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Learning Through a Mobile Device David McDyre Dr Averil Meehan Dr Stephen Wright.

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Presentation on theme: "Learning Through a Mobile Device David McDyre Dr Averil Meehan Dr Stephen Wright."— Presentation transcript:

1 Learning Through a Mobile Device David McDyre Dr Averil Meehan Dr Stephen Wright

2 Overview This workshop describes the experience of developing an interactive educational game for a mobile phone. This workshop describes the experience of developing an interactive educational game for a mobile phone. David McDyre MSc Computer Games – Dissertation topic. David McDyre MSc Computer Games – Dissertation topic. Outlines the tools used, the resulting game, the results from trying it out Outlines the tools used, the resulting game, the results from trying it out Considers what issues that are important to consider when developing educational games Considers what issues that are important to consider when developing educational games

3 Example of an Educational Game While the game was written for school aged children, many of the problems encountered and solutions developed are also applicable to mobile game programs developed for students of all ages.

4 Range of Mobile Games What do we mean by a mobile game. What do we mean by a mobile game. These can range from text based programs such as simply answering questions to more interesting games using graphics. These can range from text based programs such as simply answering questions to more interesting games using graphics.

5 Keep them interested This is the aim of educators at all levels of the educational system This is the aim of educators at all levels of the educational system Students now are used to flicking from screen to screen, web page to web page, so keeping interest can be challenge. Students now are used to flicking from screen to screen, web page to web page, so keeping interest can be challenge. As most students now use a mobile phone, games developed for a mobile device that also reinforce pedagogic aims specific to a course of study are potentially a useful way to teach skills while keeping students interested. As most students now use a mobile phone, games developed for a mobile device that also reinforce pedagogic aims specific to a course of study are potentially a useful way to teach skills while keeping students interested.

6 Mobile Technology The current generation of handheld computers and mobile phones have increasing power making this an increasingly viable approach. The current generation of handheld computers and mobile phones have increasing power making this an increasingly viable approach.

7 Practical Artefact J2ME mobile phone game J2ME mobile phone game Morrisons High Seas Example Morrisons High Seas Example Tile and sprite game Tile and sprite game Mixes game and educational elements Mixes game and educational elements Teach geography of Ireland to National School children Teach geography of Ireland to National School children Issues: Issues: - Understanding and adapting Morrison's example into an educational game - Reuse sprites - Memory Management

8 Screenshot of Example Game

9 Technical Tools Used: Tools Used: - J2ME, - J2ME Wireless Toolkit, - Mappy, - Paint Shop Pro

10 Case Studies Practical artefact in its real world environment Practical artefact in its real world environment Testing process – tweak for intended users Testing process – tweak for intended users 2 schools – 24 students, Age schools – 24 students, Age 7-9 Evaluation was Observation and questionnaire based Evaluation was Observation and questionnaire based

11 Results of Case Study Re-iterated a number of issues in the literature: Re-iterated a number of issues in the literature: - Educational games and mobile devices pose challenges - Students are more enthusiastic about learning - Special needs students are especially receptive

12 Practical Considerations Programming Programming Working with an emulator Working with an emulator Varying specifications among different mobile phone manufacturers Varying specifications among different mobile phone manufacturers Limited available memory Limited available memory Deployment of developed game Deployment of developed game

13 Programming Requires knowledge of a programming language such as Java or C++ Requires knowledge of a programming language such as Java or C++ Due to limited resources, the programming language is adapted to enable it to run on a small device. Most of the language classes are available, but some may be modified. Due to limited resources, the programming language is adapted to enable it to run on a small device. Most of the language classes are available, but some may be modified. Choice of language may be based on knowledge of a particular language or on technical or security considerations Choice of language may be based on knowledge of a particular language or on technical or security considerations

14 Sun Java Wireless Toolkit is small

15 J2ME profiles and configurations Pagers Mobile Phones PDAs Car Navigation Systems Internet Appliances Set-top Boxes Mobile Information Device Profile (MIDP) Personal Digital Assistant Profile (PDAP) Personal Profile Personal Basis Profile Foundation Profile Connected, Limited Device Configuration (CLDC) Connected Device Configuration (CDC) Java 2 Micro Edition (J2ME)

