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Tuesday, 05 December 2017 10:24

QuizUp

Logo

QuizUp is an application designed for IOS and Android devices where two compete in a quiz. This means that there is a need for an internet connection throughout the game. Initially, the user creates his or her own account, uploads an image that differentiates him from the other contestants and selects the categories of interest, thus giving the necessary meaning to the game.

Structure:

There are a number of categories from which the user can choose, some of them are of educational content and others are simply less connected to the learning process. These categories include topics from history, technology, literature, science, geography, mathematics, business, film, and even video games. The categories are given beautifully and clearly for the user, while the database of available quizzes is huge, with new quizzes being added daily. It is worth mentioning the ability of the user to compete in two types of play modes. The Single Player Game is a mode where the player is playing alone, essentially struggling without an opponent. His goal is to advance as far as he can in the selected category. The second mode is called Random Opponent Game, where the player faces other players from around the world. Both players have to deal with 7 questions, gathering points according to the answer and the speed that the correct answer was given. Winner is the one who has collected the most points during the session.

quiz

User Experience:

 One of the most important elements that enhance the player's interest is that in QuizUp he participates in a quiz on topics he already knows enough, as opposed to a more classic knowledge game that puts some random questions to the contestants. QuizUp also differs from other similar applications as it allows the player to communicate with his opponents, start debates, follow others, challenge friends, win achievements, and connect their Facebook and Google+ devices. The experience of the user is also enriched by the fact that regular tournaments are offered in the application. Thus, it can be said that it creates an active community of practice by promoting communication and interaction with other people who share common interests, ultimately leading to the establishment of new knowledge. Whenever a user wins a QuizUp, he wins points that are called experience points. The motivation is also increased because of the engagement that is developed through the option of Rankings, which are the game’s leaderboards. There the player is ranked according to the experience points he has collected in each category of interest.

rankings

According to researchers (Vandercruysse, Vandewaetere, Cornillie & Clarebout, 2013), the competition cultivated on videogames will then lead to greater enthusiasm, which will ultimately lead to more concentration and desire for improvement in the subject.

After the Quiz is over, the player receives in-depth feedback on his own and his opponent's selections, and in case of a winning outcome, he is rewarded with specific badges that are visible in his profile, thus further enhancing the gaming feature. According to Prensky (2001), uninterrupted feedback provided in a variety of forms rather than one-dimensional is responsible for establishing knowledge in the mind of the user, leading him to alternate his mistaken choices and ultimately to success.

feedbackachieve1achieve2

However, a drawback is the existence of Gems and Coins that are either earned through the application or purchased with real money. Those items allow the user to accumulate more experience points or redeem them to be able to participate in some tournaments while having certain advantages compared to other competitors.

Design:

The design of the application is surprisingly good. It is bright and colorful but at the same time well-organized and ergonomic. Players will have no problem navigating in the application, finding the topics they like or participating in a game. During the quiz, the screen is properly designed with minimal distractions. The only thing the player can see is the score, questions and answers along with each player's name and profile picture. This helps the player immerse in the game by placing it in a state of flow. As Gee (2008) has highlighted, video games such as QuizUp offer experiences to people in a virtual world using the gameplay mechanics that it integrates to solve problems in an attractive and fun environment.

QuizUp is a great game that is worthwhile recommending to your students to use either at home or in the classroom through appropriate guidance. Besides, people find learning pleasant under the right conditions, which are often not those found in traditional school. As various scholars believe, schools will surely benefit from the use of videogames in the classroom (Gee, 2004). After all games like QuizUp do not give gamers information that is unrelated to their context, but only those that are necessary, while providing purpose in creating the person's participation in social life, through groups that provide meaning to goals, interpretations, practices, explanations, feedback, and the prerequisites for deep learning through experiences (Gee, 2008)

Bibliography:

Gee, J. P. (2008). Learning and games. The ecology of games: Connecting youth, games, and learning3, 21-40.

Gee, J. P. (2004). Learning by design: Games as learning machines. Interactive Educational Multimedia, (8), 15-23.

Prensky, M. (2001). Fun, play, and games: What makes games engaging? In Digital game-based learning. (pp. 11-16). New York, NY: McGraw Hill

Vandercruysse, S., Vandewaetere, M., Cornillie, F., & Clarebout, G. (2013). Competition and students’ perceptions in a game-based language learning environment. Educational Technology Research and Development, 61(6), 927–950. doi:10.1007/s11423-013-9314-5 

 

Published in Gamification

Duolingo

One of the most popular and well-known tools for learning a language online is Duolingo. Duolingo is completely free, easy to use and makes it a lot of fun the acquisition of a new language. There is a variety of languages you can choose from, including English, Spanish, French, German, Italian, Portuguese, Russian, Dutch, Swedish, Turkish, Japanese, Norwegian, Danish, Polish, Hebrew, Vietnamese, Greek, Ukrainian, Welsh, Hungarian, Swahili, Korean, Romanian, Czech and Chinese.

