Development > Evaluation & Feedback

– Feedback –

Lecturer in Computing, HCI expert and software developer:
“Excellent – great fun. For me the basic idea is spot on – it is interactive, engaging, and I imagine it will help pupils get a feel for angles.”

Postgraduate Lecturer in Mathematics Education:
“I can see this being a really nice plenary activity and ideally they would spend about 10 minutes doing a quick game and then you’ve got a good idea of whether the children have actually understood it. ”
“That’s ideal [from a teaching point of view], the fact that it’s a little short, sharp thing that you can use quickly at the end of a lesson. Next year when I start again with PGCE students it will be lovely to be able to access that and get them to try it out. ”
“If I was teaching in school I would certainly be using things like that.”
“If they are bright, if they’ve got the hang of it they will whiz through it anyway. I think the fact that you give them a hint and then they have another go to do it really enables children with lower abilities to still succeed.”
“Marks are taken off so I can see that they haven’t got it all right first time. If I’m just going around and having a look at their scores I can see if they have understood bearings or not.”
“Even if they couldn’t do bearings from the very beginning, by the time they have asked someone and had a go, they should be able to get to a point where they can actually carry on through it.”
“If I’ve just done a lesson on bearings that would then enable me quite quickly, by having a quick look round, to see which ones have got the hang of it.”
“If this game is played without access to a calculator, certain parts of it encourage mental arithmetic.”

KS3 Mathematics Teacher at a school in Saltash:
“I’ve just had a go at a quick target practice on OceanQuest, I can
see already that this will be very helpful and lots of fun. I will have
more of a chance to look at the games when I’m not teaching later on,
but I think there’s a lot of potential for use here.”

– Evaluation / Game Break-Down –

OceanQuest is a piece of game-based learning focused on bearings within the Ma3 attainment target in Key Stage 3 Mathematics. It explores how dry learning content can be transformed into engaging learning by the application of game design theory. OceanQuest is a simple game with 3 different missions that will engage students and ensure they can estimate and understand angles by the use 3 digit bearings. The game caters for students of all abilities and help is provided with the use of a compass within the game and with hints using a clock and compass directions as aids. The missions have average play times of 5 to 10 minutes so can be used within the plenary of lessons. The only requirement to play the game is to have Flash Player 9 installed within the browser as the game is run from a webpage ( The game can be used in school in many ways (as a class, in teams/pairs, individually) as a revision or assessment tool and can even be set as a fun piece of homework. The game can provide a subject for discussion within the class and the students can work together creating a more social learning experience. Mission points are awarded and in the Target Practice 010 mission, a score out of 10 is also given. Additionally, players are awarded perfect scores for missions if they have made no mistakes. The missions have elements of randomness so every time they are played they are slightly different, and multisensory feedback is provided with all interaction.
(Download the Teachers’ Info pdf.)

Worth mentioning here is Marc Prensky’s list of Why Games Engage Us (2001 see resources):
“Games are a form of fun. That gives us enjoyment and pleasure.
Games are form of play. That gives us intense and passionate involvement.
Games have rules. That gives us structure.
Games have goals. That gives us motivation.
Games are interactive. That gives us doing.
Games have outcomes and feedback. That gives us learning.
Games are adaptive. That gives us flow.
Games have win states. That gives us ego gratification.
Games have conflict/competition/challenge/opposition. That gives us adrenaline.
Games have problem solving. That sparks our creativity.
Games have interaction. That gives us social groups.
Games have representation and story. That gives us emotion.”

All of the above elements of games result in player motivation and engagement and this is what game design can bring to learning when applied to pedagogical situations. OceanQuest offers all of the above elements to some extent and I will talk about the game mechanics and gameplay here, highlighting the learning outcomes.

OceanQuest’s look and feel was inspired by the traditional battleships game which is a blast from the past but is a game which appealed to all ages and sexes. The learning content is in harmony with the theme and context of the game. A piece of game-based learning which also provided some inspiration is Tabula Digita’s DimensionM.

