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Paper

The Languages of Play. Journal of NALDIC (National Association for Language Development in the Curriculum)

Rushton, E.A.C. and King, H. (2021) - Download in PDF format

Abstract

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Paper

Play as a pedagogical vehicle for supporting gender inclusive engagement in informal STEM education. International Journal of Science Education, Part B, 1-14.

Rushton, E. A., & King, H. (2020) -

Abstract

Out-of-school making and engineering programmes that are frequently positioned as playful have increased dramatically in recent years – but how appropriate is the framing of play for engagement in these informal STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) spaces? Drawing on data from two research sites located in the UK, including observations of making and engineering activities with children aged 5–13 years, and interviews with nine key informants, we identify that play has three key affordances namely: (1) play can provide structure, (2) play is considered to be synonymous with open-ended science inquiry, and, (3) play can enable gender inclusive STEM spaces through promoting free-choice. We also note that overly simplistic framings of play may limit recognition by both adults and children of the educational value of these spaces and deny a fuller understanding of the opportunities that such spaces afford in providing children with moreopportunities to engage with STEM, particularly engineering. We suggest that play has an important pedagogical role in informal STEM activities, including making, when it is grounded in free-choice exploration and imagination. We argue for continued discussion and reflection upon both the value of play as a pedagogical vehicle and its affordances for enhancing youth engagement in STEM spaces.
Deliverables

D4.3. PROCEEDINGS OF THE FIRST COM N PLAY SCIENCE RESEARCH AND INNOVATION WORKSHOP

COMnPLAY SCIENCE consortium (2019) - Download in PDF format

Abstract

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Deliverables

D4.2. COMMUNITY BUILDING METHODS AND TOOLS

COMnPLAY SCIENCE consortium (2018) This deliverable reports on the outcomes of Tasks 4.1 and 4.2 in the form of practical community building methods and tools which will facilitate the development of a community of stakeholders around the project (learners and their parents, educators/facilitators, practitioners and policy makers from diverse fields and from across Europe), their consultation, and their involvement in all stages so that all research conducted can be in close contact with real life conditions. The aim of the report is to introduce the guidelines according to which the Community Building Methods and Tools will be set up and carried out during the project. Section 1 provides a short introduction to the role and scope of this document. Download in PDF format

Abstract

This deliverable reports on the outcomes of Tasks 4.1 and 4.2 in the form of practical community building methods and tools which will facilitate the development of a community of stakeholders around the project (learners and their parents, educators/facilitators, practitioners and policy makers from diverse fields and from across Europe), their consultation, and their involvement in all stages so that all research conducted can be in close contact with real life conditions. The aim of the report is to introduce the guidelines according to which the Community Building Methods and Tools will be set up and carried out during the project. Section 1 provides a short introduction to the role and scope of this document. Section 2 introduces the role, contribution, benefits and potential challenges for each stakeholder group, including Education Academics and Researchers, Educators (i.e., facilitators, teachers and practitioners), Policy Makers, Learners and Parents. In the following sections (3 and 4), specific methods and activities are presented, which aim at creating a sustainable community, the members of which will support the proposed initiative and get inspired towards creating or/and implementing non-formal and informal learning activities based on coding, making and play in science education. Section 5 presents communication methods and tools that will allow new members to get aboard and sustain an informed and active community, including: (a) Face to face contact, (b) E-mail contact, (c) Web site, (d) Social media, (e) Events (local and international), (f) Contests and (g) Mini-game. Moreover, various alternatives of technological tools that may be used and adapted in order to set up an online forum platform are described along with indicative guidelines on how to keep a community active and how to structure online content. Section 6 is dedicated to the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) established by the European Union and its impact on aspects of the COMnPLAY Science project which are related to Community Building Methods and Tools (data protection and privacy policies, event organisation, online communities, social media, etc.). Finally, Section 7 summarizes the goals to be achieved by the project in the context of the Community Building activities.
Deliverables

D3.1 COM’N’PLAY-SCIENCE RESEARCH ON LEARNING – INTERIM REPORT

COMnPLAY SCIENCE consortium (2019) This deliverable reports on outcomes of exploratory stage of Task 3.1 of WP3. The exploratory stage includes the first part of the research on the nature of learning, aiming to map the field in detail, provide first evidencebased indications, and prepare the field for the subsequent insight stage.

