The needs we are addressing with our solution are:
1. Offering a fun and motivating alternative to an educational system that is not working
2. Build up this alternative in the cheapest possible way, using high quality resources freely available on the web, and letting students, teachers or anyone with interest in education contribute to build this system.
3. Make the construction of the system a fun and motivating experience so that people enjoy participating in the project.
4. Practising through the tools created the most needed abilities nowadays: responsibility, creativity, critical thinking, empathy, teamwork, active listening and effective communication.
In practical terms, we aim to satisfy these needs by offering an educative methodology based on a social network we call ‘Games & MOOCs’ that is based on 4 axes:
2. Learning through interesting and fun educative materials which are freely available on the web: MOOCs, documentaries, educative documents or videos made by teachers, blogs, university papers, etc.
3. An educative social network built by the students and teachers. Made up of:
o The links indicated on the previous point 2 (each with his description, comments, and score given by other users)
o App-based educative videogames: made firstly by Fly Games, and then also by other users.
o App based videogame-makers: consisting of a software that allows to change the educational contents of a game (questions, challenges, descriptions, etc.). This way, with one single storyline, graphics and programming code, many games working different subjects or themes, can be created.
4. The educative social network ‘Games & MOOCs’ will be a game itself, thus motivating students and teachers to participate in it.
The implications of implementing our solution are that a flexibility is needed from the teachers, as they will stop performing the sole role of giving master classes, in order to gradually adopt the role of guiding the students, solving them the possible questions that arise while they learn directly from the materials linked to the network, and while they learn from one another when they play educative games in groups.
However, there are elements that can make this fluent and affordable:
- Teachers will have easy and instant access to how the students are performing. They will see their activity in 2 different areas:
o Their contributions to improve the social network (described below)
o by adding useful educative links, translating contents, scoring the contributions of others, creating contents for a new educative unit with a videogame-maker, etc.)
o Their use of the social network: the materials they visualize, the videogames they play, the scores they get, etc.
- ‘Games & MOOCs’ can be implemented in a gradual way. In some high schools, we propose for the first scholar year 3 hours per day dedicated to the ‘Games & MOOCs’. The second year, those students who took the initiative more seriously would be rewarded with more hours per day (4-7 hours), whereas those who misused the opportunity would reduce the number of hours to just 0-2 hours per day.
- During ‘Games & MOOCs’ hours, different activities would be carried out, we divide in 2 types.
1. Contributions to the network:
o Designing new videogames on different educative units through videogame-makers, individually or in groups
o searching for educative materials, identifying useful ones, and describing them to add them to the network
o commenting and scoring the contributions of others, improving descriptions of materials where something is missing, etc.
o translating educative material to Romanian
o doing administration tasks
o doing brainstorming to find out how the network could be improved and writing down their ideas and proposals to be sent to Fly Games
2. Using the network:
o playing the educative videogames created
o visualizing the educative materials in the network: MOOCs, documentaries, videos
A requirement for the system to be implemented effectively is that schools have routers that can offer internet connection to around 30 devices per classroom, at least in some classrooms.
So far, we have developed 8 videogames (Mirror, Archetypes, Wisdómini, Emparchís, We are Animals, Creative Animal, Arreit, City Watch) and one videogame-maker (Wisdómini).
Espejo, Archetypes, and Emparchís have been tested so far in 5 High Schools (over 500 students), whereas Wisdomini Maker has been tested in one (20 students), and Creative Animal has been tested by over 50 university students.
City Watch is a game made for Madrid Government to raise awareness against gender violence, that is now being revised by the government, prior to it being disclosed.
We are now developing the social network with useful links to high quality educative materials freely available online, therefore this part has not yet been tested.
There are no competitors to our specific solution as far as we have investigated