Learning Content:
OceanQuest consists of 3 different missions which vary in objectives and content. The player is required to have or develop an understanding of bearings in their 3-figure form with the ability to recognise and estimate bearings and also relate them to compass directions (North, South etc. introduced in Key Stage 2) and a clock face. Bearings are now not officially part of the National Curriculum for Key Stage 3, however most teachers cover them in their lessons. Bearings are used as support for the learning of angles and are used in the GCSE level curriculum. The rules that students must know about bearings is that they are measured from an origin, from North (000) and in a clockwise direction. The game strengthens these rules and also provides help with the compass that can be switched on and off as needed. The compass has a fixed position (the middle of the main ship / the player) and is labeled with the main directions (N, NE, E, SE, S, SW, W, NW) and segmented into arcs of 15 degrees. In Target Practice 010 the ship remains facing North, however, in the other missions the ship rotates according to its navigation.

Regarding the bearings themselves, players are required to input them into the text box and press ‘Fire’ or ‘Confirm’ (dependent on which mission). If a bearing of more or less than 3 figures is entered, text feedback is provided in the ‘Mission Report’ screen reminding them bearings must be in 3-figure form and also audio feedback is provided. If a 3-figure bearing is entered but it is not within the valid bearing range (000 – 359) similar feedback is provided in the ‘Mission Report’ screen with a reminder and audio feeback. This occurs in all missions.

OceanQuest caters for students off all abilities as helpful hints and the compass encourage the less able students and missions Target Practice 010 and Poseidon 012 allow for multiple attempts at objectives. The game provides challenges and requires problem solving skills from the player however, the game is not too difficult.

The theme of the game has a miltary feel and has a simple storyline. The player is a navigator on a ship and must follow the orders of their superiors. There is no harsh punishment as is in the military, only a deduction of mission points and a missed target. If a valid but wrong bearing is inputted 75 mission points are deducted and negative sounding audio feedback is played. If a valid and correct bearing is inputted 1050 mission points are gained and positive audio feedback is played. There is also the motivation of objectives/targets (depending on which mission is played). In Target Practice 010 targets can be missed and therefore a score out of 10 is also given. With the other missions the player does not progress until the current objective is completed successfully. Players are given multiple chances to get the bearing right and are provided with hints and aids refering to clocks and compass directions. This allows for even the less able students to complete missions. The mission points reflect the ability of the player. Each mission also has a perfect score which is attainable by making no mistakes and completing the mission. This is the highest possible score and provides another form of encouragement and motivation for the players. The perfect score is shown on the mission completed page to inform players what score they need to acheive the perfect score for that mission. If they have acheived the perfect score, positive feedback is awarded. The scoring including mission points and targets provides an easy way for teachers to evaluate student understanding quickly and with little effort on their part. If students have received perfect scores it is evident they have a very good grasp of bearings and how to estimate them. Students who are less able will have lower scores but due to the design of the 2 missions with objectives they will still complete the level and feel a sense of achievement and satisfaction.

Interaction and Additional Feedback:
All interaction elements are placed under the title of ‘Work Panel’ to make it obvious to the player what they need to do and where. The only item that is not there is the ‘Abort’ button, which is located in the bottom right corner next to the ‘Mission Code Name’. The bearing input field (under the subtitle of ‘Bearing’ on the interface) is given focus so a flashing green ibeam shows in the text box indicating a need for typed input. The compass button is a bright round bubble with a compass symbol on it which highlights its purpose. A swooshing audio effect is played when the compass button is switch on and off and the compass graphics itself overlays the main action area. The compass graphic has transparency to make it more practical for the player. When switched on the compass button emits green light and when it is switched off it returns to it’s normal state. Animations are also implemented to make it look like the button is being pressed. The ‘Fire’ or ‘Confirm’ (depending which mission is played) is a large red round bubble with a yellow and black backdrop, highlighting its significance in the gameplay. This button also has a button press animation and sound effect and additional feedback depends on which objective is currently being executed. The ‘Abort’ button is a rectangular shaped button and placed away from the ‘Work Panel’ so it is not accidentally pressed and players can see that it has a different use. The button has a pressed animation and triggers the mission summary page which playes an end of mission sound. All interaction is based around estimating bearings, typing them in correctly and using a compass centering the game around the learning objectives. If the player is not familiar with bearings the game will make them familiar with hints and aids to lead them in the right direction.