Abstract

This deliverable reports on the outcomes of the exploratory stage of Task 3.1, WP3. The exploratory stage includes the first part of the research on the nature of learning, aiming to map the field in detail, provide first evidence-based indications and prepare the field for the subsequent insight stage. The exploratory stage has included broad quantitative research involving over 2200 individuals as well as in-depth qualitative research involving over 700 individuals. Each of the 13 case studies reported in this deliverable was conducted as a self-contained local research project that, through an intensive analysis of the empirical evidence collected from the field of practice, sheds light on the questions on the nature of informal/non formal science learning investigated by the project. Each case study has generated a set of valuable lessons learned both on the topic of the nature of informal/non formal science learning and on the methodological issues involved in studying the topic. The consortium has examined the topic in a very comprehensive manner, inquiring into learning, engagement, fun, emotions and science capital of the participants, taking into consideration both the perspectives of children and adults (i.e. parents, teachers, facilitators/instructors). The insights and lessons learned generated will act as a valuable input for the subsequent case studies.
Deliverables

D2.2 COM’N’PLAY-SCIENCE ONLINE INVENTORY OF PRACTICES – FIRST VERSION

COMnPLAY SCIENCE consortium (2019) This report accompanies the online inventory of practices created by the project to make all identified and pooled practices available to stakeholders and the public, for dissemination and further exploitation in the world of science learning. The deliverable describes the goals, design and functionality of the related section of the project website. Download in PDF format

Abstract

In the context of “Task2.3 Inventory of practices” the consortium is developing an online inventory which offers all the identified and pooled practices to the public for dissemination and further exploitation in the world of science learning. The practices are appropriately categorized and annotated in the light of the findings of the research, including extensive case studies of those practices investigated in depth. The online inventory is made available as a section of the project website. This explanatory report is meant to inform not only the consortium, but also the interested average reader outside the project about the goals, design and functionality of the related section of the project website. Additionally, the next steps towards creating the next (and final) version of the Inventory are outlined. This deliverable will be updated through the submission of deliverable D2.3, scheduled for M36.
Deliverables

D2.1. IDENTIFIED PRACTICES AND RESEARCH SAMPLE

COMnPLAY SCIENCE consortium (2019) - Download in PDF format

Abstract

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Deliverables

D1.2 RESEARCH INSTRUMENTS AND TOOLS

COMnPLAY SCIENCE consortium (2019) Report on the outcomes of Task 1.2 ‘Methodological framework’, including detailed methodological tools that will enable the consortium to: a) identify and pool appropriate practices involving young people in coding, making, and play activities outside formal science education contexts; b) to conduct in-depth learner-centred participatory research into selected practices about the nature of the informal science learning occurring through them, as well as about the potential impact of this and c) to translate the findings of this research into concrete guidance and inspiration for practitioners and recommendations for policy development and further research. Download in PDF format

Abstract

This document reports on the outcomes of Task 1.2 ‘Methodological framework’, of the COMnPLAY SCIENCE project, presenting detailed methodological tools and instruments as those have been shaped and are available at the end of the ninth project month (M9, February 2019). The work reported in this document has continued based on the Conceptual Framework developed and reported for the use of the COMnPLAY SCIENCE project in Task 1.1 ‘Conceptual framework.’ The Conceptual Framework mapped and organized the central concepts of the project, whereas the Methodological Framework reported in this document is more practical, providing the methodological design, i.e., a general description of the methodological approach of the project, reflecting the overall conception of the research as well as the realities and practicalities of the field as they have been recorded up to the time of delivery of the present report.
Deliverables

