Game For K 12 Education Education Essay

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Our term paper focuses on Game for K12 Education and provides fun and enjoyment. Playing games can improve K12 users brain storming and provide life enjoyable. In this paper, we discuss about different kinds of games, dividing level of age and literature review such as interface issues, requirement specification(User Requirements, Functional Requirements, Non Functional Requirements), and user interface design. In this paper, we also made analysis for different kinds of games from HCI surrounding. Including as well is suitable game design that may increase the usability and adaptability by K12 age group with various games.

1. Introduction

The primary purpose of the game is the entertainment but it is applied in many fields to get more advantages rather than only entertainment. Games can also be important factors of both informal and formal education that is realized by the educators and the many researchers. The fundamental deficiency of the school system is its failure to motivate the youth of the country to want to learn (Gordon, 1970). K 12 education students' academic performance can be enhanced with the use game and that can help to encourage students to learn, help them to understand concepts. In this modern age of computers, computer games have become a major software component. It is argued that children rapidly learn how to operate the computer through exposure to games since they are motivated to do so. In a recent survey, 36% of primary school teachers and 27% of secondary school teachers said that they had used games to teach (Sandford et al, 2006).If this argument is accepted then we have a concrete example of learning through play. Educational games of some types have been in common use for some time, both in classrooms and at home. We can see the benefits in the classroom with stimulating the child through computer game. These papers will emphasis on the video games for the K 12 Education and their user interaction issues of these games.

2. K 12 Education

K 12 Education is the Kindergarten through grade 12 education on the other hand before to the university education. The K 12 education is mostly the public education system that is familiar with most of us. K 12 education is also known as the pre college education. Today, there are also a lot of private education and then online K 12 education as well. K 12 education system is compulsory in the most countries and also differs according to the countries.

3. Educational Game for K 12 Education

3.1. Defining age group for Game for K 12 Education

In the K 12 Education, users are mostly from age 5 minimum to 19 maximum. Thus, we may generally categorize into two groups kids and teens. From kindergarten to grade 7 are mostly the kids' age and other grades in the K 12 Education are teens. We specify the age group generally because age of students in K 12 education may be slightly differ among countries and states. The age groups of K 12 Education are mentioned because background knowledge, their expectation and cognition model of kids and teens are different. Later discussion will be mentioned about the user interface issues and design principles for the children including both kids and teen.

3.2. Platforms and type of the game for K 12 Education

There are different platform for the electronic game such as PC, Console, Cell phone, Hand Held device. All of the platform can support the educational game for K 12 Education. With the PC, kids can play a lot of educational game, brain game by installing the game or in other way via the browser no need to be installed. Popular console game such as Nitendo Wii also support for the educational game for the children but not so much for many games for this educational purpose. Bu t some school use the Wii Fit for the PE class of the K 12 Education. Educational game also provided in the cell phone and hand held device for the children. Cell phone can browse the educational game and also be installed game. Hand Held game like PSP is also one of the platform for the Educational game for K 12 Education students. Among the various platforms, PC game and the cell phone are the most popular platform for the K 12 Education students. Types of the game for K 12 Education are the academic games, brain training games. Academic games are the games for K 12 education learning support games such as math game, science game, history game, geology game, geography game and language game, music and art game according to grades and ages. The brain training game also provide for the intelligent of the K 12 students.

3. Benefits of Game for K 12 education

Results from a number of research studies indicate that appropriately designed multimedia instruction enhances students' learning performance in science, mathematics, and literacy (Gee, 2003).Students prefer problem solving activities rather than the direct application learning. Game can support the expectation of the students. Learning through the game is more effective because game provides not only text it provides also animated picture, sound, color. After teachers are teaching the concepts and theory (example- mathematics), students can progress their advanced concepts and applied the theory through playing the educational game. Educational can provide more motivated for learning. Educational games also provide students to remind and retrieve information which have already learned and also encourage developing the cognitive skill. Video games can promote hand-eye coordination, visual scanning, auditory discrimination, and spatial skills (Johnson, Christie, & Yawkey, 1999; Lisi & Wolford, 2002). Students can improve for the children verbal and communication skill because they have to follow the directions and perform the task during the game. Vocabulary skill of students can be improved by the words game and the words in the word game are more likely to remember than those learned in classroom. Math skills is the most effective one from playing game because children have to make a lot of calculation while playing game at least they have to calculate the amount of time needed to complete the process. They can also learn to estimate and use time effectively.

