Multi-touch application for informal learning
Two balance-board swinging players opposing on a mixed-reality table take alternately turns placing tokens, firing at a computer opponent. This is not an arcade attraction, but the latest e-learning application from scienceintermedia.
All people are learning – consciously and unconsciously – all life long. With ConnoC scienceintermedia now presents a highly dynamic learning concept, which in particular offers a charming setting for informal learning. Core of the concept is the game of relationships and connections between objects, concepts or numerical values.
Based on the classic computer games “Breakout” and “Pong” the goal of connoc is to destroy an enemy located in the center of the court, the so-called “boss”, by the clever use of “ball” and “bat”. The rules are simple: If the boss is hit eight times (with a correct load) he is defeated. If the players don`t hit the ball three times in a row, the boss wins. Alternatively, the game can be played by two players against each other and in a cooperation mode or by one player against the virtual opponents.
Accurate aiming and skillful band playing alone, however, are not sufficient to defeat the boss. Only the targeted use of the different tokens as the game progresses leads to success. These physical “counters” are placed on the playing field and colliding with the virtual “ball” they give it the necessary “charge” to neutralize the boss. The player always has to choose the charging token in relation to the condition of the boss. The condition in the interior of the boss (e.g. numerical value, term or aggregate state) changes continuously. If one of the tokens gets in the trajectory of the ball it is deflected and charged according to the token. If a flame is displayed inside of the boss the ball must be loaded by an appropriate extinguisher token. The relationship between the boss and token is not only in constant change but can vary and in its technical complexity depending on the context of the issued subject.
In the context of the discipline geometry, the boss could have a particular geometric form which has to be recognized or in the subject chemistry it may consist of a variant on of carbon acid and will only be neutralized by the use of slaked lime tokens. In the context of language learning the boss can be a particular verb form that must be recognized.
With ConnoC – Divide an application example from the field of mathematics has been initially implemented. Here the right divider (2, 3 or 5) has to be designed to a numerical value. To succeed, the players have to test and internalize the effect of the various tokens in a short time. Imperceptibly, the players in each case acquire cross-contextual learning objectives.
Competition and Cooperation
ConnoC can be played in three variants, the modes “Single” “Versus” and “Coop”. While in single mode the player fights alone against the boss in Versus mode he enters into a competition with a second player. In the COOP mode, team play is afforded, to solve In particular, complex tasks through consultation.
Learning in Motion – Multi-modal input enhances dynamics
The combined use of pattern-based object recognition (tokens) with the balance-board controller provides a multi-modal interaction and immersion into a quick game. This creates a tremendous momentum, which is grounded in the ratio of reaction, learning curve and skill. Again and again, decisions must be made up quickly an then have to be realized through the correct positioning of the tokens and the rocking motion with the entire body.
The positive effects “of moving” learning scenarios are known to all of us in one way or another. Whether walking up and down whilst learning foreign vocabulary or getting creative impulses during a walk in nature. Research has been concerned with the question of why the participation of leading motor centers of the brain boost memory performance. Possible explanations are seen among others in the double-coding of the contents’ motor and cognitive, which leads to more rapid and secure retrieval of memory traces in long-term memory. Motion is therefore an important aspact aofremedial courses to overcome language and learning difficulties. “
Attractive learning environment and innovative technology
This attractive learning environment encourages a playful consideration of the issued learning subject.
The playing field is the horizontal projection of the acrylic glass Multitouchtable. The infrared camera located inside the table detects not only the hand movements of the players on the Plexiglas, but also the placed tokens. The integrated tracking software recognizes the pattern located at the bottom of the token and enables the use of this physical game pieces in the digital context.
Use in different contexts
ConnoC can be used in educational institutions such as museums and science centers as well as other contexts are possible. Thus, the principle also could be used in the field of commercial product launches to illustrate the effectiveness and the operational areas of a product.
ConnoC is the result of a collaboration with the designer Stephan Scholdra who worked on the development of the application as part of his thesis at Bremen University of the Arts.
Oliver Erdmann on the motivation of scienceintermedia to develop this application “The progressive development in the field of multi-touch technology increases the demand for custom applications to multi-user operating concepst. For us as developers of learning media especially the possibility of implemting moving ‘learning scenarios’ is interesting.“