D1.1 COMnPLAY SCIENCE CONCEPTUAL AND METHODOLOGICAL FRAMEWORK

COMnPLAY SCIENCE consortium (2018) Report on the outcomes of Task 1.1 ‘Conceptual framework’ and partially of Task 1.2 ‘Methodological framework’, including: a) the comprehensive conceptual framework which integrates all aspects of the project into a unifying conceptual baseline shared by the consortium and guiding the design and implementation of the project; and b) the operationalization of the objectives of the project and of the conceptual framework into a detailed methodological design. Download in PDF format

Abstract

This document reports on the outcomes of Task 1.1 ‘Conceptual framework’ and partially of Task 1.2 ‘Methodological framework’ of the COMnPLAY SCIENCE project, presenting the Conceptual and Methodological Framework of the research, as those have been shaped and are available at the end of the fifth project month (M5, October 2018). The Conceptual Framework, a more ‘theoretical’ part of the report, maps and organizes the central concepts of the project. Based on this, the Methodological Framework becomes more practical, providing the methodological design, i.e. a general description of the methodological approach of the project, reflecting the overall conception of the research as well as the realities and practicalities of the field as they have been recorded up to the time of delivery of the present report.
Paper

Digital Games in Non-formal and Informal Learning Practices for Science Learning: a Case Study

Iro Voulgari and Georgios N. Yannakakis (2019) Proceedings of the 8th International Conference, GALA 2019, Athens, Greece, November 27–29, 2019 Download in PDF format

Abstract

This paper examines non-formal and informal learning practices for science learning. Through a case study and an exploratory, qualitative approach we identify aspects involved such as the content, the goals, the pedagogical approaches, the settings, the role of fun and playfulness, challenges, and the role of the practitioner. Data was collected through interviews and a survey. Despite the diversity in the format, settings, structure, and target group of the practices examined in this study, there seems to be a convergence in certain themes such as the objectives of the practices, the pedagogical approaches involved, and the importance of fun. These aspects are linked with the design and implementation of digital games in the context of informal and non-formal science learning. Further issues emerged from the analysis such as gender representation, resources required for efficient implementation of practices, and the role of the parents. Strength-ening the links between formal and informal or non-formal science learning practices could ben-efit not only formal education but access of students to and effectiveness of non-formal and in-formal practices as well.
Paper

Measuring Fun with Adolescents: Introducing the Spanish and Dutch Adaptation of the FunQ

Tisza, G., Gollerizo, A. & Markopoulos, P. (2019) CHI PLAY EA'19, October 22-25, 2019, Barcelona, Spain

Abstract

It is increasingly understood how fun is an essential aspect in interaction for children in or beyond game play, as well as supporting learning and other activities involving children, e.g., for participatory design. While it is often proclaimed that such activities are fun for children participants, empirical evidence is hard to come by as measuring fun is not straightforward. Currently available assessment tools suitable for adolescents are scarce. FunQ is a recently developed measurement tool specifically designed for adolescents for the assessment of the experienced fun. Here we discuss ongoing work for adapting FunQ - to Spanish and Dutch. We report on the process followed to adapt the questionnaire; the reliability measures based on the initial results (ωoverall-SP= 0.876 and ωpartial-SP= 0.859; ωoverall-NL= 0.819 and ωpartial-NL= 0.804); and discuss our findings in reflection of the current state of the adaptation procedure.
Paper

Exploring children’s learning experience in constructionism-based coding activities through design-based research

Sofia Papavlasopoulou, Michail Giannakos, Maria Letizia Jaccheri (2019) Computers in Human Behavior, Volume 99, 2019, Pages 415-427

