Design and Evaluation of Tamhattan: A Multimodal Game Promoting Awareness of Health in a Social and Positive Way

Design and Evaluation of Tamhattan: A Multimodal Game Promoting Awareness of Health in a Social and Positive Way

Roope Raisamo (University of Tampere, Finland), Sari Walldén (University of Tampere, Finland), Katja Suhonen (Tampere University of Technology, Finland), Kalle Myllymaa (University of Tampere, Finland), Susanna Raisamo (University of Tampere, Finland) and Kimmo Vänni (Tampere University of Applied Sciences, Finland)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-4666-0149-9.ch005

Abstract

Progress in the field of human-technology interaction offers interesting possibilities to promote health through gaming. The authors’ objective was to carry out user-centered research to develop an interactive game called Tamhattan that was designed to promote health awareness of adolescents. The interactive gaming environment enables gaming in both mobile and PC contexts with games based on health knowledge. The platform supports socially networked gaming and learning. It enables input with game controls, positioning (GPS), and gestures, as well as multimodal feedback through visual and auditive modalities. The research started with a survey of the health issues that should be addressed in the games. Adolescents were engaged in design and testing of the games throughout the process. Finally, the gaming environment was used in actual teaching contexts in local schools. The results of these user and gaming experience studies are presented and discussed.
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Background

Health of adolescents is determined by individual and social factors. An individual behavior is determined to a large extent by social environment, for example, community norms and values. Yet, research on determinants of adolescents’ health and health behaviors has mainly focused on the individual level factors (for example, self-rated health, smoking, physical activity and diagnosed chronic diseases). Results from the Finnish adolescent health surveillance studies show that the majority of young people enjoy good health. However, some sources of concern are recognized such as health-compromising behaviors leading to a diverse array of harms such as absence of a good daily rhythm (for example, sleeping, eating, and physical exercise) and poor perceived health (Rimpelä et al. 2004). In addition, the proportion of overweight adolescents has increased 2-3-fold from 1970s to 2000s (Kautiainen, 2009). Tobacco smoking and use of alcohol and other drugs seem to have turned towards a positive direction in the 2000s, but the rates continue to remain unacceptably high (Rainio et al., 2009).

Key Terms in this Chapter

Immersive Virtual Environment Technology (IVET): Technology which replicates real life by using the integration of hardware and software systems, databases, tracking devices and user interfaces.

User-Centered Design (UCD): A design philosophy and a process in which the needs, wants, and limitations of end users of a product are given extensive attention at each stage of the design process. User-centered design aims for optimizing the product around how users can, want, or need to use the product. It includes using participant observation, system logs, qualitative surveys or interviews, quantitative surveys, and user tests.

Sprite Method: Individually controllable static objects, figures, pictures or photos which are scrolled sequentially for getting animation.

Playability: The degree to which a game is fun to play and usable – the quality of gameplay. Playability is affected by the quality of, for instance, the usability of the game, storyline, characters, strategy, and game mechanics, as well as the degree of realism and the quality of graphics and sound.

User Experience (UX): Describes how a person feels and experiences the use of a product, system or service. It covers the practical aspects as well as hedonic aspects of the experience, and is affected by the characteristics of the user, system and context.

Cooperative Learning: In cooperative learning the learners work in small groups in order to reach a common goal. Learning together aims at committing the learners to the learning process and improving their self-respect, learning results and co-operative skills. Moreover, learning together makes the learners responsible for their own and fellow learners’ learning.

Health Behavior: Any behavior or activity undertaken by individual that influences on a person's health status. It can have either a positive or negative influence.

Health Education: Health education comprises consciously constructed opportunities for learning designed to improve health literacy, including improving knowledge, and developing life skills, which are conducive to individual and community health.

Pedagogical Usability: Pedagogical usability considers usability from the viewpoint of learning and teaching. When designing pedagogical usability the following matters, among others, must be taken into consideration: the learning theory used, usage situation, learning goals, learning situation, content context, pedagogical context and technical context.

Pixar Quality: Unofficial definition for the high quality computer animations being based on Pixar Animation Studios.

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