Mobile Educational Rallye & The Bremen Adventure

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  • 1. MobileEducationalRallye &The BremenAdventure

2. MobileEducationalRallye &The BremenAdventureAdvanced Topics in Media InformaticsMobile LearningDennis Krannich & Saeed ZareUni Bremen - WiSe 08/09Jan Smeddinck (Uni Bremen - 1976868)Thamya Moreira Rocha (Hochschule fr Knst - 30249)Lew Palm (Uni Bremen - 1466562)Jasmin EckardtDate: 28th February 2009 3. Keywordsmobile, learning, game, education, cellphone, usability, future, java, j2me,rallye, bremen, children, school AbstractThe "Schnitzelunt" game was developed during the "Mobile Learning" class atthe University of Bremen in 2008. It supplies a framework for adventure-files(xml) that are to be created in an online-toolkit (web-app), so that scavengerhunts can be set up without being on-site (using knowledge about the targetlocation and any available media). The application currently includes a smallexample ralley about the history of the city of Bremen, Germany. 4. Contents:1 Introduction2 Project Description2.1 idea & concept2.2 rallye structure2.3 sample adventure3 Paedagogic Discussion4 Technical Implementation4.1 plattaforms4.2 adventure files4.3 source code5 Usability Test5.1 test setup5.2 test & results5.3 feedback & findings6 Conclusion7 Attachments 5. 1 IntroductionNowadays, many high school classes are still stuck in book and projector teaching for all kinds oftopics, ragning from how our cells work to architecture in the city. Excursions with students andteachers, visits to museums or computer labs are methods commonly used to break the rhythm ofclasses and make the students more interested.Mobile learning techniques should be more commonly integrated into daily school programs,because they can raise motivation and interest in the students and provide alternative learningmethods. Therefore: Why not employ a context that the students are already used to; like gameadventures?The idea was to build an outdoor game (scavenger hunt / rallye [German: Schnitzeljagd]) forpupils, which enables them to learn about history in personal experience at the original places,supported by mobile devices. This could be advantageous compared to learning from books or inthe class room, because of the direct contact with the subject matter and the playful approach. Inthis game, the players are motivated through adapted recurring types of challenges.The game starts with the player (or group of players) walking to a defined starting point. There, heor she gets (educational) information about the place from the gaming device, as well as a initialquestion they are asked to answer. The riddle can only be solved by investigating the area. A correctanswer must be entered in the device and leads to the next place. This procedure replays there andleads to the next place and so on. One place can offer the possibility to choose one of severalpotentially following story nodes, so that the story must not be linear and similar for every player.The students by themselves, or together with others in groups, are responsible for the learningoutcome. After the adventure is completed the teacher is able to check what the students learnedfrom the experience.On the next pages, more details about the concept, idea and the application itself will be discussed.The first idea for an adventure and how it works with modularized nodes, will be desccribed, asllwell as the structure for the navigation. The technical specifications and how the node systemworks will also be explained in details.The last paragraph of this paper will detail a usability test with a short sample adventure that wascarried out with the prototype of the mobile learning game described above. The questions that theusability test was setup to answer where: (1) Does the node structure function properly to guide theparticipants thorugh the rallye, without them getting lost?(2) Does the game support learning of explicit game content and maybe even implicit, contextualinformation?These questions mind, we expect the reliability and rate of success of the rallye to rely heavily onthe quality of the individual adventures, since we merely provide a very flexible and open structureframework. Nevertheless, it can be expected that users will be able to learn a lot while playingadventures, because learning subjects come into tangible, real-world reach and users must engagepersonally and apply multi-strategy problem-solving in order to complete the adventures.1 6. 