Abstract

Over the last few years, the integration of coding activities for children in K-12 education has flourished. In addition, novel technological tools and programming environments have offered new opportunities and increased the need to design effective learning experiences. This paper presents a design-based research (DBR) approach conducted over two years, based on constructionism-based coding experiences for children, following the four stages of DBR. Three iterations (cycles) were designed and examined in total, with participants aged 8–17 years old, using mixed methods. Over the two years, we conducted workshops in which students used a block-based programming environment (i.e., Scratch) and collaboratively created a socially meaningful artifact (i.e., a game). The study identifies nine design principles that can help us to achieve higher engagement during the coding activity. Moreover, positive attitudes and high motivation were found to result in the better management of cognitive load. Our contribution lies in the theoretical grounding of the results in constructionism and the emerging design principles. In this way, we provide both theoretical and practical evidence of the value of constructionism-based coding activities.
Paper

Coding games and robots to enhance computational thinking: How collaboration and engagement moderate children’s attitudes? International Journal of Child-Computer Interaction.

Kshitij Sharma, Sofia Papavlasopoulou, and Michail Giannakos. (2019) Coding games and robots to enhance computational thinking: How collaboration and engagement moderate children’s attitudes? International Journal of Child-Computer Interaction.

Abstract

Collaboration and engagement while coding are vital elements for children, yet very little is known about how children’s engagement and collaboration impact their attitudes toward coding activities. The goal of the study is to investigate how collaboration and engagement moderate children’s attitudes about coding activities. To do so, we designed a study with 44 children (between 8 and 17 years old) who participated in a full-day coding activity. We measured their engagement and collaboration during the activity by recording their gaze, and their attitudes in relation to their learning, enjoyment, team-work and intention by post-activity survey instruments. Our analysis shows that there is a significant moderating effect of collaboration and engagement on children’s attitudes. In other words, highly engaging and collaborative coding activities significantly moderate children’s attitudes. Our findings highlight the importance of designing highly collaborative and engaging coding activities for children and quantifies how those two elements moderate children’s attitudes.
Paper

The role of age and gender on implementing informal and non-formal science learning activities for children

Gabriella Tisza, Sofia Papavlasopoulou, Dimitra Christidou, Iro Voulgari, Netta Iivari, Michail N. Giannakos, Marianne Kinnula, and Panos Markopoulos. (2019) The role of age and gender on implementing informal and non-formal science learning activities for children. In Proceedings of the FabLearn Europe 2019 Conference (FabLearn Europe '19). ACM, New York, NY, USA, Article 10, 9 pages Download in PDF format

Abstract

There is a growing number of informal and non-formal learning activities worldwide related to STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Mathematics) subject areas -- particularly, those related to coding and making. To understand the general aim and content of such activities, we conducted a survey addressing highly experienced instructional designers and instructors of informal and non-formal science learning activities in nine European countries (N=128). The goal of this paper is to investigate the relation between (1) the targeted age-group and (2) the gender of the participants in these activities, and (3) the gender of the activity leader experts and (I) the content and (II) the main goal of the activity. The results show that the gender and age of the participants and the gender of the activity leader experts are associated with regards to the underlined content and the goal of the activity. We introduce the revealed patterns that describe typical goals and content in association with the participant's gender and age along with patterns between the activity leader experts' gender and the content and the main goal of the activity. We discuss the study findings in detail, their implications and their value for the informal and non-formal learning communities.
Paper

Joint Emotional State of Children and Perceived Collaborative Experience in Coding Activities.

Kshitij Sharma, Sofia Papavlasopoulou, and Michail Giannakos (2019) In Proceedings of the 18th ACM International Conference on Interaction Design and Children (IDC '19). ACM, New York, NY, USA, 133-145.

Abstract

This paper employs facial features to recognize emotions during a coding activity with 50 children. Extracting group-level emotional states via facial features, allows us to understand how emotions of a group affect collaboration. To do so, we captured joint emotional state using videos and collaborative experience using questionnaires, from collaborative coding sessions. We define groups' emotional state using a method inspired from dynamic systems, utilizing a measure called cross-recurrence. We also define a collaborative emotional profile using the different measurements from facial features of children. The results show that the emotional cross recurrence (coming from the videos) is positively related with the collaborative experience (coming from the surveys). We also show that the groups with better experience than the others showcase more positive and a consistent set of emotions during the coding activity. The results inform the design of an emotion-aware collaborative support system.
Paper

Activistas Científicos, una propuesta didáctica para trabajar los objetivos de desarrollo sostenible.

