Shapies AR is an augmented reality educational game designed to be used in primary schools by children and teachers. The game allows children to immerse themselves in augmented reality and discover topics related to technology and some concepts related to computational thinking through the gameplay. Teachers can use the application to support their lessons on technology, introducing interesting topics in line with today’s society. The topics can be introduced in different school subjects and the game integrates into the teaching with the possibility to create specific learning activities. Augmented reality is a cutting-edge technology that allows digital content to interact with the real world and create unique experiences for children, who can immerse themselves in the discovery of an augmented digital world. The game is composed of chapters, each of which deals with different topics, for each chapter there are different levels to play in multiplayer mode with classmates. Within the game the child will have the task of giving instructions to his character to get him to the destination by overcoming obstacles and collaborating with other players in the same level in a collaborative way. Technology is in the daily life of all individuals and computational thinking is part of the capabilities of the twenty-first century that will help young people in the future to exploit technology to their advantage in both professional and everyday life. It is therefore important that schools and teachers are ready to educate the new citizens of the future, and to do so they need tools at their disposal. Shapies AR is therefore not just a game, but a tool for teachers to bring the educational sector up to date with the new digital society by offering new experiences and creating interactive lessons.
Interface and Interaction modality
The interface of the game mainly consists of a panel from which you can choose the instructions to be placed in the game through the buttons, you select the direction in which you want to move the character and click on the screen to place the plate. Once the instructions are placed you can start moving the character with a play button and stop him with the pause button. The interface also includes a part of settings where you can reset the game, choose two modes according to the size of the place of play and reposition the character.
The game has been designed with the aim of integrating computational thinking within an immersive experience designed to deal with educational topics and suitable for the school sector using contemporary technology. The interaction has been designed so that the child does not need to take his or her hands off the screen and therefore risks dropping the device. An attempt was made to create a simple interface and design the game content in a flexible way suitable for different environments.
The application was developed entirely with Unity, a video game development software. It was used in particular ARFoundation and Unity MARS for the realization of the prototype. The game is developed for IOS and can be played with an Ipad with ARKit installed.
Research and Development context
Shapies AR is designed to be used in schools, but can also be easily adapted for the private sector and be played freely at home. In the future it will certainly be important to develop a collaboration with teachers and schools to be able to be adapted to the school curriculum and to generate different types of content related to the world of technology and computational thinking.