Case study rePlay

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Interactive gaming technology is hugely popular amongst young people today: The vision of rePlay is to use this technology as a mean of motivating young people into a better awareness of how and why they behave the way they do and encourage them to...

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Case study rePlay

  1. 1. CASE STUDY rePlay by Clare CullenThis document is part of the overall European project LINKS-UP - Learning 2.0 for an InclusiveKnowledge Society – Understanding the Picture. Further case studies and project results can bedownloaded from the project website http://www.linksup.eu.Copyright This work has been licensed under a Creative Commons License: Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-nd/3.0/ This project has been funded with support from the European Commission. This publication reflects the views only of the author(s), and the Commission cannot be held responsible for any use which may be made of the information contained therein.
  2. 2. Interactive gaming technology is hugely popular amongst young people today: The vis- ion of rePlay is to use this technology as a mean of motivating young people into a bet- ter awareness of how and why they behave the way they do and encourage them to take greater responsibility for the consequences of their decisions and behaviour. Case profile – rePlay in a nutshell rePlay: Gaming Technology Platform for Social Reintegration of Marginalised YouthWebsite http://www.replayproject.eu/Status active/running (09/2008 – 09/2010) Dr Francisco Ibañez, Project Coordinator of rePlayInterviewed person Head of Research & Development Unit Brainstorm, Spain European Commission under the 7th Framework ProgrammeFunded and promoted by… Brainstorm, Spain Early intervention support tool used in preventive antisocial beha-Location of the Learning Activities viour programmes in schools in deprived areas and in re-educa- tion programmes in specific centres for young offenders. Children from 10 to 14 who are at risk of becoming marginalised as a result of anti-social behaviour as young offenders in centres,Target group(s) gifted students and students from schools where the population is coming from deprived areas. 120 (40 children in 3 European countries – UK, Spain and Ro-Number of users mania)Educational Sector(s) Secondary School, centres for young offendersCategory of the Learning Activities Combination of formal, non-formal and informal N/AWeb 2.0 technologies used... Gaming Platform Short description and key characteristics rePlay uses video game technology to provide young people who are at risk of becoming marginalised as a result of anti-social behaviour with an interactive learning environ- ment. The rePlay game is not, in itself, a therapy. Rather the technology provides the teacher/professional in charge of monitoring and assisting their rehabilitation with a 2
  3. 3. useful tool through which the rehabilitation process can be assessed and managed moreeffectively.The rePlay game focuses in creating a highly interactive and engaging environment with-in which players react to their surroundings, face dilemmas and make moral choices.The game content (the activities embedded in the game) focusses on understanding thevalues and motivations of the player in relation to a series of tasks.The activities are not designed as tests with a right or wrong answer. Rather, they havebeen developed to address and explore emotional reactions like empathy and to look atconcepts like consequential thinking. In doing so, the content activities provide a con-text for a discussion within which specific aspects of the player’s responses can be ex-plored.This exploration happens during the ‘REPLAY’ phase of the game: following the comple-tion of a game ‘run’ (within which the player has been in control and has reacted to aseries of activity challenges) the teacher/expert sitting with the player takes control andreplays the activities (and the player responses) back to the player. At this stage, discus-sions ensue around the reasons particularly options have been taken. This discussion isa significant opportunity to explore and better understand the issues that player are fa-cing.rePlay (09/2008 – 09/2010) is funded by European Commission under the 7th Frame-work Programme. The overall cost of the project is 1,2 million Euro for the work carriedout by 7 partners involved in the Project Consortium. The European Commission is sup-porting the initiative with 915.000 Euro funding.The rest of the cost is self-financed by the partners:| Innovatec is a Spanish technology based company, which main activity is the devel- opment of technological products for the improvement of the social welfare.| The Toy Research Institute (AIJU) is a Spanish non-profit making organisation de- signed to provide support to companies within the toy sector and related industries.| White Loop, UK is a communication agency specialising in the health, education and broadcasting sectors.| Alexandru Ioan Cuza University of Iasi is the oldest higher education institution in Ro- mania."| El Cerezo" is a Social Insertion Day Centre in Spain.| ROTALENT is an Romanian NGO specialized in education improvement.rePlay is a early intervention support tool to be used in preventative ASB programmes inschools and in re-education programmes in specific centres for young offenders. The tar-get Group is children from 10 to 14 who are at risk of becoming marginalised as a resultof anti-social behaviour as young offenders in centres, gifted students and studentsfrom schools where the population is coming from deprived areas.The main technologies developed and integrated in the rePlay Gaming Platform are:| 3D Immersive VideoGame integrating multimedia content/activities related to anti- social behaviour| Interactive and wireless balance board (‘human joystick’) to control the game play 3
