2 Room3 Room4 RoomN Room5 Educational textual content … 1008060
  8. 8. Points = When Points = 0, what next? Game over? Intro Room1 Room2 Room3 Room4 RoomN Room5 Educational textual content … 0 ? 3D Zoom 3D Match 3D Puzzle
  9. 9. A platform for generation of customizable video maze games for education Teachers can construct 3D video mazes by using Maze Editor Transitions table Property Editor Titles … Texts … Graphics … Python Scripts Brainstorm API 3D Maze Game Engine Brainstorm Run Time Environment Embedded Mini-Games 3D video game Property Metadata Graph Editor >
  10. 10. The 3D maze alternates light and dark rooms, where • 3D maze created and customized only by editing text files (no programming experience needed) • Customizable player help for each room • Educational texts and graphics from papers about Effectuation theory ( • 3D embedded mini-games for earning points: – 3D matching game - for knowing/assessment of entrepreneurial concepts – 3D zoom ordering game (pictures by Istvan Banyai) – for context- dependent thinking – 3D cube construction using building blocks – for fostering creativity (to be finalized until October) Platform field trial: Pro-Effect – a video game for entrepreneurship education
  11. 11. • Effectuation framework for guiding entrepreneurs in unpredictable future - by Dr. Saras Sarasvathy, 2006/7 The Pro-Effect game content Source:
  12. 12. • Hall 0: Welcome to the Pro-Effect game! • Hall 1: Introduction to Causation • Hall 2: Effectuation vs Causation • Hall 3: Effectuation principles 1. Bird-in-hand – start by “who I am, what I know, and whom I know ” 2. Affordable loss – to limit risk by understanding what they can afford to lose at each step 3. Crazy quilt – by building partnerships with self-selecting stakeholders 4. Lemonade - experts interpret “bad” news and surprises as potential clues to create new markets 5. Pilot-in-the-plane – to know their actions will result in the desired outcomes - the future is neither found nor predicted, but rather made • Hall 4: The effectuation process • Hall 5: The Entrepreneurial method The Pro-Effect labyrinth
  13. 13. In the entrance room player starts with 100 points
  14. 14. For passing to the next room, player pays by points.
  15. 15. Next room is about Causation.
  16. 16. In one of the next room (about effectuation principles)
  17. 17. Let choose the first option -
  18. 18. In this game, player has to match some
  19. 19. Next, in Zoom ordering game, players have to
  20. 20. In both the mini-games, players have to explore • Develop 3D spatial thinking and skills • Enhance context-dependent thinking • Provides additional learning content • Can be used for self-testing • Have dynamic game play and make fun • Can be used for player’s character-based ADAPTATION (see Benefits of embedded mini-games
  21. 21. • Q1: Do you think that computer games can be used as an efficient tool for technology enhanced learning at all? • Q2: Do you think that 3D maze video games are very suitable for technology enhanced learning in entrepreneurship? • Q3: Do you find for appropriate winning points in the game to be realized by playing other video mini-games just for fun? • Q4: Do you find for appropriate winning points in the game (for spending it for learning within the maze) to be realized by playing other video mini-games with didactic purposes? • Q5: Do you find the 3D matching mini-game as a good complementary educational tool? • Q6: Do you think dynamic difficulty of the 3D matching mini-game has to be adapted Field trial at Sofia University Field trial with 23 master students,
  22. 22. • 3D graphics – Rooms/flats/caves/… – Small interior objects – Gateways • Graphic tool for: – Maze construction – Maze customization – Advanced game rules • Hierarchical mazes, with mini-games for each sub-maze • Navigation map • N-to-1 matching games • Mini-games customization • New embedded mini-games for creativity and motor skills • Player-centric adaptation Future enhancements All the game enhancements
  23. 23. • A free platform for teachers to create their own mazes with customizable embedded mini-games for any of the maze levels in an easy and truly declarative way, without any need of programming experience. • Teachers can construct mazes with and without cycles for non-linear storytelling in any domain and, next, customize rooms using the property editor. • Students can play for fun several embedded mini-games fostering fine-motor brain skills, visual and spatial thinking, context-based reasoning and entrepreneurial creativity. Conclusions
  24. 24. • YouTube video Video track of game play with the Pro-Effect game
  25. 25. • Questions and/or • Proposals Thank you for your attention!