4. Interaction Issue of Game for K 12 education

There is need to be considered the children's and teenager's abilities and limitations when designing the educational game. Especially cognitive and perceptual are more appropriate with the design. According to (Shneiderman 1998), humans have serious limitations when it comes to information processing and other tasks such as decision making, searching and scanning. The theoretical and practical background can get from these fields of cognitive psychology and ergonomics on this matter. Research in those fields has given useful knowledge that can be used in practice, for instance knowledge about short and long term memory can directly be used to improve learnability of systems.

For the better interaction between the games and the children, usability issue is the most critical part needed to be considered. We can define the game usability as the degree to which a player can learn, control and understand a game. The usability of the game should cover the game controls and interface from which player interacts with the game. Moreover, the interface of the game ought to allow the player to control the game fluently and display all necessary information about the game status and possible actions. The game user interface is the first thing a player encounters when starting to play a new game. So, it is ensure that player will be looking forward another enjoyable play session because of good game usability. According to the study of usability assessment for educational game, 80 percent of users believed that game usability is primarily in the field of interface.

4.1. Design Principles

When considering the interaction issues of the educational game for the K 12 Education, we need to take into account the principles supporting usability. Dix (Dix, Abowd, Beale, and Finlay 1998) summarizes the principles supporting usability divided into three main categories such as Learnability, Flexibility and Robustness.

4.1.1. Learnability

Learnability is defined as the ease with which new or occasional users may accomplish some task using the interface. It is commonly measured by the number of trails, that a new user needs to complete a task without being trained (Lingaard, 1994). Learnability is important when designing for the children and teenagers because it is required to be able to begin effective interaction and to achieve maximum performance. Since children can be assumed novice users, the game interface should be simple and the features which included in the game should be able to learn by children quickly. Every level in the whole game has better consistent and only the difficulty will increase so that the player will easily recognized the game play and recall it. It also some highlights issue wth regard to the use of concepts, terms, and text, phrase should be familiar with children's and teenager's knowledge and experience when interacting with the new system. Instead of using the buttons like a common application, we better use 'button-less' interface in the games for the children's education. So, the screen needs to be designed that the object are clickable. Another issue is friendliness and familiarity of the interface and the game-play. Because of having limited knowledge and experience, the familiarity of the game helps the children and the teens to do better and they will be more interested in it since the characters can be seen around them easily (such as chicken, Mickey mouse).

4.1.2. Flexibility

Being an educational game for children and teens, flexibility is also a major role to be considered when designing for it. Starting from command inputting to the graphics display, flexibility contribute the friendliness and simplicity and ease of use among the game and the player. For inputting command, the game should support alternative ways such as keyboard or mouse (for PC games) and control pad or infrared gun (for Wii shooting game). For the display, the game interface should be able to change according to what player want. As another issue, game should be multimedia supported so that it will attract the children and teen with its graphics, sound effects, vibrations, and some background videos or flashes.

For instance, even for the mathematics games for 5 to 8 years old children, the symbols and images should be used rather than the plain text and numbers in order to be helpful in learning the subject. Basically, for the teens, they usually like the freedom so the interface for them should be consider differently. The educational game should contain less rules or constraints and it should represent freedom for both children and teenagers. Hints are also important for the flexibility of the interface because it will help the children to know how to play the game. We can also use dialogues to display the result, hall of fame, and top ten in the playing history. That will make the children become more competitive and will try to be better in the particular game as well as in the particular related subject.

4.1.3. Robustness

The effectiveness of interaction can be measured by how robust it is. The educational game should allow displaying the information of the game status and information of the player when it is required or requested. For example, the children and teenage can check what level they are and which is the next task to do and what is the game status. The game should also allow the children to recover or restart from the last checkpoint or level either if they fail in certain level or if they prefer to do so. So they can ignore the all of the finished previous parts of the game before the checkpoint. Another alternative way is to support the save and load feature which are currently used widely by most of the games nowadays. The advantage of the feature is the children can play the game everyday starting from the point which is saved as the last point for the previous day, by loading the data. Moreover, the message dialogues should be used in educational game. For instance, if the children made the wrong action, the information message dialogue should be displayed in order to get more interaction between game and children or teenagers.

5. Design for K12 Education Game

5.1. Requirement Specification

User Requirements 

Good user requirements are needed for every project, especially computer system projects like game projects, to be successful. For game interfaces, there is some different with others. Following are the some considerations for designing game interfaces in terms of user requirement:


For Player vision, the developer should avoid using complex color and complicated animation. Then best color contrast is recommended and large font size needs to be required.


For Player Hearing, the developer need to be careful to reduce loud background noise, player can be disrupted when playing game. Then less use of high frequency stimuli and the speed of verbal flow has to be adjusted for game players.


