Summer School + Conference + ChiCI Research
In this edition of the Serious Games Network Newsletter we would to draw your attention to the results of the SEGAN Conference and Summer School which were hosted by the Tallinn University, Estonia.

Additionally we will be presenting the Child Computer Interaction research group, from England, and some of its work.

SEGAN Conference
and Summer School

The SEGAN Conference and the Summer School on the "Design of Serious Games" were held this month in Estonia. We were happy to see much interest in the subject, both in the Summer School classes and the public Conference, and are grateful for the organization of such a successful event by the Tallinn University.

All the materials presented in the Conference are publicly available on the SEGAN website ( ) as well as pictures and testimonials from the Summer School participants ( ).

Whether you were present or missed this events, we hope to see you all next year in Cork, Ireland!

Until then, we invite you to join the discussion on the SEGAN website
( )!

SEGAN Research @ ChiCI (Child Computer Interaction) Group

The Child Computer Interaction Research Group's ( ) main purpose is to provide a lively and supportive environment for the pursuit of research into the design and evaluation of interactive products for children. Within this broad remit, a special emphasis is placed on usability and fun, the design of technologies for literacy and the design and evaluation of novel technologies.

This issue features some of its recent Serious Games researches: from children designing Serious Games to “Draw a Poet”.

Children Designing Serious Games

According to UN 2011 data, nearly 25% of the world population (1.7 out of 7 billion) is in extreme poverty. And estimates from UNICEF in 2003 suggest that as many as 1.6 million children die each year from poor hygiene, mainly in less developed regions. Poverty and related issues are serious matters that could only be gradually tackled by shared efforts. We have initiated “ChiCI in Africa” project, to connect children in developed region to children in less developed rural Africa, and to bring green technologies to the local communities.

We have had participatory design sessions with UK children to design a game for children in African, which came out as a “Hand Wash” game, as according to them “effective hand-washing can be a life-saver”. The project found that UK children predominantly focused on the learning aspects of the serious game during their design activities but they were also able to consider some of the game aspects. They demonstrated understanding of instruction but were less aware of some of the other aspects of learning including feedback on understanding. Involving children in the design of the serious game lead to some nice insights that were included in the game that was subsequently built and brought to the children in Africa. At the same time it was also a learning process for the UK children about the broad world, the importance of hygiene and more. 

The proposed Fine-Tuning System (FTS) for Serious Games

The proposed system show the relationship between fading, game progress and knowledge gained. As the scaffold is faded the distinction between the expert peer and non-expert peer become obvious.

The Fine-Tuning System (Obikwelu, Read, & Sim, 2013)

Prior to fading, everyone – expert and non-expert would make satisfactory game-progress with little knowledge gained. This is because the learning support for the entire target ZPDs were embedded in the game (full scaffolding). This support is gradually faded based on
  • preset number of attempts i.e. the system fades regardless of the outcome from the task– static fading OR
  • only successful attempts i.e. the system doesn’t fade until the player-learner hits the expected outcome in relation to the task – Adaptive fading
The game progress of some students would fall below a pre-determined threshold. These students would be regarded as the non-expert peer. At this point those who make satisfactory game-progress based on preset parameter are regarded as the expert peer. As soon as this distinction is made, the expert peer and the non-expert peer are made to collaborate through peer-tutoring. This collaboration is expected to considerably improve the game-progress made by the non-expert peer and thus significantly increase the knowledge gained in the field through game-play.

“Draw a Poem”, Abstract Poetry Creating

The game was developed for children in educational settings, either for home or school; it combines creating abstract coloured patterns with automatic poetry writing. The game is to be played on a large interactive surface, as the work is inspired by interior wall design. Combining logic and creative brain development (left and right brain), the game provides a “hands on & brain on” experience.

SEGAN Workshop: The use of Design Experiments
in Research Serious Games

It was a local SEGAN event hosted by the ChiCI group. The event has provided an opportunity for face-to-face contacts contributing to an important part of SEGAN community building. A number of Talks were given at the event, plus a Discussions and Socials after event.

The event was proved popular, the participants have shown great enthusiasm and most have expressed that they would like to join more future SEGAN events.

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