Gollerizo Fernández, A., y Luengo Pierrard, M. (2019) In Pérez-Aldeguer, S., & Akombo, D. (Eds.), Research, technology and best practices in Education. (pp. 112-122). Eindhoven, NL: Adaya Press Download in PDF format

Abstract

Explica la propuesta enmarcada en el proyecto europeo Horizonte 2020 COMnPLAY SCIENCE, del que Design for Change España es miembro.
Paper

Empowered to Make a Change: Guidelines for Empowering the Young Generation in and through Digital Technology Design

Marianne Kinnula and Netta Iivari (2019) In Proceedings of the FabLearn Europe 2019 Conference (FabLearn Europe '19). ACM, New York, NY, USA, Article 16, 8 pages. Download in PDF format

Abstract

This paper scrutinizes how children can be empowered to make a change through acquiring skills in digital technology design. We propose a framework that integrates theoretical understanding from literature on nexus analysis, values, and value as well as empowerment and genuine participation of children, and a related tool for educators and researchers advocating empowerment and inclusion. They should benefit from this tool when planning, analyzing, and evaluating their projects. We argue that the tool is useful beyond studies with children and can be used as a practical tool when planning and implementing digital technology design projects with any group of people and as a theoretical tool when studying such endeavors, especially when working with vulnerable or underserved participants.
Paper

Thinkpetizers: Small Mental Bites of Creative Thinking

Dimitris Grammenos (2019) In Proceedings of the FabLearn Europe 2019 Conference (FabLearn Europe '19). ACM, New York, NY, USA, Article 20, 3 pages Download in PDF format

Abstract

A fast-paced hands-on workshop introducing the concept and practice of Thinkpetizers. The workshop presents the underlying philosophy and a ‘recipe’ for successfully creating Thinkpetizers, along with how they used as building blocks for creating multi-hour workshops, sessions and events. The Thinkpetizers support the step that precedes (digital and analogue) fabrication, i.e., coming up with creative and innovative ideas. They can also be used for refreshing one’s mind and creative powers throughout the whole creation process. Furthermore, they can be used in a classroom setting as a means for triggering (creative) thinking and setting the mood for conducting any type of activity, but also as an engaging way for approaching any learning subject. The workshop is targeted to anyone interested in supporting creative thinking in a formal/non-formal/ informal learning environment. Participants will experience a design philosophy, as well as, a series of practical activities and will have a lot of FUN!.
Paper

Procedural Content Generation through Quality-Diversity

Daniele Gravina, Ahmed Khalifa, Antonios Liapis, Julian Togelius, Georgios N. Yannakakis (2019) Proceedings of the IEEE Conference on Games, 2019 Download in PDF format

Abstract

Quality-diversity (QD) algorithms search for a set of good solutions which cover a space as defined by behavior metrics. This simultaneous focus on quality and diversity with explicit metrics sets QD algorithms apart from standard single- and multi-objective evolutionary algorithms, as well as from diversity preservation approaches such as niching. These properties open up new avenues for artificial intelligence in games, in particular for procedural content generation. Creating multiple systematically varying solutions allows new approaches to creative human-AI interaction as well as adaptivity. In the last few years, a handful of applications of QD to procedural content generation and game playing have been proposed; we discuss these and propose challenges for future work.
Paper

Fusing Level and Ruleset Features for Multimodal Learning of Gameplay Outcomes

Antonios Liapis, Daniel Karavolos, Konstantinos Makantasis, Konstantinos Sfikas, Georgios N. Yannakakis (2019) Proceedings of the IEEE Conference on Games, 2019 Download in PDF format

