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Abstract

Increasing attention has recently been drawn in the human-computer interaction community towards the design and development of accessible computer applications for children and youth with developmental or cognitive impairments. Due to better healthcare and assistive technology, the quality of life for children with intellectual disability (ID) has evidently been improved. Many children with ID often have cognitive disabilities, along with overweight problems due to lack of physical activity. This paper introduces an edutainment system specifically designed to help these children have an enhanced and enjoyable learning process, and addresses the need for integrating physical activity into their daily lives. These games are developed with the following pedagogical model in mind: A combination of Mayer's Cognitive Theory of Multimedia Learning with a mild implementation of Skinner's Operant Condition, incorporated with physical activity as part of the learning process. The system proposed consists of a padded floor mat that consists of sixteen square tiles supported by sensors, which are used to interact with a number of software games specifically designed to suit the mental needs of children with ID. The games consist of multimedia technology with a tangible user interface. The edutainment system consists of three games, each with three difficulty levels meant to suit specific needs of different children. The system aims at enhancing the learning, coordination and memorization skills of the children with ID while involving them into physical activities, thus offering both mental and physical benefits. The edutainment system was tested on 100 children with different IDs, half of which have Down syndrome (DS. The children pertain to three disability levels; mildly, moderately and severely disabled. The obtained results depict a high increase in the learning process as the children became more proactive in the classrooms. Assessment methodology took into account the following constraints; disability type, disability level, gender, scoring, timing, motivation, coordination, acceptance levels and relative performance. The following groups, when compared with other groups, achieved best results in terms of scores and coordination: children with DS, mildly disabled children and females. In contrast to children with other IDs, moderately and severely disabled children, and males performed with lower scores and coordination levels, but all the above mentioned groups exhibited high motivation levels. Rejection rate was found to be very low, at 3% of children refusing to participate. When children repeated the games, 92% were noted to achieve significantly higher results. The edutainment is developed with the following aims: helping children with ID have an enhanced cognitive experience, allowing them a learning environment where they can interact with the game and exert physical activities, ensuring a proactive role for all in the classroom, boosting motivation, coordination and memory levels. Results proved that the system had very positive effects on the children, in terms of cognition and motivational levels. Instructors also expressed willingness to incorporate the edutainment system into the classroom on a daily basis, as a complementary tool to conventional learning.

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/content/papers/10.5339/qfarf.2013.ICTP-046
2013-11-20
2019-12-15
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http://instance.metastore.ingenta.com/content/papers/10.5339/qfarf.2013.ICTP-046
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