  4. 4. | Range of interaction systems for playing sessions (wireless board, PAD, Joystick, key- board, etc.…)| Mark Recognition system to enrich the interaction with the system and increase the playability and engagement of young people.Dimension of learning and inclusionThe learning features are addressing low anti-social behaviour. A 3D environment hasbeen created, highly playable, and involving an interactive play board that enables theplayer to travel at speed through a futuristic world, against the clock. Interspersed withthe play elements are a series of embedded activities that have been developed withina sound pedagogical framework and that focus on the values and decision making of theplayer. Every activity has to be completed before the player can continue.The multimedia activities are addressing categorisations, associations, emotions / im-ages and consequential thinking. e.g. one “exercise” is to throw with a canon words likelove, bright, cold to targets like family, school, friends, homeHaving completed the game, and all activities, the application moves in replay mode.This allows the expert sitting alongside the player to discuss the specific responses theplayer gave to each activity and creates the opportunity for an open and honest dia-logue about values and behaviours.The gaming platform consisting of a video game (software) and an interactive balanceboard as the primary user interface, is installed in schools and run as a part of prevent-ive anti-social behaviour programmes and as well as in day centres for youngsters in-volved in re-education programmes and is conceived as a support tool for professionals(i.e. social workers). The teachers, social workers and professionals working in these pro-grammes manage the gaming platform in terms of content, gaming sessions, review ofanswers and selection of the educational activities included in the game, etc. The imple-mentation is carried out jointly with the school or centre and the Public Administrationis a key component for the success of rePlay, promoting the use of it in schools andYouth Centres and acquiring the gaming platform to support and improve the preventiveand re-educative programmes in schools and centres.All end user centres have been fully engaged in the game development as well as thetesting and validation. Significant training is also given and ongoing technical support isavailable to ensure the effective running of all gaming sessions. Testing has passedthrough a number of phases to ensure the initiative works on both a practical and ped-agogical level: before the gaming sessions begun, all end user centres have spent con-siderable time pre-testing the platform and the contents to ensure that when youngpeople come to play the game, the game itself is pitched at the right level in terms ofplayability and the content is calibrated correctly for the specific user groups beingtested. Significant feedback mechanisms have been put in place to ensure any issuesarising from the early testing sessions can be addressed quickly, thereby ensuring thattesting is not held up or results diminished in any way. Communication between enduser testing centres and the game developers is managed centrally via project partnersto ensure the technological success of the project.There are a number of inter-related success factors which will impact on the project tra-jectory. First, the key challenge is to ensure consistent testing and validation is carriedout in the three end user testing centres. For this, a robust methodology has been de- 4
  5. 5. veloped and communicated to all participants. Second, the technology solution presentsthe possibility for many problems in terms of effective running of the game in eachcentre. Were any of the main component technologies to fail, the testing and validationwill suffer. To counteract this, significant pre-testing has taken place within each testingcentre and open communication channels set up between the testing practitioners onthe one hand, and the game developers on the other. Finally, it is vital that the testingand validation of the product generates usable and meaningful data that can be imple-mented into the next version of the game prior to commercialisation. This will beachieved through careful implementation of feedback mechanisms via the main projectpartners and through a close analysis of the collated data.The game has been extensively tested in centres in Spain, Romania and the UK as well asbeing deployed in other sites across Europe. in the final stages of the project is currentlyat final stage which involves running demonstration sessions with interested partiesacross participant countries and beyond.Innovative elements and key success factorsThis game is used by therapists to interact with young children with anti-social beha-viour. The child plays. It is a race with interactive challenges and you are creating a worldwhile making choices and taking decision. To go the next level you have to completequizzes or questionnaires. At the end, the therapist and the child replay the game, dis-cussing the child’s decision