Abstract

There is growing evidence suggesting that subjective values such as emotions are intrinsically relative and that an ordinal approach is beneficial to their annotation and analysis. Ordinal data processing yields more reliable, valid and general predictive models, and preference learning algorithms have shown a strong advantage in deriving computational models from such data. To enable the extensive use of ordinal data processing and preference learning, this paper introduces the Python Preference Learning Toolbox. The toolbox is open source, features popular preference learning algorithms and methods, and is designed to be accessible to a wide audience of researchers and practitioners. The toolbox is evaluated with regards to both the accuracy of its predictive models across two affective datasets and its usability via a user study. Our key findings suggest that the implemented algorithms yield accurate models of affect while its graphical user interface is suitable for both novice and experienced users.
Paper

From Pixels to Affect: A Study on Games and Player Experience

Elizabeth Camilleri, Georgios N. Yannakakis, David Melhart, Antonios Liapis (2019) Proceedings of the International Conference on Affective Computing and Intelligent Interaction, 2019 Download in PDF format

Abstract

There is growing evidence suggesting that subjective values such as emotions are intrinsically relative and that an ordinal approach is beneficial to their annotation and analysis. Ordinal data processing yields more reliable, valid and general predictive models, and preference learning algorithms have shown a strong advantage in deriving computational models from such data. To enable the extensive use of ordinal data processing and preference learning, this paper introduces the Python Preference Learning Toolbox. The toolbox is open source, features popular preference learning algorithms and methods, and is designed to be accessible to a wide audience of researchers and practitioners. The toolbox is evaluated with regards to both the accuracy of its predictive models across two affective datasets and its usability via a user study. Our key findings suggest that the implemented algorithms yield accurate models of affect while its graphical user interface is suitable for both novice and experienced users.
Paper

PAGAN: Video Affect Annotation Made Easy

David Melhart, Antonios Liapis, Georgios N. Yannakakis (2019) In Proceedings of the International Conference on Affective Computing and Intelligent Interaction, 2019 Download in PDF format

Abstract

How could we gather affect annotations in a rapid, unobtrusive, and accessible fashion? How could we still make sure that these annotations are reliable enough for data-hungry affect modelling methods? This paper addresses these questions by introducing PAGAN, an accessible, general-purpose, online platform for crowdsourcing affect labels in videos. The design of PAGAN overcomes the accessibility limitations of existing annotation tools, which often require advanced technical skills or even the on-site involvement of the researcher. Such limitations often yield affective corpora that are restricted in size, scope and use, as the applicability of modern data-demanding machine learning methods is rather limited. The description of PAGAN is accompanied by an exploratory study which compares the reliability of three continuous annotation tools currently supported by the platform. Our key results reveal higher inter-rater agreement when annotation traces are processed in a relative manner and collected via unbounded labelling.
Paper

A Multi-Faceted Surrogate Model for Search-based Procedural Content Generation

Daniel Karavolos, Antonios Liapis, Georgios N. Yannakakis (2019) IEEE Transactions on Games, 1–1 Download in PDF format

Abstract

This paper proposes a framework for the procedural generation of level and ruleset components of games via a surrogate model that assesses their quality and complementarity. The surrogate model combines level and ruleset elements as input and gameplay outcomes as output, thus constructing a mapping between three different facets of games. Using this model as a surrogate for expensive gameplay simulations, a search-based generator can adapt content towards a target gameplay outcome. Using a shooter game as the target domain, this paper explores how parameters of the players’ character classes can be mapped to both the level’s representation and the gameplay outcomes of balance and match duration. The surrogate model is built on a deep learning architecture, trained on a large corpus of randomly generated sets of levels, classes and simulations from gameplaying agents. Results show that a search-based generative approach can adapt character classes, levels, or both towards designerspecified targets. The model can thus act as a design assistant or be integrated in a mixed-initiative tool. Most importantly, the combination of three game facets into the model allows it to identify the synergies between levels, rules and gameplay and orchestrate the generation of the former two towards desired outcomes.