How does it work?

Duolingo is a great example of a straightforward language app. It’s really simple to use. You set up a profile, choose your target language, set your weekly goals (only if you’re brave enough) and off you go! There is an option to ‘test out a language’ when you begin a new language. You can start with the basics or you can take an ‘entry test’ and let the app determine your fluency level.

Each course in Duolingo is made up of modules. The modules upon completion are grouped to form the student's language level. Duolingo dictates the order in which you need to complete the different modules, with new modules becoming active only once you’ve completed the previous one. This is also the case with individual lessons within each module. For example you have to complete lesson 1 in order to be able to progress to lesson 2, and so on.There are dozens of sets of lessons at Duolingo called Skills. Some of them include the following: Basics, Phrases, Food, Present, Adjectives, Plurals, Family, Questions, Numbers, Household, Colors, Comparison, Qualifiers, Measure, Clothing, Animals, Prepositions, Dates & Time, Nature, and Medical.

At the end of each lesson, you get a progress report that also shows your ‘streak’ – the number of days in a row that you’ve completed.Keep in mind that a user account isn't required to use Duolingo, but it's recommended if you want to keep track of your progress.

Interface

Pedagogical background:

The lessons include images, text, and audio, and sometimes has you speak into a microphone (if you have one) to test your speaking and pronunciation skills. New vocabulary is often taught with images, and grammar points are explained in little speech bubbles. There are also listening exercises where you need to type what you hear, and speaking exercises where you say what you hear. Duolingo recognizes that language learners need to be motivated to make sure they come back to the app and engage in some more language fun. Duolingo is a constructivistic tool that uses several different methods to keep you interested but the most useful is the Gamification .The goals a student can choose from range from ‘casual’ to ‘insane’, depending on how serious one is about learning and how quickly one wants to progress. This works well for those who are motivated by the idea of making a ‘formal arrangement’ with the app. The theory of gamification is applied since you get extra points called Lingots every time you complete one of the goals that you or the application has set, thus increasing the motivation of the learner. It can also attract visual learners due to the fact that a lot of the learning that goes on in Duolingo is visual. There are pictures for learning vocabulary, colours that indicate whether you’re right or wrong, and highlighted tapable text for new words or grammar points.

Technological background:

Duolingo is an adaptive web 2.0 meaning that the program adapts to you, it learns what you know by usage and suggests what you should learn next. To achieve that it uses an algorithm that calculates data from articles found on the Internet to automatically build courses, considering it will adapt automatically as the language evolves. Duolingo is available on Personal Computers, Mobile devices (IOS and Android)

Interface

Published in Learning on the go
Sunday, 26 November 2017 17:34

Civilization Series

Main screen

The "Civilization" computer game series is a creation of Sid Meier,a well known digital video game producer and creator.

All games in the series follow the same pattern. These are strategy games in which the player is asked to take on a historical culture and develop his imaginary empire through the different periods of the past and of the future (Sakic & Varga, 2015). The player is called upon to exploit the natural resources in the game, to enter into trade agreements with other cultures, to build cities, to conduct warfare in order to show his culture as the strongest in the game (Squire, 2008).
 
The first "Civilization" was released to the public in 1991 and since then 13 different versions of the game have been released as well as many expansion packs for existing expansion packs. Although the 1991 version does not seem particularly complicated in our eyes today, it was pioneering, as at that time the resources available for developing digital computer games were limited due to the limited number of personal computer owners, making it a benchmark due to complexity in comparison with Sid Meier's Civilization (The Complete evolution Timeline, 2017).
civ 6
In 1994 and 1995 Colonization and CivNet became available respectively. It is worth mentioning this unique version of CivNet, which, when watching the internet come in tersely in the homes added the option of online game play among users (Civilization Series, 2017). As the years passed and the computers evolved in relation to the capabilities they provided so the series improved and gained more data. 1996 was the year of Civilization II, and in 2001 at the dawn of the 21st Century Civilization III was released. Now with computers being part of the public's entertainment, the need for optimal graphics and better online connectivity between players led to the creation of Civilization IV, which was distinguished by an improved system of intelligence technician (Famularo, 2016) requiring a more sophisticated perception and behavior (Wainwright, 2014). With the massive entry of smart phones into the market, there has been a need to create games that are compatible with these mobile devices. So 2009 was the first time a game of the Civilization series revolutionized, as it was developed in addition to personal computers on the Wii, Xbox 360 and mobile devices running Windows and IOS (Civilization Revolution, n.d). Then, in 2010, Civilization V came in, which introduced a large-scale three-dimensional representation of the game's objects (Civilization Series, 2017), while the battle system evolved rapidly as it demanded a more strategic and sophisticated approach by users (Famularo, 2016). The corresponding version of the Android-powered mobile game came in 2011. The latest and most complete version currently available for sale is "Civilization VI", which features detailed graphical representations, a wealth of variety of features and options, developed intelligence system, an inexpensive online gaming experience, and a host of other improvements that have come to enhance the most successful strategy game series for 25 years (Civilization Series, 2017 ).
 
