Below you can find details and slides from the past presentations and workshops given by iRead project members.

2019

What’s Missing: The Role of Instructional Design in Children’s Games-Based Learning

Co-authors:IMG-20190507-WA0006

  • Laura Benton (UCL Knowledge Lab)
  • Mina Vasalou (UCL Knowledge Lab)
  • Wolmet Barendregt (University of Gothenburg)
  • Leona Bunting (University of Gothenburg)
  • Andrea Révész (UCL Applied Linguistics)

Abstract: Learning games that address targeted curriculum areas are widely used in schools. Within games, productive learning episodes can result from breakdowns when followed by a breakthrough, yet their role in children’s learning has not been investigated. This paper examines the role of game and instructional design during and after breakdowns. We observed 26 young children playing several popular learn- ing games and conducted a moment-by-moment analysis of breakdown episodes. Our findings show children achieve productive breakthroughs independently less than half of the time. In particular, breakdowns caused by game actions are difficult for children to overcome independently and prevent engagement with the domain skills. Importantly, we identify specific instructional game components and their role in fostering strategies that result in successful breakthroughs. We conclude with intrinsic and extrinsic instructional design implications for both game designers and primary teachers to better enable children’s games-based learning.

2019 CHI Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems, Glasgow, UK, 6th May 2019


Designing a comprehensive evaluation method for learning games – a general approach with specific application to iRead

Co-authors:UB and DHBW GameFIN presentation 2

  • Kay Berkling (DHBW)
  • Roger Gilabert Guerrero (University of Barcelona)

Abstract: The iRead project is developed by a Europe-wide consortium. It con- tains games that support reading acquisition for elementary school children in both L1 and L2 contexts. It is of interest to understand child motivation during the use of the games. In order to plan for the evaluation, the games are analyzed with respect to frameworks that are presented in the literature. To concentrate on the motivational aspects, needs are derived from a spectrum of psychological and learning theories. In addition, a model of motivation in work environments can be used as a foundation to relate game design elements to a larger psychological framework. The resulting analysis should provide a general guideline on how to evaluate game design decisions with respect to motivation. It will serve the project as a first step towards evaluating iRead games when they are deployed in the classroom.

GameFIN Conference 2019, Levi, Finland, April 8-10 2019


Towards personalised reading games for primary school children: the role of adaptivity and learning analytics

Presenters:Picture2

  • Manolis Mavrikis (UCL Knowledge Lab)
  • Yvonne Vezzoli (UCL Psychology and Human Development)

Abstract: While the majority of research in AIED has focused on very granular domain model representations and adaptive tutoring for STEM subjects, there is a sparsity of work in adaptive approaches for language learning. Despite a recent proliferation of game-based language learning for early years, most approaches utilise a static representation of the linguistic content, aiming to address the needs of a few classes of prototypical users through high-level profiling. In this talk, we will present two interrelated strands in progress in the EU-funded iread project which is developing and evaluating personalised reading games for primary school children. First, we will describe the process used to discover, discuss and iterate with the help of experts a set of rules that inform the selection of the domain model features, the game content and its mechanics, as well as the underlying mechanism for estimating student ‘mastery’. Second, we will outline our participatory design process towards learning analytics tools that support teachers in design, planning and assessment activities.

Birkbeck University of London Knowledge Lab Seminar Series, March 27 2019

2018

The iRead Apps: Personalised Reading Technologies for Children

Presenter:eln-app-stand-presentation.jpg

  • Laura Benton (UCL Knowledge Lab)

Abstract: The iRead project is developing an open, scalable cloud-based software infrastructure to help new app developers personalise learning for children’s reading skills acquisition in four different languages (English, Greek, Spanish and German) and for three different learner groups (early readers, children with dyslexia and children learning English as a foreign language). Also available to EdTech companies, this infrastructure is being used by the iRead team to develop and evaluate several new innovations, including a literacy game that teaches children foundational reading skills and enables them to practice reading in words and sentences, an e-reader that scaffolds children’s engagement with longer passages, e-books dynamically generated on the fly based on a child’s profile, and a content recommender system that matches books to a child’s skills. This demo will showcase the current versions of our literacy game and e-reader apps which we will be shortly be piloting with 3000+ children across Europe.

European Literacy Network 1st Literacy Summit, Porto (Portugal), 3 November 2018


Opening up the opportunity spaces for learning analytics design

Presenter: Yvonne_pres2

  • Yvonne Vezzoli (UCL Psychology and Human Development)

Abstract: Learning Analytics (LA) tools have been defined as the “measurement, collection, analysis and reporting of data about learners and their contexts, for purposes of understanding and optimizing learning and the environments in which it occurs” (LAK 2011, call for papers). The development of such tools has followed from the growing recognition that learning with technology is most likely to occur with appropriate teaching and scaffolding. Accordingly, it has been argued that the data provided through LA tools can raise teachers’ awareness and reflection, informing their decision-making and consequent behaviors in classroom contexts.

