Last spring, I participated in a project in a game design course. The project involved transforming a board game, previously designed by the University of Florida Center for Aquatic and Invasive Plants, to a mobile game. The objective of the project was for children to learn about the effects of invasive species on their real-world environment. At the end of the course, we submitted a work in progress paper discussing our design process. Our work in progress paper titled, “From Board Game to Digital Game: Designing a Mobile Game for Children to Learn about Invasive Species,” was accepted at CHI PLAY 2017, an international conference that combines all areas of play, games, and human-computer interaction (HCI). The paper focused on the design of a mobile strategy game that teaches children about the differences between native, non-native, and invasive species, and the mechanisms used to control invasive species. Here is the abstract:
Invasive species are species that cause economic and ecological harm and/or harm to human health. One challenge to managing invasive species is the lack of awareness about these species and the threats they pose. To mitigate this problem, the University of Florida Center for Aquatic and Invasive Plants developed a classroom board game for children to learn about trade-offs in managing invasive species. The game is effective in increasing knowledge about invasive species and promoting collaborative discussions. However, this board game is only accessible within the classroom. We created a mobile digital game that expands on the goals of the board game. In this paper, we discuss the design of the board and digital versions of the game, and provide some guidelines for designing digital learning games that address real-world problems that have no optimal solution, like the management of invasive species. Future work will evaluate the effectiveness of the digital game in enhancing children’s knowledge about invasive species.
We will post the camera-ready version of the paper soon. This year’s CHI PLAY conference will be held in Amsterdam, Netherlands, and I will be presenting a poster at the conference.
I am a 3rd year PhD student working on whole body interaction and movement based games for children. I am looking forward to attending the talks and sessions at the CHI PLAY conference. I believe these talks will help improve my understanding on creating better technologies for children.