The Use of Smart Toys in Learning Games

The Use of Smart Toys in Learning Games

Peter A. Smith (University of Central Florida, USA) and Shelly Welch (University of Central Florida, USA)
Copyright: © 2016 |Pages: 11
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-4666-9629-7.ch022
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The use of toys and videogames in learning is becoming more and more established as mediums, however, the interaction between smart toys and videogames for learning is a wholly new endeavor. With the advent of new games like Activision's Skylanders, and Disney Infinity, kids are being introduced to a new level of interaction between the real and virtual. The ability to create stories in the virtual and relive them in the real, or vice versa, is changing the way kids are playing. Applying these technologies to learning games is the next logical step in the advancement of learning games for kids. This chapter will explore what smart toys are, how they are being used, and future applications of the technology.
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Background: Defining Toys In Games

While toys can be used with games in many ways, the most interesting new developments are with Smart and Pervasive Toys. Toys are changing the gameplay experience for players both in the virtual world and the physical world. It is important to understand the types of toys and games that populate this portion of the market.

Key Terms in this Chapter

Smart Toys: Toys (also known as Augmented Toys) generally contain NFC or RFID technology, which enable them to exist both in the physical and digital realm.

Pervasive Games: Games that integrate both physical and social aspects of the real world, including Smart Toys, Affective Gaming, Augmented Table Top Games, Location-Aware Games, and Augmented Reality.

Informal Learning: A form of learning often defined as having no set objective in terms of learning outcomes and is often referred to as learning by experience or learning via participation and often includes socialization and play.

Near-Field Communication (NFC): Technology that uses radio communication between smartphones and other similar devices, like Smart Toys, by touching them together or bringing them into proximity.

Radio-Frequency Identification (RFID): Technology that uses wireless signals and tags containing electronically stored information, which is attached to objects such as Smart Toys.

Willing Suspension of Disbelief: A term coined by Samuel Taylor Coleridge and elaborated on by McGonigal, which describes the suspension of judgment concerning the implausibility of pervasive games.

Pinocchio Effect: A term defined by McGonigal as the desire for a game to be transformed into real life, or conversely, for everyday life to be transformed into a game.

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