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What is 3DClass?
The 3D Class acts as an interface between Moodle and Apple's Game Center , bringing users to play games while learning, and to learn while gaming. For the students enrolled in courses that are available in a Moodle server, the 3D Class can be used to access them from iOS enabled devices. The integration with the Game Center allows users to compete among other apps users. Even for the users that are not enrolled in any course, they can play the open quizzes, and score in Game Center.
The 3DClass reproduces a school environment, bringing the user to a more realistic experience in a virtual environment. The App’s main screen reproduces a room with a blackboard and a desk. From this room the users may take an open quiz, or login to gain access to the other rooms. For each course assigned by the users they will gain access to a specific room.
3DClass has two major components, the app itself and the server side scripts. The server side scripts act as a bridge between app and Moodle, and also between app and Game Center. The 3DClass is set to connect to the Educational Technology Lab's Moodle Server by default. The option to connect to other servers will be provided further on.
The scripting needed to the Moodle server enables the option to decide if a course will be available for the 3DClass or not, and also to set some 3DClass functionalities.
Once connected to the server, the 3DClass app loads the “Open Quizzes” and the “Online Courses” contents. The open quizzes can be played by any app users, but to access the courses available in the 3DClass, the user must be registered and meet the course enrolment requirements.
The screens are designed in such a way that the elements of the scenario behave like buttons and the screen transitions aremade by the movement of the camera, focusing on one element of the scenario that opens a new screen.
Objects in the scenario
Represent some Moodle contents, for example, the available courses are represented by school elements such as: Classroom doors with the name of the course name and the professor's name gives access to the courses; The forum is represented by a message board on the wall; A course description and topics list can be seen on the blackboard; Book and papers that give access to the topic’s slides and homework can be found on the students’ desk; In the students’ desk, an MP3 player that gives access to the audio content, and a tablet that gives access to the video content can be also found.
Open quizzes are set in Moodle server using the questions bank. To set an open quiz, the selected questions should be grouped. The group has to be named according to the desired name to be shown in the 3DClass app Open Quizzes list.
The open quizzes may be set just to test users knowledge in a given topic, as a part of a summative assessment, but can also be set to give support to the Moodle’s questions feedback, and used in a formative assessment approach. Thinking about of a single user, that downloaded the app and is playing open quizzes, if the questions didn’t give feedback about their choice, it will be more useful for testing the user knowledge. On the other hand, the questions that give a feedback after the user answers, will better improve student’s learning, because if the wrong answer is picked, a brief explanationabout why that answer is not correct will be provided.
Technically any course available in a Moodle server can be made available in 3DClass, but as only the functionalities compliant with the 3DCLass will be fully usable by the app, we recommend special attention to the course development do make it available in the 3DCLass.
The typical course set trough Moodle to be compliant with the 3DClass should be based in the content delivery (Slides, video and audio files), forums discussion, and assessment (Quiz) approach.
To deliver content trough the 3DClass, the course instructors have three options available: slides (images), audio files, and video files. Any combination of this media can be used in each course topic. The forum provides a way of interaction among the people involved in each course. The 3DClass forum is integrated to the Moodle’s forum, but with some limitation that will require the instructor to connect to the course through the Moodle server to perform some forum management actions.
The assessment tool is provided by quizzes. Apart from the 3DClass open quizzes, the course quizzes are integrated to the Moodle quizzes. The quizzes statistics will be counted together, and as the other tools available for the user in the 3DClass, they will be also possible to be accessed through the Moodle server.
Some actions taken in the courses section, even being available only for the users enrolled in courses, are also scored in the Game Center.
To enable a Moodle server to deliver content to the 3DClass app, it must be enabled on the 3DClass server.
Any course available in a Moodle sever may be available for the 3DClass, but only the content readable by the 3DClass will appear in users device. The course designer should take the 3DClass structure in account while planning a course. The Moodle resources readable to the 3DClass so far are: forums, quizzes and pages. Pages should be used to deliver slide presentations, videos and audio contents. Each course can have pages and quizzes as many as needed, but for each topic only one quiz, and only up to three pages will be read (one for slide presentation, one for video, and one for audio content).
On the server side, PHP scripts are responsible for the communication between the app and the Moodle database. The app sends messages to the server and those scripts can return Moodle’s database data such as available courses, forum posts, quizzes, course content. PHP scripts are also used to check the login credentials, and insert information in Moodle's database (that can be seen only by the instructors on the Moodle website). 3DClass server is also responsible for collecting the open quizzes results from all users connected to the Internet, and it can generate reports to follow the students’ performance and individual question statistics, such as difficulty and percentage of correct answers. This report can be accessed through an URL protected with a password on the 3DClass server side. When the user is playing any open quiz, the chosen answer is sent to the server in real time. If the user is not connected to the Internet at that moment, the app stores all the results locally and the next time the user opens the app with Internet connection, the app automatically sends the stored results.
3D Class Gamification
To gamify our learning environment, we used the 6-11 framework game design approach, proposed by Dillon R.  . Dillon's framework focuses on six emotions (Fear, Anger, Joy, Pride, Sadness, Excitement) and eleven instincts (Survival, Self Identification, Collecting, Greed, Protection, Aggressiveness, Revenge, Competition, Communication, Curiosity, Color Appreciation) that are recurrent in psychology and widely analyzed in a number of well known treatises. The main idea behind the 6-11 Framework is that these emotions and instincts interact with each other to build a network or sequence that should end with “Joy” and/or “Excitement”, so as to provide players with a meaningful and fun experience.
In the 3D Class App, we use 3 emotions (Pride, Joy, Excitement) and 4 instincts (Greed, Competition, Communication, Curiosity). Users are encouraged to compete earning Star Points, through their actions inside the App. They can earn the stars by answering quizzes, reading, watching and listening to the class material, writing good posts on the forum (the Moodle instructor can rate each post), and achieving some goals. Players can track their Star Points and Trophies in integrated with Apple's Game Center.the right bottom corner of the screen. It is fully Tapping the star icon will lead the player to the Game Center Leaderboard. They can see the ranking and compete with who has more stars.
Tapping the trophy icon will lead the player to the Game Center Achievements. They can see the goals to accomplish to win a trophy. Currently, 3D Class has 8 achievements, but more can be added later on App updates. The 3D Class current achievements:
- The Observer: The player must observe the credits screen for 2 minutes.
- The Polyglot: The player must score at least 80.00 in any quiz in all languages available.
- Thinking Hat: The player must score more than 80.00 in a 50 question open quiz.
- Quiz Lover: The player must answer all quizzes available.
- The Starter: The player must start a discussion in the Message Board with more than 20 replied posts from other users.
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