Educational background
In conclusion, it is worth mentioning that various teachers, considering their potential educational potential, attempted to introduce them to the classroom first with Squire's leading researcher in the field of educational games Squire in 2005 (Sakic & Varga, 2015), efforts which ultimately led to the development of a clean "CivilizationEdu", which is expected in the end of 2017 and will include, beyond the game, instructions, tips and educational videos to teachers s to use it to enhance their teaching (Frank, 2016).
Civ Education Edition

Bibliography
Šakic, M. & Varga, V. (2015, September) VIDEO GAMES AS AN EDUCATION TOOL. Paper presented at the Sixth International Conference on e-Learning (eLearning-2015),
Sid Meier's Civilization: The Complete Evolution Timeline (2017). https://inside.worldgaming.com/sid-meiers-civilization-evolution-timeline/ ">Retrieved October 1, 2017, by https://inside.worldgaming.com/sid-meiers-civilization-evolution-timeline/

Squire, K.D. (2008). Video games and education: Designing learning systems for an interactive age. Educational Technology. 48 (20). 17-26
Familaro, J. (2016) The Evolution of 'Civilization' Over 25 Years One of the gaming's classic franchises continues to conquer. https://www.inverse.com/article/22373-civilization-">Retrieved October 1, 2017, by https://www.inverse.com/article/22373-civilization-

Published in Video Games
Tuesday, 21 November 2017 12:16

This War of Mine

This War of Mine is an electronic video game developed by the 11 bit studios. The game’s background is inspired by the Yugoslav civil war and the siege of Sarajevo, which lasted four years in which approximately 5,000 mainly civilian civilians were killed (Kirkpatrick & Schiltz, 2016).

What makes it special is that, unlike the other games that put the user in the position of warrior, this game puts him in the position of a citizen and the way he experiences a warring conflict having survival as his main concern (Noack, 2014). The player is called upon to manage the survival of a group of citizens through organizing the distribution of available resources such as fuel, food, water and medicine in particularly difficult situations that affect the mood and vitality of each member until a ceasefire is declared.

The interaction required by the player does not stop only in pure survival and in finding resources, as he is asked to explore his / her own moral framework, being in charge of decisions and moves that affect the psychological situation and consequently the needs of the group handled. For example, he may decide to rob a couple of elderly people to save a member of his own team, but some of its members are so negatively affected by this choice to the point that the group can not function properly, leading some of up to suicide. The player is asked to walk in a stretched rope of balance and survival, experiencing horror, despair and the needs of people in war conditions.


Pedagogical background of the game:

the player is called upon to develop his / her ability to make decisions in the light of the ethical issues that arise. It creates practices interacting with the environment of the game and learns through its own actions by remodeling its choices according to the mistakes it makes (Auberger, n.d.). This War of Mine promotes reflection through the impact of achieving the goal of surviving, creating a sense of despair as the player's choices don’t affect the outcome of the war,  as he is only tasked with the wellbeing of his team, a feeling experienced by any civilian who finds himself in the midst of a war (Toma, 2015). No matter what he does, people will lose their lives, and he is called upon to explore the point where the need for survival overlaps his moral and psyche.

The game is available for personal Computers, IOS and Android devices.

Bibliography
Auberger. (n.d.) This War of Mine. Retrieved November 7, 2017, by http://www.playful-pedagogy.org/this-war-of-mine.html

Kirkpatrick, J. & amp; Schiltz, S. (2016). Review - this War of Mine. Retrieved November 7, 2017, by http://www.e-ir.info/2016/02/07/review-this-war-of-mine/

Noack, R. (2014) This war video game is not about the shooters. It's about the victims.Washington Post. November 21.

Toma, E. (2015) Self-reflection and morality in critical games. Who is to be blamed for war? Journal of Comparative Research in Anthropology and Sociology. 6 (1), 209-224.

 

 

Published in Video Games