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University introduced with the help of an educational game

The Aalto Shock SmartFeet game improved students' skills in practical terms.

The premises of Otakaari 5 and 7 were tested at the end of January as a platform for experiential and explorative learning. The application used is an educational game which is based on geographical information and in which the premises of the Aalto University School of Electrical Engineering function as the playing field. The game was created as a result of the we.learn.it collaborative project coordinated by Aalto University. It is built on the Smartfeet platform developed by Finnish teachers.

The program can be operated through a browser, and it is easy with it to create various kinds of programs for different purposes. The Aalto Shock SmartFeet game was tested for the first time now. In the game, students in small groups or in pairs in different parts of the playing field solve tasks created by Anna-Maija Niiranen, Teacher of Physics at the Taivallahti Comprehensive School, Guidance Counsellor Esa Rantamo, and Pirjo Putila, Project Manager of Aalto's Lumarts laboratory.

'Many targets of interest can be found in the premises of the Aalto's School of Electrical Engineering, where it was possible, by making use of the students' creativity and staff's and students' expertise, to carry out either multi-selection tasks or challenging practical assignments', says Niiranen, paying tribute.

Students' one assignment was how UFO's fly.

The game was played on Thursday, 29 January, by a group of ninth-graders studying mathematics and natural sciences at the Pakila School's secondary level in Helsinki. On Friday, 30 January, it was the turn of the 9b class at the Taivallahti Comprehensive School in Helsinki. The students are preparing for a joint application for secondary level education in spring; therefore, the game environment provided an opportunity to familiarize with the future alma mater within the next few years.

The groups used mobile devices for looking for task points, opening tasks, getting familiar with background material, in information search and when returning their answers. The teacher directed the game, followed the situation and graded the groups' answers in real time with a computer. Two best groups in both days of gaming got to the final at the Teekkari Museum.

SmartFeet's use is growing

Already SmartFeet is being used in Finnish schools, from elementary schools to universities. This was the first time the game had been set up at the premises of the School of Electrical Engineering, and for the participating students it was their first experience of the game.

'The game was praised as being amusing, and the students were enthusiastic about the new way to learn. Among other things, they had to interview other students and members of the guild, which required courage. Students' practical skills develop when they consider the operation of the permanent magnet generator or how UFO's fly', Niiranen points out with satisfaction.

This wasn't the first experience for the teachers: they have used the SmartFeet game with various groups earlier, and the experiences have been good.

­'I think this is a good means to motivate students in their participation in a modern way.

we.learn.it -project (we.learn.it)

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