Digital Educational Games, e-Learning and m-Learning

 

The success of Digital Educational Games (DEG) is mostly owed to the fact that they enable learning while enjoying a fun experience. DEG amuse the user, engage his/her motivation while deploying a number of learning strategies. The game in fact, in its most natural form, necessitates of both cognitive as well as physical involvement. To deliver this within a Digital Educational Game it is essential to identify specific interaction metaphors that can best and most naturally reproduce the psychomotor stimuli typical of daily experience.

Within this context GraphiTech has developed a number of scalable Digital Educational Game environments. More specifically, GraphiTech promotes the widespread adoption of serious games as a learning tool due to several reasons: game is an engaging and motivating form of learning, it increases both competition and collaboration among peers and can improve the development of specific skills, especially in the so-called digital natives generation.

Edutainment, as suggested by the term, is a field combining education with entertainment issues, with the goal of raising the learning process to a more engaging and fun-filled experience.

One of the main edutainment fields, which is receiving increasing attention by the research community, addresses the field of Digital Heritage. Within such setups visitors are able to virtually explore the reconstructed heritage environment and they can benefit from the additional information and learning material that the virtual environment offers.

Other relevant activities include "The island of Wii" project whose purpose was to develop a serious game prototype for earlier class of primary school. The game, targeted to pupils aged between 6 and 7, is called L'isola di Wii (The isle of Wii), and it is structured as a container for micro-games designed to promote development of basic skills in mathematics. The game is based on a three-dimensional game engine and it makes use of the WiiMote game controller to promote a playful interactive experience with the game.

Last but not least, GraphiTech is promoting the adoption of strategies typical of DEG. A number of devices, today readily available on the market, including, but not limited to, iPhones or Android phones, allow an unprecedented level of freedom to software developers who can now take advantage of powerful computing capabilities, hardware support of 3D graphics, large memory and extended storage space, high-resolution touch screens, support for two hand interaction (e.g. in the case of the iPhone), availability of high-resolution on board cameras and of a variety of sensors including GPS antenna, proximity sensors, gyroscopes and accelerometers. This plentiful of hardware devices is then complemented by GraphiTech to ensure ubiquitous availability of internet connections either via WiFi or through 3G, Edge or UMTS networks.

The unprecedented success of these devices, with the iPhone alone estimated to be selling up to 10 million devices per quarter, is deeply affecting the way GraphiTech is considering mobile computing across a number of different domains and this is also going to have profound effects on our future developments. Moreover, since the video game market is one of the most promising segment, it is foreseeable that consequently research activities at GraphiTech will benefit of a rising interest also within mobile scenarios.