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An M-learning Game at
IEEE Multimedia 15, 4
sphere has been strongly boosted by the advent of
technological tools and especially mobile devices.
They provide added value in terms of stimulating
learners’ engagement, increasing their motivation,
and arousing their curiosity, while permitting
immersion in the learning environment.
So we met up with our history-department col-
leagues and associates of Historia Ludens. Our
discussions with them and analysis of their lit-
erature provided further evidence that in younger
students, play stimulates an understanding of
history that would otherwise be difficult or bor-
ing. There are several advantages in using play for
1. Play is fun, and enjoyment is important in
achieving learning goals, because what is enjoy-
ably learned is easier to remember.
2. Play requires different skills to be deployed
simultaneously, and each player can practice
those skills they find most fun.
3. Play is a relational activity that encourages
group collaboration and helps with conflict man-
Structuring the game as a treasure hunt makes
it possible to combine the excitement of both
chase and solving the case, with the joy of explor-
ing a place and discovering its hidden secrets.
This type of game is perfectly suited to archaeo-
logical parks. With their wide spaces, students
can freely move about to observe the site and
memorize places, names, and functions, using
their intelligence and imagination to figure out
how life was once lived.
Everyone knows that there is a huge amount
of cultural heritage in Italy. In Puglia, a region
of Southern Italy, there are many historical
sites dating back to around the year 1000 B.C.
Schoolchildren, especially middle-school students,
are typical visitors of these sites. However, they
often find traditional visits tedious; they are faced
only with the ruins of ancient settlements whose
current appearance no longer reflects their initial
purpose. This is another reason why it is useful to
develop a computer system, since the imaging and
multimedia capabilities of the latest generation of
mobile devices can be exploited to provide a 3-D
reconstruction of the original places, thus making
the whole experience much more stimulating.
We set up a multidisciplinary and participatory
design team that included human-computer inter-
action and software engineering experts from
our Interaction, Visualization, and Usability Lab;
members of Historia Ludens and history-teaching
experts; archaeologists; the director and staff rep-
resentatives of the Egnathia Archaeological Park,
one of the main archaeological parks in Southern
Italy; and students and teachers from a local mid-
dle school in Bari.