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Classroom Pilot of a Nutrition Education GameJohn FerraraDr. Kristin Schneider
Sup.        John Ferrara        Creative director, Megazoid games        Currently playing:         • Words with Friends  ...
Playful DesignPlayfulDesignBook.com25% discount code:FERRARA
Agenda     •   How Fitter Critters came to be    •   Overview & demo of the game    •   Persuasion model    •   Pilot study
Challenge to create games that teach8- to 12- year olds healthier eating habits
Virtual pets.  Real nutrition.
Games for Health 2011    • Got exposure to a lot of great work     • Connected with researchers     • Started learning abo...
• Player is responsible for maintaining the  health of a virtual pet• Must shop for the critters food, cook for  it, and f...
A quick demo
Unit plan for teachers
Persuasion  model
• Games are a form of  procedural rhetoric• Procedurality makes video games  unique as a communications medium• Example: B...
1. Define a core message        A persuasive game    must be designed around a clear and concise statement    of what you ...
2. Tie the message to strategy           Games drive players     to find the most efficient ways                 to win.  ...
We built a tiered system of rewards               Social rewards               Trick out your pad               Earn more ...
Pilot    • Preceded by usability studies     • Worked with USDA to ensure accuracy of the data     • Added quests to make ...
Pilot study• Middle school in central Massachusetts  – 5th graders• Played the game for one week during health class (52  ...
Results (n=75)                                                              t      p                             Mean (SD)...
Fitter Critters Acceptability• Scale: 1=strongly disagree & 5=strongly agree• Overall average for scale=4.52 (SD=0.60)• Lo...
Game tracking data (n=97) Average number of game log-ons was 11.96 (SD=5.88).    73% logged on at least once outside of ...
What did you like MOST about the game? (n=78)                                                            Frequency    %Gam...
Future Directions• Fitter Critters game• School curriculum• Environmental  modifications
Future Directions• “The thing I liked most about the game is how  you…get to actually cook your food. I may not  know how ...
Thank you!   PlayfulDesignBook.com   Twitter: @PlayfulDesign   Email: ferrarajc@yahoo.com        
Fitter Critters: Classroom Pilot of a Nutrition Education Game (Games for Health 2012)
Fitter Critters: Classroom Pilot of a Nutrition Education Game (Games for Health 2012)
Fitter Critters: Classroom Pilot of a Nutrition Education Game (Games for Health 2012)
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Fitter Critters: Classroom Pilot of a Nutrition Education Game (Games for Health 2012)

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Reviews a classroom pilot of Fitter Critters, a nutrition education game intended to combat childhood obesity. A study of children playing the game at a Massachusetts public school for a week found significant increases in self-efficacy and positive attitudes toward nutrition. Presented by John Ferrara, creative director at Megazoid Games, and Dr. Kristin Schneider, researcher at the University of Massachusetts Medical School.

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Fitter Critters: Classroom Pilot of a Nutrition Education Game (Games for Health 2012)

  1. 1. Classroom Pilot of a Nutrition Education GameJohn FerraraDr. Kristin Schneider
  2. 2. Sup. John Ferrara Creative director, Megazoid games Currently playing: • Words with Friends • Osmos • Team Fortress 2 Follow me! @PlayfulDesign
  3. 3. Playful DesignPlayfulDesignBook.com25% discount code:FERRARA
  4. 4. Agenda  • How Fitter Critters came to be • Overview & demo of the game • Persuasion model • Pilot study
  5. 5. Challenge to create games that teach8- to 12- year olds healthier eating habits
  6. 6. Virtual pets.  Real nutrition.
  7. 7. Games for Health 2011 • Got exposure to a lot of great work  • Connected with researchers  • Started learning about grant opportunities o Foundations o SBIR/STTR o R01/R21
  8. 8. • Player is responsible for maintaining the health of a virtual pet• Must shop for the critters food, cook for it, and feed it• Each day the player must fill the critters green bars without filling the red bars
  9. 9. A quick demo
  10. 10. Unit plan for teachers
  11. 11. Persuasion model
  12. 12. • Games are a form of procedural rhetoric• Procedurality makes video games unique as a communications medium• Example: BANNED in Kansas!
  13. 13. 1. Define a core message A persuasive game must be designed around a clear and concise statement of what you want players to do or to believe.
  14. 14. 2. Tie the message to strategy Games drive players to find the most efficient ways to win.  If the message represents the ideal strategy, then the process of playing serves as a proof of its truthfulness.  
  15. 15. We built a tiered system of rewards Social rewards Trick out your pad Earn more money Greater productivity, more  sports wins, sick less often Health goes up Better food choices
  16. 16. Pilot • Preceded by usability studies  • Worked with USDA to ensure accuracy of the data  • Added quests to make it self-running  • Conducted the study at an elementary school in Northbridge, MA in November 2011  • Will be published in the Games for Health Journal
  17. 17. Pilot study• Middle school in central Massachusetts – 5th graders• Played the game for one week during health class (52 minute class periods)• Hypotheses: – Students would find the game acceptable. – Playing the game would increase nutrition and activity knowledge, positive nutrition attitudes and self-efficacy for healthy eating and physical activity.
  18. 18. Results (n=75) t p Mean (SD) Mean (SD) Nutrition knowledge 10.71 (1.97) 11.04 (1.91) 1.75 .08 Positive nutrition 59.14 (6.08) 62.22 (7.74) 5.2 <.00 attitudes self-efficacy Nutrition 36.85 (6.51) 38.50 (7.64) 9 2.4 1 .02 22.34 (1.94) 22.44 (2.33) 6 �2 Exercise self-efficacy 0.36 .72 Correct Correct p responses (%) responses (%)Physical activity 40 (55.6) 30 (41.7) 29.73 <.00knowledge activitySedentary 36 (50.0) 34 (47.2) 16.34 1 <.00knowledge 1
  19. 19. Fitter Critters Acceptability• Scale: 1=strongly disagree & 5=strongly agree• Overall average for scale=4.52 (SD=0.60)• Lowest rated item: • I liked what the critter looked like (M=4.04, SD=1.28).• Highest rated items: • I liked playing the shot put game (M=4.79=SD=.52). • I want my critter to be healthy (M=4.78, SD=0.66).
  20. 20. Game tracking data (n=97) Average number of game log-ons was 11.96 (SD=5.88).  73% logged on at least once outside of class. Students completed an average of 14.71 (SD=3.30) quests (out of 17 total quests). Played an average of 86.41 (SD=114.06) sport games. Critter’s health  Overall health scores began at 2 and increased on average to 3.54 (SD=1.64; 5 point scale).  Percent saturated fat began at 20% and decreased on average to 15.63 (SD=7.63).
  21. 21. What did you like MOST about the game? (n=78) Frequency %Games (shot put / foot race) 38 43.18Buying food / Cooking / Feeding the critter 14 15.91Health related / learned something 11 12.50Decorating Critters home 7 7.95Earning money 6 6.82Quests 4 4.55Everything 3 3.41Certain game features (having choice, having own critter) 2 2.27Critter 1 1.14Nothing 1 1.14I dont know 1 1.14
  22. 22. Future Directions• Fitter Critters game• School curriculum• Environmental modifications
  23. 23. Future Directions• “The thing I liked most about the game is how you…get to actually cook your food. I may not know how to cook in real life, but its fun cooking in here.”
  24. 24. Thank you! PlayfulDesignBook.com Twitter: @PlayfulDesign Email: ferrarajc@yahoo.com    

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