ENGAGE CHILDREN IN LEARNING BY PLAYING
How to design an app for share development skills data while playing in a physical and digital world?
Interactive and technology building blocks
International School Odense Henriette Hørlücks School
App game concept developer, wireframes illustration, user researcher, workshop facilitator, usability tester and analyzer and stakeholder outreach
APP CONCEPT & PROTOTYPE
Together with a neuroscientist, engineer and the game developer, we designed game exercises and story telling for our focus group 6 years old children.
We research what children learn at school with 6 years old and what exercises can be relevant to develop the areas of Memory, Arts, Visuospatial Perception, Music and Mathematics (part of the company's business strategies). The prototype of the app was rapid prototype with simple illustrations.
The goal was to test the learn-ability and discover-ability to gain a better understanding of how the concepts work in real life. Since we are designing for children we wanted to have their input regarding what they like to play to develop more complex and engaging story games.
Organized in 3 parts:
Usability tests of digital & physical play
Usability tests of physical play
What do children like to play? What engages them in the play?
The goals were to get insights of:
What children like to play
What children learn at school
What engages children
How children use their skills individual or in group
How children use logic and critical thinking
What motivates the child to play and learn
We asked children to sketch what they liked to play with. Sketch is a great tool since there aren't physical limitations to express ideas. They were sketching individually but in a group allowing them to build their ideas in each others ideas similar to brainstorm method.
While they were sketching I conducted interviews.
I'm going to draw a cat but I don't like internet games with cats because its too girly.
Golden cats in a golden house during a storm with a water system to drain water.
Heroes with Earth element weapons using color code.
A machine that turns people into fairies for one day.
We conducted interviews with the school director and the teacher of P4 class. We wanted to know:
What teachers think about the physical and digital play of Play DXTR
There's a need of a tool to teach and learn has Play DXTR
What children struggle more in learning and teachers in teaching
How teachers evaluate children's skills
Meaning of play and learn
"For us (teachers) it's quite subjective what we observe from children, their development and challenges.
We can't measure the same way just what we collect from paperwork."
"We need to increase their curiosity and engage them in school".
Are the cubes playful and interactive by itself?
We conducted user testings individually for the app with 5 concepts of game stories using physical interactive building blocks and digital game. Observations of interactions and interviews to know what they thought about the game were applied.
Find discoverability and learnability by exploring:
How children coordinate physical & digital play
Concepts with successful results and ones needed of improvement
The difficulty level of exercises
Design interface, character, illustrations engagement
Are the instructions easily understood to play without help
Meaning of individual play and learn in digital and physical platforms
Other situations that can influence the child's behavior
Are the games with adequate difficulty for their age?
Is it fun and engaging to play?
DATA AND USER ANALYSIS
After the workshop, we analysed the data collected from the videos, questions, drawings, interactions, time of each exercise and interviews. I made a design map to illustrate the teacher’s and children’s input and ideas of product improvement. The product fulfills the needs of education system and engages children. It provides with an accurate feedback and development measurement of each child, engagement from matching common interests, increases independency and most important explores curiosity. Most of the improvements include technology learning for different age targets and ideas gathered from the drawings as inverted images, portals and geography.
RESULTS AND IMPROVEMENTS
It was the first user testing and game development in the company. I made a new stakeholder and the company started to develop a graphic style of the game. The results indicate a successful interaction with the physical and digital play. Although there were many activities in the workshop at the same place and time that might have influenced the children’s behavior.
NEW GRAPHIC AND CHARACTER DEVELOPMENT
App for tablet, mobile and desktop
With the input from the workshop, I developed an app to share the data collected from the exercises to inform the user and parents of their performance development.
I focused in social UX to help users discover or benefit from peers - collaboration or multiplayer game.
This part of the project was only to develop my UX Mobile skills, therefor I only chose 4 wireframes.
Sketching some of the main wireframes gave me an idea of the user's interactions and needs to improve their skills. After, I worked with Axure programe to develop more in detail the app how it should be, what functions will be available, how the user will reach it's task and goal to make it intuitive and easy to use.
The wireframes I chose to develop are: the main first wireframe when you open the app, profile, social and the games.