or choices.The project is innovative for two reasons. First, using a 3D video game as central toolwhich includes the learning and educational and psychological content. You can com-pare the game to the Sim’s. The children compare it to the Play Station 2 games which isa real compliment for the developers. Sensors are attached to the body and the movesin reality are replicated in the virtual world. The difference here is that the game is inthe centre with the content hidden in the game and not the other around which youusually can find when the learning is rewarding with is a game to keep children motiv-ated. And secondly, it is very easy to customise.The experts involved in the project found that rePlay is a perfect platform to engageyoung people in any educational application.Some proposals from Europe and USA for adapting the application to include differenteducational contents like regular primary and secondary school learning contents orspecific preventative programs like alcohol and drugs have been made.Problems encountered and lessons learnedThe initiative did not change drastically. The project was designed to focus on young of-fenders but rapidly the Consortium realised that it offered more possibilities. It couldsupport prevention in schools for instance. So the target groups were enlarged.The initial plans were to have only one game for children from 10 to 14. During the pre-paration phase and methodological discussions, the partners decided to go for two dif-ferent sets : 10 to 12 and 12 to 14.The main problems were : 5
  6. 6. the lack of robustness of the prototype and the sensing system developed for the proto-types that were broken during the transport to the three validation sites in UK, Romaniaand Spain. To solve this problem we had to re-build the electronic device (inclinometer)used as a sensing system in the balance board and to send them again to the testingsite. This delayed a bit the beginning of the validation phase of the project but, in someway, was positive for the project because we get a very robust sensing system.the video game was very well rated by the boys participating in the validating session.For the girls, the design (colours, music, landscape...) was not very appealing for themand we had to include some customisation properties in the game in order to do it moreappealing for the girls. One important aspect to be taken into account for the future ver-sions is to create different 3D environments more adapted to the girls preferences.Results, sustainability and exploitationOne interesting unexpected output, based on the opinion of experts, was the improve-ment of the relationship between the young people and the psychologist in rePlay, ob-taining a maximum degree of openness and interaction between the expert and theyoungster. This type of good environment created in the playing sessions and the satis-faction expressed by the experts was one of the main unexpected and positive results ofthe project.We get a list of possible improvements. The most important were: an interface forteachers and psychologist to include new contents and to adapt them to different usersprofiles, create more 3D environments, to include more specific contents related to spe-cific preventive and intervention programs (like alcohol and drugs consumption)...At this stage of the Project is difficult to be specific in terms of return on investment, theestimation of the Consortium is that the video game will be acquired by schools and re-education centres in two versions: with the interaction system (wireless balance board)and without it (using a standard Game PAD, Joystick or iPhone as interaction system).This will depend on the budget of the centre or school and the financial capacity to ac-quire the complete gaming platform or only the video game. In the estimations, the ROIwill be achieved within 2 years, once 3.000 licenses of the game have been sold aroundthe world. Other income will come from the customisation of the game with contentsadapted to the needs of different institutions/customers, complementing the incomegenerated by the sale of licenses.The main commercial strategy is to set up exploitation alliances with the main Europeancompanies of educational material like Pearson – Edexcel, Santillana etc.… Additionallynationals and regional governments from the three participating countries (Spain, UKand Romania) have expressed interest in the application to be implemented in schools,so, a parallel strategy is to present the application to the educational departments ofthe local, regional and national governments of Europe.On the other side, they are in discussions with important educational contents providersin order to include the “paper” materials of educational programs in “multimedia”format as embedded activities in the rePlay application. 6
  7. 7. Collaborating institutions in LINKS-UP Institute for Innovation in Learning, Friedrich-Alex- ander-Universität Erlangen-Nürnberg, Erlangen, Germany www.fim.uni-erlangen.de Arcola Research LLP, London, United Kingdom www.arcola-research.co.uk eSociety Institute, The Hague University of Applied Sciences, The Hague, The Netherlands www.esocietyinstituut.nl Servizi Didattici e Scientifici per l’Università di Firen- ze, Prato, Italy www.pin.unifi.it Salzburg Research Forschungsgesellschaft, Salzburg, Austria www.salzburgresearch.at European Distance and E-Learning Network (EDEN), Milton Keynes, United Kingdom www.eden-online.org 7

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