For Attention, operation commands need to be minimum and stating clear instructions are recommended for all game players.

Touch and Movement

For Touch and Movement, the developer must avoid movement speed so fast. Next consideration is taking into account the difficulties of using interface, scroll bar, keyboard and mouse and also using single click is better than double click event.

Functional Requirements

Functional requirements means to be done by identifying a function of a software system or its component and what a system should be able to do the functions it should perform. Then it has to be done by defining the necessary task, action or activity that must be accomplished. Functional requirement is the plan which is detailed in the system design for implementing functional requirements. For example, games are challenging, they typically include competition (both against a human opponent and a computer generated one). They are often story-based, include compelling characters and they keep scores. Which, if any, of these features are essential to learning still remains to be answered.

Non-functional Requirements

Requirement that specifies criteria that can be used to judge the operation of a system, rather than specific behaviors. Non Functional Requirements is the plan which is detailed in the system architecture for implementing non functional requirements. Game System need to be quick response time, utilization, throughput and static volumetric for performance requirements. The average response time between click and reaction should be less than 0.5 seconds for game interfaces. For usability issues, user interface must be simple and better if without scroll bars because most of the game players don't want to use scroll bar when play game and it's not suitable for game interfaces and interfaces should be appeared with the whole screen. Then, the total number of clicks for any function should not exceed five clicks for maximum because the interface will be more convenient for game players.

5.2. User Interface Design

The User Interface of a system is critical to the success of a system. It's also important to consider how to build user friendly human computer interface that is more effective for all users. The interface design should reduce human errors. The goal of user interface design is to make the user's interaction as simple and efficient as possible. In our system, we try our best to give simple and easy to use user interface in every game interfaces because there are different kinds of users and groups of age to play game with different kinds of levels in computer knowledge and experience. There are four main types of users: novice, casual, skilled and expert. Novice users are those who have no knowledge any computers systems. Casual users are those who have little semantic knowledge of the application or computer usage in general but not have the exact syntactic knowledge of the system. The skilled users are also call intermittent users. They have a reasonable semantic knowledge of the application but not relatively low recall of syntactic information necessary to use the interface. Expert users have a profound grasp of how the system is constructed and how it operates. So before designing any kinds of screen or interface, we focus on the following factors first:

Who is going to use the screen and system?

Will be using more than one type of user?

Main purpose of the screen.

Level of user intelligence to play game.

Identify audio, vision, effects or animation for K12 game players.

Response time required.

Another consideration for user interface design is that groups of age may also decline in auditory abilities. For audio signals, lower frequency tones in the range of 500-1000 Hz are generally better to hear for increased age.

6. User tasks and motivation

When implementing game for the K 12 Education, how to make easy performing task by the user and the motivation factors should be considered. Successful learning occurs when learners are able to suspend disbelief and interact with an application on a physical and psychological level without distraction (Laurel 1991; Low 1994). Ideally, the interface should be transparent, allowing the users to focus completely on accomplishing their goal (Heidegger 1986). User cannot be trouble physically or psychologically with the task of the game. Every user want to complete the task to satisfy their goal while interaction with the interface. But playing game user goals are already specified or in other terms already guided, user can be seen clearly in the interface screen mostly game. Thus user can performed task to get goal clearly. The resulting concern for game design is to convey the goal to the user in a clear and straightforward way (Pagulayan, R. J., Keeker, K., Wixon, D., Romero, R., & Fuller, T). And then to provide the user task clearly another researcher says that the user who is "reading to learn to do" is best supported by minimalist instructions, an introduction to basic concepts, and just-in-time instructions at the point of use (Carroll 1990). User can perform their task because providing instruction. Some also provide not only visual but also narrative. Game may also differ from the age group or grades of K 12 education but they will provide the suitable goal and the suitable instruction will provide to optimize the user tasks in playing the education game and goal orientation game also support for the motivation.

Oblinger (2004) says: Games also offer advantages in terms of motivation. Often times students are motivated to learn material (e.g., mythology or math) when it is required for successful game play - that same material might otherwise be considered tedious. (Oblinger, p 13). Game based on the education purpose or to learn purpose need to motivate to get the success. Academic virtual games and simulations however do benefit from incorporating intrinsic and extrinsic motivational factors in order to maximize learner involvement and satisfaction (Warren, S, 2008). This two main motivate factors, extrinsic and intrinsic are important also in the education. Extrinsic or external motivation factor depends on the reward and positive like feedback from the instructor's remark "very good" in the homework paper. intrinsic one depends on human beings' interests and challenges: tasks and trials are taken for their own sake (Deci & Ryan,1985). This intrinsic motivation is last long motivation because internal desire is more concrete. Thus in human computer action intrinsic motivation factor is more interested in the human computer interaction area. For the academic game, George D. Konetes (2010) stated that successful academic games and simulations should create an intrinsic desire within the learner to participate in and accomplish the tasks given in order to fully engage the student and maximize the educational potential of the exercise.