The Missions:
All of the missions have different objectives making the game more engaging as players will be keen to find out what each mission involves. The missions also have an element of randomness so each time a mission is played, the experience will be different. This makes the game adaptable. There is no set difficulty level for each mission, the game can be played by students of all abilitites.

Target Practice 010 –
– Goals/Objectives:
This mission involves a series of randomly placed hostile targets which the player must hit by providing a bearing to direct torpedoes. A main objective is shown in the ‘Mission Objectives’ screen (hit all hostile targets) and a hostile ship is placed randomly. The player is required to input a bearing and press the ‘Fire’ button. A torpedo will then be launched and it can either hit or miss the target. If it hits an explosion animation is triggered with audio, points are awarded and the positive sound effect played. If it misses a splash animation is played with audio, points are deducted and the negative sound is played. In both cases, text feedback is also provided. 10 targets are placed in total and if the player misses one the game will move onto the next target. Players then get a mission points score and a score out of 10. Targets are programmed to be placed in random positions so every time this mission is played it will create a different experience. However, for learning purposes I have made sure that some of the targets are placed at bearings of more than 180 degrees to make sure students know how to calculate these (clockwise from North).
– Targets: 10
– Perfect Score: 10/10 = 10,500 mission points
– Average Play Time: 5 minutes

Poseidon 012 –
– Goals/Objectives:
This mission consists of a series of varied mission objectives involving navigating through rocks and clearing sea mines. Players are encouraged and helped to complete all objectives as the game allows for multiple attempts at objectives until the player gives a correct bearing. The first objective involves navigating the ship out into deeper waters and there is a range in which the answer must fall to be correct. The bearings of objectives 2 to 5 all rely on the bearing the player gives for objective 1, so this allows for variation when the mission is played more than once. With objectives 1 to 5 a flashing scanner/bearing checker travels in in the direction of the bearing inputted. If the scanner hits the objective points are awarded and the positive audio feedback played. If the scanner does not hit the objective points are deducted and the negative sound effect played. In both cases, text feedback is also provided. Objectives 6, 7, 9 and 11 ask for specific bearings based on the clock reference (ie: there is one more minefield to clear. Input a 2 o’clock bearing.). These bearings must be exact. If the bearing is wrong the usual points deduction and sound occurs, and if the bearing is right the usual positive feedback is provided. Objectives 8 and 10 involve directing missiles to clear sea mines, there are 6 sea mines per objective. The minefields work in a similar way to the target practice mission however they are not placed randomly, are all present from the start and the player must destroy them all.
– Objectives: 11
– Mine Targets: 12
– Perfect Score: 22,050 mission points
– Average Play Time: 9 minutes

Essential Supplies 006 –
– Goals/Objectives:
Players must provide bearings to direct the supply delivery boat to the islands. They must also provide bearings to navigate the ship. Islands are placed randomly so the mission is different each time it is played. However, the path the ship is required to follow through the islands is not randomised. This mission makes use of both clocks and compasses in objectives by asking players to navigate the ship in a certain compass direction or X o’clock bearing. Points are awarded for correct bearings, appropriate sound effects played and text feedback provided. In delivery objectives players receive additional visual feedback as the delivery boat follows the bearing to the island, leaves its cargo and returns to the ship. In these objectives a bearing scanner is sent out first to check the bearing before the delivery is made. If the scanner hits any part of the island the bearing is correct. If the bearing is wrong points are deducted, text feedback provided, negative sound effect played and the player has multiple chances to complete the objective.
– Objectives: 12
– Perfect Score: 12,600 points
– Average Play Time: 5 minutes

Copyright © 2008 Gaming & Learning. All rights reserved.yum


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