LA digital tools typically allow the tracking of students’ progress, the class’ workflow and support class management. Research on LA has chiefly focused on enhancing the effectiveness of teachers’ orchestration of the classroom and its
inevitable variability and complexity. Despite the pedagogical aspirations of such tools, however, the central role of data science in the context of LA has meant that researchers have often focused on the necessary algorithms involved in operationalizing LA as opposed to understanding the pedagogical needs that these algorithms should serve. When the teacher perspective has been recognized, this has tended to come at the end of the design process, for instance involving teachers to understand how existing LA tools can be effectively used, rather than defining the initial design agenda with them.

Participatory Design (PD) methods traditionally involve end users in the design process form the early stages. PD sessions involve a dialogic and collaborative process whereby end users play an important role in sharing expertise and local knowledge, and designers mediate and scaffold the process of crafting new possibilities for alternative futures that oscillate between “tradition” on the one end (i.e., design supporting current practices and needs) and “transcendence” on the other (i.e., design generating new critical possibilities that challenge the status quo). Using a learning game for early literacy called Navigo as a case study, we applied a participatory approach to the design of the LA tools that will support teachers’ future use of the games. Our work aimed to explore how teachers interpreted the opportunities offered by LA for their teaching activities, and what forms of “transcendence” teachers envisioned in the LA possibilities.

After a brief presentation of the EU H2020-funded project iRead (https://iread-project.eu), the talk will discuss LA and their methods from a design point of view. Then, it will present the results of the empirical study, with particular attention to the pedagogical and methodological implications.

University of Padova (Italy) Department of Psychology Seminar Series, 8th October 2018


The iRead Project: Designing an engaging, multi-lingual, personalized and adaptive reading game for children

Presenters:Sussex_seminar

  • Mina Vasalou (UCL Knowledge Lab)
  • Laura Benton (UCL Knowledge Lab)

Abstract: Recent years have seen a growth in the learning games market and the inclusion of games within formal education is becoming commonplace, with many games prioritising the teaching of curriculum subjects such as literacy and numeracy. However, many existing learning games reflect the challenges designers face in effectively marrying both good game design and pedagogy. This talk presents an approach to the design of a reading game (Navigo) aimed at primary school pupils. The Navigo game forms part of the iRead Project which is focused on developing personalised learning technologies for young novice readers across four languages as well as older readers with dyslexia or who are learning English as a foreign language.

During this seminar Dr Mina Vasalou and Dr Laura Benton (UCL Knowledge Lab) will focus on the different design challenges they faced in building such a large-scale complex learning game. They will also present and discuss the novel approach to specifying the learning activities and content selection within the game that was developed in attempt to address some of these challenges.

University of Sussex Department of Informatics Seminar Series, 9th October 2018


Tablet-based Reading Games for Dyslexia in the Primary Classroom – a workshop for primary teachers

Learnus Workshop 2

Facilitators:

  • Laura Benton (UCL Knowledge Lab)
  • Mina Vasalou (UCL Knowledge Lab)
  • Emma Sumner (UCL Psychology and Human Development)
  • Liz Herbert (UCL Psychology and Human Development)
  • Manolis Mavrikis (UCL)
  • Caroline Shott (Learnus)

Abstract: Recent years have seen a huge growth in the educational games market and the inclusion of games within formal education is becoming commonplace. Consequentially teachers looking to integrate these games into their classrooms are faced with a vast number of options often with little guidance or support to help them decide which games will be the best fit with their own teaching practices.

This workshop, led by Dr Mina Vasalou and Dr Laura Benton (UCL Knowledge Lab), presented a critical evidence-based approach to evaluating reading games developed as part of a research study undertaken by the iRead Project. During the workshops participants had the opportunity to share their own experiences using games with pupils with dyslexia as well as trial, evaluate and discuss several commercial reading games for themselves using the iRead analytic framework. They also heard about the findings from the iRead study and the upcoming school pilot.

The workshop was primarily aimed at primary teachers but we also welcomed academics and others working in this area as well as educational game designers or developers.


Verktyg för individuellt lärande av engelska på läsplattan: testa iRead!

Presenters:popupdig18 1

  • Ylva Hård af Segerstad (University of Gothenburg)
  • Leona Johansson Bunting (University of Gothenburg)
  • Wolmet Barendregt (University of Gothenburg)

#PopUpDig – Conference on the Digitalisation of Schools, 19th June 2018


Designing an engaging, multi-lingual, personalised and adaptive reading game for children

Presenters:ucl-kl-seminar-2.jpeg

  • Laura Benton (UCL)
  • Drew Wilkins (Fish in a Bottle)

Abstract: Recent years have seen a growth in the learning games market, projected to reach $4.8M within the next two years. The inclusion of games within formal education is becoming commonplace, with many games prioritising the teaching of curriculum subjects such as literacy and numeracy.

