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Unhealthy eating behavior can cause obesity disease. This disease can occur both in children and adult. Obesity in children or childhood obesity is an energy imbalance between calories consumed and calories expended. Unhealthy lifestyle during childhood can be causes disability in adulthood and diabetes.
The prevalence of overweight children around the world has increased dramatically in recent years. In 2010 the number of overweight children under the age of five, is estimated to be over 42 million. Close to 35 million of these are living in developing countries (WHO, 2011). WHO recognizes that the increasing prevalence of childhood obesity results from changes in society. Childhood obesity is mainly associated with unhealthy eating and low levels of physical activity.
Children and game is always something together. Educational games "are games designed with specific curriculum objectives in mind" (Royle, 2008) often games that have been used in education have been developed to support the practice of factual information. Educational game might be the most suitable game for the pre-school children which bring knowledge to the children. Computer-based education games are the combination of education and entertainment and imitate the real-life environment.
Game based learning (GBL) is remains one of the most effective teaching strategies to promote learning. Among all application software, computer games are having a shorter learning curve. If used effectively in a coherent and relevant way, GBL can support both the option of more choice for how the learner can learn as well as offering the potential for personalizing the learning experience (Sugimoto, 2007).
Overweight and obesity is an emerging problem among children worldwide. In Thailand, the prevalence of obesity in 5-to-12 year olds children rose from12.2% to 15.6% in just two years (Rerkuppaphol, 2010).
To prevent childhood obesity is not very difficult. The children must consume healthy food, especially the pre-school children in the age 3-7 years old they may not know what they should eat or should not because of their inadequate ability has limited and lack of experience (Zhang, 2009).
This study aims to answer the following questions:
Do children learn about healthy food and nutrition?
Is children has ability to remember the healthy food after playing game-based learning courseware?
The main objective is to develop an interactive game based learning courseware about healthy eating. To achieve this objective, the following sub-objectives have been identified:
To provide knowledge about food nutrients to children.
To evaluate learning ability of children after playing healthy eating game-based courseware.
This GBL product is developing for pre-school children in kindergarten, Thailand. The name of courseware is Happy Healthy Meal. It is about teaching children what healthy foods are. Before children start the game, they will learn nutrition of each food. Each food will represent nutrition to help student easier to understand. There are 2 main menus for this courseware.
First menu is the introducing food that will be used in the game. It will teach children learn about healthy food and nutrition. It will show the image and nutrition of each food in text. After finish all the food introduction, it will back to the main menu.
Second is the game menu where the children will start to play game here. It will provide instruction how to play before children start to play. This product use food as a main object. In this game, healthy food and unhealthy food will drop from the top. The children need to click on healthy food only before it gone. There is a boy as main character. If the children click on unhealthy food, the character will be getting fat till game is over. But if the children on the healthy food, the character will be healthier like red cheek, smiling, jumping. The status of character can encourage children learning actively. (Zhang, 2009)
This product is deliverable in CD and will be delivering in Thai language.
6.1 Game-based learning
In this literature will show how GBL can attract children. Rieber (2005) indicates "learning is believed to be achieved through active engagement in which the teacher provides support, resources and encouragement". Normally, students show their engagement in playing complex computer games much more than they show in their school work.
Prensky (2005) said that in order to make learning occur, educators must first motivate and engage student in their learning activities. For engagement to occur, educator must create an environment that encourages student-teacher contact, cooperation among students and active participants between.
Regarding the difference in engagement, the factor between media and GBL environments is the integration of the game features. Hence, the purpose of this GBL is also to investigate if a game is a better approach for motivating the interest learning than other multimedia function alone. Computer games provide a good environment for learning. The theories of learning are behavioral learning theory, cognitive learning theory and motivation theory (Sugimoto, 2007).
6.2 Educational game design
Cordova et al. (1996) have shown that enhanced learning which is fun can be more effective. Using some simple educational tasks, they demonstrated that learning embedded in a motivating setting improved learning outcomes and that engagement can facilitate learning. Learning occurs when the learner is mentally involved and actively interacts within the game, where a balance of challenge and possible courses of action is provided.
According to Alessi &Trollip (1991) educational game can be divided into three main parts such as the introduction, the body of the game and the conclusion. Figure 6.1 show these parts.
Figure 6.1: The general structure and flow of the games
Game in Health care
Game for health care is the games that move beyond the educational phase to the longer-term support of children with chronic condition. Games can use to motivate the children by "reinforcing healthy choices, reminding of treatment specifics, distracting their attention, and maintaining more complete health status and treatment record" (Watters et al., 2006).
Pollak et al. (2010) had developed a game "Time To Eat" a mobile phone based intended to improve teen eating behavior. They designed the game like virtual-pet care. The game focuses on pet care as part of a child's daily routine, which fits well with behavior change models in which repeated reinforcement.
Watter et al., (2006) has developed the long term treatment game. The player will have own pet that kept in the backpack. If the player neglects to take care of the pet at appropriate times during the day the pet begins to look ill. The food choice is presented during the play of this game to feed the pet become health.
Methodology describes the phases involved in developing the games based learning. There are more than 100 different ISD models, but almost all are based on the generic "ADDIE" model, which stands for Analysis, Design, Development, Implementation, and Evaluation, as illustrated in the Figure below. Each step has an outcome that feeds the subsequent step. Figure7.1 shows the ADDIE process.
Figure 7.1: ADDIE Model
The Analysis phase is the most important phase in the ADDIE model. It identifies areas pre-school children needing to learn about this product, constraints exists, when this project will be completed and what will pre-school children do to determine their competency. Developer will examine the goals and objective of the presentation and the nature of participants to try to determine the appropriateness of the instructional design.
The Design phase is concerned with subject matter analysis, game planning and media selection. It also involves designing detailed storyboards to facilitate the media development and content integration. The user interface is an important component and is the main link between the pre-school children and the learning courseware. In this phase, all the results from the analysis phase to create a blueprint for instruction.
In this phase, all audio, image, and nutrition content are collected, prepared, created and ready to be tested. Adobe Flash CS3 will use to create animation and make the game look interactive. Sound Forge will use as audio tools. The content development team develops instructional media based on the outcomes of the design phase.
The implementation phase consists the testing of the project with the pre-school children. The children will use Graphical User Interface (GUI) to take part in training instruction. As we know, new product usually represents a departure from the way business is currently done.
Evaluation phase the children and the instructional system are investigate to decide whether revisions are necessary or not. This phase include children and teacher provide feedback on the effectiveness of the games.
Using GBL can give big impact because these games differ from another game in the market. Furthermore, this is a way to create something that is impressive enough for people to stand up and take notice of GBL product.
Teaching using GBL technique can help teacher especially to attract children because this GBL product was apply multimedia element by using 2 Dimension (2D) and audio.
This courseware might encourage the teachers and parents to improvise their ICT skills and hands-on learning as a learning tool.