Can The Game Metrics of Pokemon Go Be Utilized For Learning?

Augmented reality, among new age technologies, has a special ability to catch the imagination of children and adult alike, and promote attention within safe and fascinating environments. With its launch in July 2016, the Pokémon Go has broken several records in terms of popularity in the United States and world over. The location-based augmented reality game has been developed for mobile devices. Players use the GPS on their mobile device to locate, capture, battle, and train virtual creatures,thePokémons. These creatures appear on screen making it seem as if they are in the same real-world location as the player. There are various reasons that have contributed to thisphenomenal success. It is an action based game, which engages the player in an immersive environment where they are physically active and not a couch-potato!It is easy to understand and follow —the complexities grow as the learners pass certain milestones within the game. The most important aspect being, it is a collaborative game where more than one player can get involved.

Pokémon Go Game Learning

While Pokémon Go has been designed essentially as an entertainment game, but there are numerous practical advantages of using augmented reality for learning. The technology has the potential to provide individually tailored interventions that cater to a wide variety of capabilities. Technology-aided learning can be utilized at different speeds and locations, and never lose patience with the frequent repetition that many of these learners desire.

Augmented reality is a variation of Virtual Environments, but has a few added advantages for learning— especially for those learners with special needs. With Virtual Environments the user is completely immersed in the virtual world, and gets disconnected from the real environment around him or her. This may cause some confusion for learners with special needs and can hinder their learning. In contrast, it allows the user to see the real world with virtual objects superimposed upon or, composited with the real world. This provides the greatest benefit as the learners remain part of the world around them and learn with ease.

With the aim to create an innovative book-based learning game, which would include interaction inputs to help children with special needs develop social interaction and communication skills, an augmented reality based game 'Tobias' adventure during a visit to a zoo park' was created. The player can read the story through on screen text, or listen to the audio. The story will describe five scenarios and interactions with animals and real world situations. This would involve the children with fictional contents related to emotions. The game can be played on any mobile technology such as a tablet, smartphone, or laptop, with an external or inbuilt web camera, and is also available on an online server.

  • The Character: Since it is the characters in a game that breathe 'life', the character Tobias was designed with expressions and features that allows the players to instantly like him. The expressions were designed with special detail, and were accompanied by body and facial gestures to reinforce the intended message. The characters' head and eyes bigger than the rest of its body in order to capture the attention of the child. The character expresses five different basic human emotions during the game– joy, sadness, fear, anger and disgust. The game is aimed to help the learners see and recognize these emotions and understand what others are feeling or experiencing.
  • The Scenarios: In line with the five emotions, the game includes five different scenarios, designed to involve the child with real life situations. These scenarios promote the contact with different environments and create some emotional reaction on the character, Tobias. The child will have to recognize the emotion that Tobias is feeling to advance to the next scenario.
  • The Audio: The game also has an audio story, which tellsthe feature that allows the child to listen to the story in audio format. This audio narration has the voice of a child and is synchronized with the game. The game also has animal voices and background music to engage the learners. Thisattracts the attention of the little learnersand help them get more involved in the game story.
  • The Mini-Games: At the end of each scenario the learners need to take up a simple quiz before proceeding to the next scenario. The learner is questioned on the emotion the character felt, and is encouraged to choose the appropriate facial expression. In order to help the learners, the game allows the child to observe the avatar in 3D representation through augmented reality. At the end of the game, the learner can also take up the Memory Challenge game, where he or she has to select the appropriate pair of all five emotions and characters to finish the game.

The innovative game, with its graphical interface, character interactions, audio and text narrations mingled with augmented technology, is functional and exciting. It is designed to captivate the attention of the young learners and increase their motivation with success, while developing necessary social skills.



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