However, many existing learning games reflect the challenges designers face in effectively marrying both good game design and pedagogy. This talk presents an approach to the design of a reading game (Navi Go) aimed at primary school pupils.

The Navi Go game forms part of the iRead Project which is focused on developing personalised learning technologies for young novice readers across four languages as well as older readers with dyslexia or learning English as a foreign language.

Dr Laura Benton (UCL Knowledge Lab) and Drew Wilkins (Fish in a Bottle) discuss the different pedagogical, interaction and technical design challenges faced in developing such a large-scale complex learning game, sharing the strategies that were devised to address each of these challenges.

UCL Knowledge Lab Seminar Series, London, UK, 12 June 2018

Watch the seminar recording here: https://mediacentral.ucl.ac.uk/Play/12716


The effect of syntactic complexity on sentence processing by children with reading difficulties and beginning readers

Presenters:

  • Maria Mastropavlou (University of Ioannina)
  • Michaela Nerantzini (University of Ioannina)
  • Theophany Christou (University of Ioannina)
  • Marika Lekakou (University of Ioannina)

Language Disorders in Greek 7, Athens, 2-3 June 2018


Spel för att lära sig engelska

Presenters:UGOT Science Festival 3

  • Wolmet Barendregt (University of Gothenburg)
  • Ylva Hård af Segerstad (University of Gothenburg)
  • Leona Bunting (University of Gothenburg)

The International Science Festival Gothenburg – School Program, 18th and 27th April 2018


A Critical Examination of Feedback in Early Reading Games

Co-Authors:chi2018_lb2

  • Laura Benton (UCL)
  • Mina Vasalou (UCL)
  • Kay Berkling (DHBW)
  • Wolmet Barendregt (University of Gothenburg)
  • Manolis Mavrikis (UCL)

Abstract: Learning games now play a role in both formal and informal learning, including foundational skills such as literacy. Mina Lincoln.png
While feedback is recognised as a key pedagogical dimension of these games, particularly in early learning, there has been no research on how commercial games available to schools and parents reify learning theory into feedback.
Using a systematic content analysis, we examine how evidence-based feedback principles manifest in five widely-used learning games designed to foster young children’s reading skills. Our findings highlight strengths in how games deliver feedback when players succeed. Many of the games, however, were inconsistent and not proactive when providing error feedback, often promoting trial and error strategies. Furthermore, there was a lack of support for learning the game mechanics and a preference for task-oriented rewards less deeply embedded in the gameplay. Our research provides a design and research agenda for the inclusion of feedback in early learning games.

University of Lincoln Games Research Network, 23rd May 2018

2018 CHI Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems, Montreal, Canada, 24th April 2018

2017

“Yay, you got it right” : Challenging the reliance on verification feedback on games-based learning

Presenters:

Leeds Presentation

  • Mina Vasalou (UCL)
  • Laura Benton (UCL)

University of Birmingham HCI Seminar Series, 27 September 2017

University of Leeds School of Education Research Seminar, 15 November 2017

Abstract: Games-based learning (GBL) is often endorsed for the ability to deliver in-the-moment pedagogical feedback. Feedback is one of the most powerful pedagogical interventions for raising student achievement. Yet, the literature shows that its impact highly depends on how it is delivered, an observation that extends to GBL and how games are designed.

In this talk we will focus on games for early literacy learning targeted at young or struggling learners. We will report on a recent empirical study of a literacy game developed as part of the iLearnRW project, that employed verification feedback informing the player about whether they succeeded or failed. We focus on the social interaction around the game to show how children drew on different forms of support and which support was most effective. Building on this we will also present initial findings from our current work on the iRead project, in which we have undertaken an analysis of the approach to feedback design taken by existing popular commercial literacy games, and through which we identify new opportunities for design and research.


Gamification in the Classroom

Presenters:PLN

  • Mina Vasalou (UCL)
  • Laura Benton (UCL)

UCL Centre for Inclusive Education Professional Learning Network in Specific Learning Difficulties, 4 July 2017 


iRead: individualiserade och intelligenta teknologier för lästräning

Presenters:

  • Wolmet Barendregt (University of Gothenburg)
  • Ylva Hård af Segerstad (University of Gothenburg)
  • Leona Bunting (University of Gothenburg)

PopUpDig 2017


Introduction to iRead

Presenter:

  • Mina Vasalou (UCL)

H2020 Networking Event on Learning, Multilingualism and Accessibility, Luxembourg, 27th March 2017

COST Action Meeting for Literacy, Zagreb, Croatia, 30th March 2017