2 Project Description 2.1 idea & conceptThe idea for the game started with the observation that schools could offer more attractive andimmersive classes for the students. Teaching history as a subject could easily be less dull, if it waspossible to use real world experiences, instead of staring at pictures in a book. Students would bemore motivated walking around historical places while learning about their importance. A guidedoutdoor learning possibility can be expected to motivate especially the young students to takeinitiative and improve the exchange of information between them. A scavenger hunt, running onthe cell phones of the students of a classroom could mean fun and also easy learning. Another greatadvantage of the concept lies in the fact that adventures can be composed by any author withenough knowledge of the location at home, without visiting all the places and leaving marks thatmight accidentaly be removed.The following scenario will give an impression of how the game could be used in a school setting: It is Monday morning and Dennis wakes up late at 6:40 and quickly goes running to school. The lesson starts on 7:00 and the history teacher will probably already be in the classroom. Being late on a Monday is not a good start for the week ... especially when you are a sleepy 7th grade teenager and will probably receive a tardy. Entering the classroom, Dennis notices that it is mobile Abbildung 1: Marktplatz, Bremen (http://www.big-learning day! Evidently, he wont escape the tardy, buthaving a mobile learning day ahead quickly puts him back in a good mood, eager to gettingstarted with the adventure that lies ahead. Together with the other students, he gets out hiscell phone and starts downloading the task of the day. Today the class will learn about thehistory of the city they live in: Bremen.2 7. After finishing their rallye, the students gather back at the school and immediately start to compare their scores. The teacher then asks every small group to present what they learned during the adventure to roundup the day.Being more than just a guided tour, the learningmaterial in the mobile application can be all kindsof media (audio, images, video & text).The adventures can be planned by teachers inadvance and be shared through an onlineplatform. The structure of the rallye isconceptualized as sequential steps, wherestudents learn from one point to the otherfollowing historical facts, or architectural andspatial characteristics. They are guided by the Abbildung 2: The "Roland"ztasks and have their position / progress checkedby giving right/wrong answers about their current location. Because of this simpleapproach, the game does not depend on geo positioning systems and can therefore beplayed with current standard phones. Designed as a support for traditional lessons inschools, the rallye is targeted at students between 10-16 years, but could be played byanyone that is used to handling a mobile phone. 2.2 rallye structureThe rallye must have a clear and functional structure to guide the learning process with the mobileapplication. The learning material is split into nodes and the users have to complete one to go tothe next one. Each node covers one specific topic and can contain a variety of media to provide theinformation. The node-framework is very open and allows for normal question and answer nodeswith different kinds of answer types (text entry, multiple choice selection, image selection, taking apicture of a certain target, etc.), aswell as for purely informational nodes.The starting point for the scavenger hunt is common for all adventures examples. Every new taskstarts with a short introduction and a hint to the location that the children have to find in order tobegin. This step is called info point (IP). After each node, a riddle checks whether the children areat the right place. This is called check point (CP). It is followed by a step called learning point(LP) in which important aspects about monuments and their history are explained. In the end, theknowledge is checked by a riddle called knowledge point (KP). This riddle is always followed by ashort explanation to strengthen the knowledge. Sometimes children also have to ask passengers tofind a certain answer. This is called question point (QP). At the end of a sequence, children have to3 8. decide which direction they want to chose next in order to discover a certain topic. This is calleddecision point (DP) and it allows adventures to branch and create non-linear game experiences.2.3 sample adventureThe Bremen History AdventureWith its potential for enriching traditional classes, the game could be part of local historical lessonsin school. For the sample adventure, the old History of Bremen will be uncovered trough thescavenger tasks. The pupils can better integrate the facts during the game in their already existingconceptions, when they have some previous knowledge about the topic.The history of Bremen covers two important aspects that are crucial for understanding theimpact and influence of the city in former times. First of all Bremen was part of the Hanse andfurthermore it was a free hanseatic city. Those aspects are still visible in the name of the city as itis called Freie Hansestadt Bremen. The goal of the game is to find out from which historical factsthis name is derived.On the market place of Bremen there are several monuments depicting the history of the city. Forthis reason, we will start our scenario on the market place which has always been the center oftrade and politics in the history of Bremen. The middle of the market place is decorated by aHanseatic Cross. Since the lines of this cross point directly at several important monuments, thiswill be our starting point for every new scenario.Here is an example of a sequence of nodes covering the topic Foundation of Bremen.The sequence is composed by main nodes (1,2 and 3) that leads to check points (CP)and to history knowledge points (KP). 