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17 Graphics and Animation 2D graphics primitives 2D graphics primitives Lines, rectangles, ellipses etc Lines, rectangles, ellipses etc Animation Animation Supports Sprites (images that can be moved and animated) Supports Sprites (images that can be moved and animated) Sprite collision detection Sprite collision detection Tiles layers Tiles layers Used to create larger backgrounds – aids reuse and so helps conserver memory Used to create larger backgrounds – aids reuse and so helps conserver memory

18 Adding Interest Sound in mobile games Sound in mobile games Playback of audio (and also video) Playback of audio (and also video) Networked games Networked games Java was designed for networked programs Java was designed for networked programs May add cost to running program May add cost to running program Makes updates easier Makes updates easier Helps memory resources – e.g. if data stored in file or database on a web server Helps memory resources – e.g. if data stored in file or database on a web server

19 Using Emulators The easiest way to develop a mobile game is to use an emulator. The easiest way to develop a mobile game is to use an emulator. Unfortunately, different mobile phone companies use different technologies, so that a program developed on a generic emulator will not necessarily work the same on all phones. Unfortunately, different mobile phone companies use different technologies, so that a program developed on a generic emulator will not necessarily work the same on all phones. Using a custom emulator has the disadvantage that the game developed will work best (and possibly only work) on one brand of phone. Using a custom emulator has the disadvantage that the game developed will work best (and possibly only work) on one brand of phone.

20 Varying Mobile Specifications Even if the program works, Even if the program works, differing screen sizes and differing screen sizes and different levels of available memory found on different brands of phone different levels of available memory found on different brands of phone mean that games may appear differently and even work differently on one phone than on another. mean that games may appear differently and even work differently on one phone than on another.

21 GUIs for Small Devices Input can be by keypress or touch screen. Input can be by keypress or touch screen.

22 Default emulator

23 Memory While the memory on mobile phones is increasing with each release, so too is the range of items that can be stored on it. While the memory on mobile phones is increasing with each release, so too is the range of items that can be stored on it. Phones double as MP3 players, download s and internet information, hold photographs and even videos. Phones double as MP3 players, download s and internet information, hold photographs and even videos. All this leaves less memory available for running educational games. All this leaves less memory available for running educational games.

24 Profiling Memory Usage

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26 Security MIDP 2.0's Security Architecture MIDP 2.0's Security Architecture midp/articles/permissions/ midp/articles/permissions/ Public key cryptography: Public key cryptography: MIDP Application Security 1: Design Concerns and Cryptography MIDP Application Security 1: Design Concerns and Cryptography midp/articles/security1/ midp/articles/security1/

27 Additional Tools Mappy for PC - A utility for creating flexible 'maps' for 2D and 3D tile based games Mappy for PC - A utility for creating flexible 'maps' for 2D and 3D tile based games

28 Deployment Because of the range of differences in screen size and memory to run programs found on different phones, Because of the range of differences in screen size and memory to run programs found on different phones, It is important to port the game once it is developed onto the various phones used by the students to test out how it appears on each model. It is important to port the game once it is developed onto the various phones used by the students to test out how it appears on each model. This porting of the example program was found to be problematic on some phones This porting of the example program was found to be problematic on some phones

29 Deployment The example game was deployed to 3 leading phone manufacturers: The example game was deployed to 3 leading phone manufacturers: - Motorola, Sony Ericsson, Nokia 2 successful remote deployments: 2 successful remote deployments: - Via SD memory card, - USB cable Not all attempts at deployment were successful Not all attempts at deployment were successful

30 Recommendations Recommendations based on literature, case studies, development and deployment Recommendations based on literature, case studies, development and deployment Use J2ME and J2ME Wireless Toolkit Use J2ME and J2ME Wireless Toolkit Use a map building tool Use a map building tool Monitor size of application Monitor size of application Reuse sprites / objects Reuse sprites / objects Change images to.png format Change images to.png format Deploy locally Deploy locally

31 Conclusions Overall the high interest and enthusiasm shown by the students suggest that this is a viable way to teach or revise skills. Overall the high interest and enthusiasm shown by the students suggest that this is a viable way to teach or revise skills. However there are challenges in the development of such games that need to be considered to make optimum use of this innovative medium. However there are challenges in the development of such games that need to be considered to make optimum use of this innovative medium.


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