7. Analysis of game for K 12 Education in HCI perspectives

7.1. Educational PC/online game

Math Popper game

Math popper game is math game for the children to improve the math skill of the children. This game is especially intended for the young kids. This is online game and provide for improving kids interest mathematical calculation. User has to calculate and choose the result among the balloon while popping up. There is also time limit and level progressing.

HCI issues on Math popper game

In this type of the online game, user can easily find online and also have the a lot of free game supporting for the children education. In this game children use calculate by their brain and find the result while the balloon are popping up. So children have to process their brain and then immediately process their visual to find the balloons. Young learners respond well to the familiarity of concrete rather than abstract situations, and to extensive motor involvement in learning. J. Brewster, G. Ellis and D. Girard stated that the younger the child the greater the reliance on large, familiar graphics, clear, recognizable sounds, simple movements, attractive colors, etc (M.A. Paín, P. Edwards, E.M. Domínguez and P. Reyes, 2009). In this online game also consider above mentioned statement because they used only large font to express the calculation statement, use colorful balloons for the answer and movement is also easy for playing. Also important things to avoid the confuse design while creating the attractive visuals design. Successful completion of the game results in an audio-visual message providing feedback. A good game is a job well done and the child is alerted to this fact accordingly (M.A. Paín, P. Edwards, E.M. Domínguez and P. Reyes) see in figure.

7.2. Educational Console Game

Science Papa Wii game

The Science Papa Educational Game for Wii is intended for older kids and above who are interesting science experiments. It has fun learning games for the physics, chemistry and biology and over 30 different experiments. It can be played using motion control and player can pour and mix chemicals, pound objects into dust. Player is getting familiar with lab equipments. Functionality in this game of the player can compete with other player in split screen for who will make an experiment precisely and finish an experiment first.

HCI issues on Science Papa Game

Tangible approaches to interactive learning may make abstract concepts more concrete and easier to manipulate. It is also argued that since tangible objects simultaneously work as input and output devices, they provide a tighter connection between control and the representation of the underlying computation (Ullmer and Ishii, 2001). Student can learn laboratory experiment as a real experiment while using the wii remote which is tangible approach. Interface is really same with the laboratory because it supports the visual reality of the laboratory and the experiments. Also provide the challenging with the other player and performing the laboratory task within time constraints. Need to control the precision for the laboratory experiment. Users can follow instructions which are clear-cut and hence, the chance of making error is lower.The user interface can support the accuracy of interaction from the users. (Knopfle, 2003). This wii game need to physically interact with the system thus interface show the accuracy according to the physical movement. For example, while pouring the liquid into the flask, interface provides status bar how liquid are already filled up. This kind of educational game is highly motivated because tasks of game are performed by the actual physical movement. It is simple to start game and take a little bit time to improve because balancing and justifying between the wii control and the physical movement. But anyone can follow the instruction on the screen and hold the control on hand can play the game thus learnability is quite good.

7.3. Educational mobile game

Lola's Alphabet Game on Iphone and Ipad

This alphabet game is for young learner to learn the alphabets in fun way and also provides for four languages (English, French, Spanish and Germen).

HCI issues on the Lola's Alphabet Game

This game suite for younger children who start learning the alphabets and have to listen the spleeing of the word and drag and drop the words also improve the their visual and auditory skill. Games have to spark the children's attention with a range of user-friendly elements, and then apply them in order to touch base with their specific needs and preferences (M.A. Paín, P. Edwards, E.M. Domínguez and P. Reyes, 2009). This is also touch game and display in small screen thus not much graphics cannot displayed for the children game. Price et al. report that interaction with tangibles encourages engagement, excitement and collaboration in 2003. Children can fun with tangible media. Another interaction issues noted in this game is warning signal, when player make wrong decisions, game displays "Oh No" Message see in Figure. Warning signal is more suitable for young user.

8. Conclusion

Video and computer games play an integral part in the lives of many children. Education is the specific for the children. Today educational games are combined with the various with the interactive media devices. And the Human Interaction Issues of the educational game for different platforms are different. Online education games are rapidly emerged for the different ages especially for the children education. This paper also consider on the different children's interaction game and also on the different interactive media. Mostly Human Interaction issues can apply to the educational game for the K 12 education children. In this kind game, also need to differ from age group among the K 12 education.


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