Helena Reis’s PhD defense takes place on the 4th July, at 2:30 p.m., in Auditório José Grácio, Departamento de Engenharia Mecânica, Universidade de Aveiro, with the topic Avaliação de Jogos Educativos: Proposta de uma Aplicação Digital.
Helena Reis is a student of the PhD programme in Multimedia in Education and her supervisor is Ana Margarida Almeida (DigiMedia, UA).
DigiMedia members are invited to participate in this important moment.
The introduction of games in the classroom is recognized as a strategy that enhances learning and the motivation of the students. School is pointed out as a context of great potential for the implementation of Game-Based Learning strategies. However, the challenges that are presented to educators during the process of choosing a game can lead to premature abandonment of the implementation of the activity. This thesis aimed at to understand, starting from the interactive development of a design of a gamified mobile application, how one can encourage and support the teacher in the application of Game-Based Learning activities. The application, called Games4Class, has as its main purpose to catalog and evaluate educational games. An exploratory study was developed, based on the socio-critical paradigm, and framed in a qualitative investigation, with some quantified parameters. From the point of view of alignment with research objectives, the methodological design was strongly influenced by educational design research approaches; already observing the methodological procedure chosen, we opted for the Case Study. For the study, two cases (two games) were used – Unlove and Carmen Sandiego. The process began with the testing of the evaluation questionnaire of the two educational resources following the implementation of game sessions with professional education students (Study I). The Games Unlove and Carmen Sandiego were evaluated according to three indicators – (i) motivation, (ii) player experience, with the measurement of pragmatic quality and hedonic quality and (iii) learning acquired by the game. From the sessions, the opinion of the teachers involved regarding the use of games in the classroom was also considered. Once these data were collected, a group of eight specialists was created allowing the proposal of the functional requirements of the application, according to the Communicative Design Paradigm (Study II). The requirements were articulated in a design proposal whose mockups explore the cataloguing and evaluation of the two games and enhance communication between user-teachers. To encourage and involve teachers in the use of the application, some gamification elements such as points, digital medals, social interaction, benefits, and challenges were considered in their genesis. The positioning of the gamified proposal, understood as a process of integration of game mechanisms in a non-game context to promote motivation and user participation, was measured through the Octalysis framework. After prototyping, the validation of the proposal was conducted through a usability test, involving, in addition to the group of experts, a national publisher (Study III). At this stage, improvement proposals for the next version of the application were listed. At the same time, the participants in the study, the teachers of the game sessions and the group of experts, positioned themselves in the face of the development of the proposal and the use of Game-Based Learning and enunciated its benefits (Study IV). For the collection of data and to obtain feedback from the participants, individual and focus group semi-structured questionnaires and interviews were applied, and several electronic records gathered. In addition, the usability tests were recorded on video and later transcribed and analyzed. The content analysis technique allowed the encoding of text segments in the various categories and making interpretations. Some conclusions are highlighted. At first, through Study I, it was possible to map and characterize the games Unlove and Carmen Sandiego, the latter being the most scored in the three indicators studied. We conclude that learning was not as effective as that perceived by teachers. Additionally, the design process, initiated in Study II, enabled participatory design by surveying functional requirements. From Study III, it was possible to verify that the design of the application was user-friendly and easily accepted by users. Analyzing the prototype of the Games4Class application in the light of the Octalysis framework, there is a greater relevance of the core Social Influence, contributing to a more intrinsic motivation of the user. The exploration of game-based learning activities and application prototyping elucidated the perceptions of teachers and experts about the positive influence of games on the motivation, behavior, concentration, memorization and learning of students and about the benefits of developing the Games4Class application (Study IV).