4 9. This is another example about the topic Liberty of Bremen. The starting point is the same as the othersequence, but the sequence ends out differently.Example adventure script:Info Point:Information: Since 1815 Bremen is called Free Hanseatic City ofBremen. The construction of the Vegesack Harbor and the WeserRiver allowed a strong trade tradition in the city. In this rally youand your friends will learn about Bremen walking around the cityand observing its historical monuments.(The game starts with a short introduction explainingthat Bremen is called Freie Hansestadt Bremen andthat it is the goal of the game to find out what thismeans.)Check Point:Question: Do you know what a hanseatic cross looks like? Choosethe right answer. Answers: 4 images, 1 is right (Feedback: Right answer, good job! + score)(The first riddle of the game is to find the HanseaticCross in the middle of the market place. To confirm thatthe children are at the right place, they have to select the Abbildung 3: Image selectionright image out of four images depicting several types ofanswer modezcrosses.) 5 10. Learning Point:Information: In 1915 the three Hanseatic cities Bremen, Lbeck and Hamburg, created adecoration for bravery and war merit. Medals of the Hanseatic Cross were given as reward to theones that fighted in World War One.(A short explanation is given about the meaning of the Hanseatic Cross and theHanse in general.)Knowledge Point:Question: Take a look in the facades of the buildings in this square. Can you identify two elementsthat are correlated with the harbor tradition of Bremen? Answers: (Neptune, Poseidon, Boat, Ship, Fish)Now the children have to look around the place and find some elements in the top ofthe buildings that confirm the hanseatic tradition. They have to type in the names ofat least two of the three elements.Information Point:Information: You acted bravely, completing this task! Go back to the Hanseatic Cross.Decision Point:Decision: Now is the moment to go further! For witch challenge you choose?Answers: (Old myths, Bremen liberty, Fight for power)(After this introduction the children can now decide which part of the history theywant to explore. For discovering the political history they can turn to the city hall,and to learn more about the hanseatic history, etc.)First example scenario: Old MythsAs example scenario, we decided to let the children explore the symbols and the foundation of thecity and therefore start with Roland, Bremens symbol of liberty. In the following the pointsexpress the instructions the children have to follow.Information Point:Information: In the medieval times, some German cities were fighting for independence. Bearingthe "sword of justice" and a shield with an imperial eagle, the Roland became the symbol ofbraveness and liberty for those cities.Check Point:Question: Go to the symbol of Liberty of Bremen. Write its name.Answer: RolandLearning Point:Information: Roland, built in 1404, is located in front of the town hall. It looks directly at thedome, reminding the church of the new beholders of political power (the emperor).The meaning of the statue is explained, e.g. why it is a symbol of freedom. A shortintroduction on the struggle between emperor and archbishop is given.6 11. Knowledge Point:Information: On the emblem at the front of Roland you find the declaration of independence ofthe city of Bremen.Question Point:Question: What was the name of the king responsible for the Bremen Independence?Answer: Karl, der grosseIf the student gives a wrong answer, or just cant answer the question,there is the hint available:Hint Point:Information: His first name is written in the emblem on the Rolands shield.Answer: Karl, der grosseDecision Point:Decision: Now is the moment to go further! Which challenge you choose?Answers: (Old myths, Bremen liberty, Fight for power)This example was made do demonstrate both the possible structure of an adventure and the type oflearning content. While the specific topic could as well have been architecture, or politics, thelearning environment and methods supported by the game remain the same.7 12. 3 Paedagogic DiscussionThe game we propose in this paper is a progressive learning tool with its strong focus onexploration and demands in communication and creative problem solving. While the answers arescripted, as they refer to facts in the environment, students always have to find their own way tothe solve the questions. They do so outdoors, in touch with the learning ma...