Work Package 3 – “Professor S.” @Home

Industrial Research – Staff capacity: 19,61 PM, external labour: 26.677,50 EUR

Aim of the Work Package Within the Overall Project Context

The aim of this work package is to develop a version of the “Professor S.” platform that can be used by children and parents at home. This is key to the development of the domestic market and the associated revenue streams. Likewise, a “stripped down” version of the platform will be developed for mobile devices (iOS and Android). Also, an HTML5-based quiz game will be developed that is visually embedded into the “Professor S.” platform. The music sequencer, which already exists as a Flash application on the prototype platform is to be ported to HTML5 step in this development to ensure compatibility with mobile devices. A function that allows documentaries to be frequently divided by “multiple choice” quizzes will be created (video quiz).

Result as Conclusion of the Work Package

  1. functional HTML5 version of “Professor S.” @Home platform
  2. functional HTML5 version of the music sequencer
  3. functional HTML5 version of “Professor S.” platform for iOS devices
  4. functional HTML5 version of “Professor S.” platform for Android devices
  5. functional design of attentive quiz game mechanics
  6. fully functional HTML5 quiz game
  7. fully functional HTML5 video quiz

Technological Risk of the Work Package

Although the W3C “Media Source Extension” means the use of HTML, MediaSource provides elements supporting Java Script generated media streams to functions such as client-side audio and video processing, which are still in the experimental phase and are so far supported by only a few browsers. It is currently unclear, whether the corresponding standards will be widespread enough when the platform is released. To mitigate this risk, the further development of a Flash music sequencer application is planned. The desktop version of the “Professor S.” platform and also the quiz game are to continue to support solutions that enable display of the content through other technologies (such as Flash). The platform for mobile devices can also be developed as a native application, if it appears that an HTML5 version can not be implemented as intended.

The technological risk in the development of game mechanics is due in large part to the impact small changes in the game design can have on the technological elements. Since game design is all about human behavior and the way in which people deal with the developed rules, small changes can have surprising effects on the entire game system. Technology is particularly prone to error in this regard. This risk will be countered by the defining the game mechanics and the game rules at the beginning of the project, based on the experience we have gained developing over the last four years and by testing them under real conditions as far as possible. Major changes toward the end of the project will be avoided.

Description of the Work Package

In this work package, key elements of the “Professor S.” platform will be implemented in HTML5. It is essentially about the development of the platform for the domestic market (“Professor S.” @Home) and the related shop integration of game elements and content, such as documentary and serial content. These developments will expand the monetization platform of “Professor S.” Also, iOS and Android versions of the platform will be developed to allow the use of the platform on mobile devices. In addition, an HTML5 version of the music sequencer will be developed that can be used both on desktop and on mobile devices. Also a quiz game along with game mechanics will be developed that can be used in the classroom and at home. During the implementation phase, these developed functions will then be accompanied technically and for accounting purposes.

Work Package 3.1 – Quiz Game Mechanics

In this step, the game mechanics for quizzes will be developed. This involves, among other things, trying to establish evaluations, defining game lengths, developing the presentation of achievements and setting rewards. The following areas should be considered for their suitability for the quiz game mechanics:

The challenges are predefined missions with appropriate rewards that are issued when predefined goals are achieved. Teachers can start challenges at a set time with a predefined message (but customizable) including media content. Teachers can end these challenges with a predefined (but customizable) message including media content.

User activities are rewarded by the award of this digital currency. Points can also be redeemed for any virtual or real goods. Points are given by the teachers as ratings on messages submitted by the students.

Avatar system
Avatar pictures allow the user to express individuality on their profile and thus increase the binding to the game. Avatars can be purchased with points.

Trophy shelf
It shows users a list of available rewards, as well as their progress on the way to archiving these trophies. Archived trophies are shown on the profile and relate to small achievements within the game. For example, if a user successfully completes a mini quiz or video quiz, they receive a trophy.

They allow users to earn titles which define their status in a community. Users start at level 1. They can earn points by having their messages rated and completing challenges such as mini games and quiz games. Once they have accumulated a certain number of points, they achieve level 2.

Ranking table
Every day, the accomplishments of the users within a class are evaluated according to a variety of criteria, some of which are applied manually by the teacher, others are assigned automatically. One such criterion is the total number of points acquired by a user, another is the time it took to complete a challenge like solving a mini game or quiz puzzle. An example of a manually chosen criterion is the best picture uploaded by a student or most innovative video essay produced.

They allow users to collectively solve tasks by sharing a session. The users have to log in together on the same web session to be in a group (already part of the prototype student game).

They allow users or groups to compete against or challenge each other in competitions.

Teacher-generated mini quiz games
Teachers can generate their own quiz questions. These questions may be answered by presenting multiple choice options to the student or through the entry of verbatim text and numbers. Verbatim text has to be evaluated manually by the teacher and assigned a point value. Numbers are validated automatically, like in the case of mathematics tasks (1+2=?).

Users can build contacts and write messages to each other. This system will allow users to make friend requests, which must be accepted before a user can communicate with another user. Friends can send messages to each other. Once a user is friends with another student, the connection can be broken by unfriending the other student.

Star rating system
It allows teachers to evaluate the activity/work of students. Star ratings can be applied to messages.

A commenting function on the user profile allows for dialogue and thus creates motivation for frequent use of the platform.

Messaging feed
It allows a contant news feed about other user activity.

These allow notifications and messages to inform users about new challenges, scores or new platform functions.

The development of the game mechanics will be continuously refined, based on user feedback, throughout the entire development phase.

Work Package 3.2 – Quiz Game

A generic quiz game will be developed that is stylistically and conceptually integrated into the “Professor S.” platform. The contents of this quiz game should be easily replaceable by administrators, so a template created for a quiz game can be easily customized for each subject. This could for example result in a traffic quiz that includes questions for the cycling test. Teachers will have the opportunity to incorporate their own questions into the quiz. Individual questions are categorized by level of difficulty to allow differentiated learning. To realize this, a user interface will be created for administrators that allows both the creation and categorization of issues as well as the creation of questionnaires (ie, a combination of individual questions sorted by difficulty). The children will have the opportunity to edit a questionnaire several times. Therefore, when restarting the quiz, the questions will be generated at random. The results of the quiz game (e.g., number of attempts, time to solution and number of correctly answered questions) will be forwarded to the teacher report tool (see also work package WP1.6).

A draft document describing the functionality of the quiz game can be found here. In addition, it is planned that the questions will be assigned a degree of difficulty. When a questionnaire is created, questions with the same degree of difficulty will be grouped together. Thus, questionnaires with differing degrees of difficulty can be assigned to students with varying degrees of competency.




Work Package 3.3 – iOS and Android platform

In this step, the “Professor S.” platform will be optimised for display in browsers on mobile devices. This includes functions such as the video quiz (work package WP3.5), the quiz game (WP3.2), the music sequencer (WP3.4 ) and the messenger (WP1.3 ). The platform and content will be re-designed to correctly display on different devices depending on their functionality (smart phone, tablet, desktop), the client device will be detected and served accordingly.

Work Package 3.4 – Music Sequencer HTML5

In this step, the existing Flash version of the music sequencer will be ported to HTML5, and the functionality extended. The sequencer will be optimised for use on mobile devices. A recording function will be developed, which allows students to record their own instruments and vocals directly in the browser. The length of the compositions will be extendable by additional bars. The composition length (8, 16 or 32 bars) will be determined by the teacher prior to triggering the composition task. Further music packages, such as Bach fugues or the Third Piano Concerto by Beethoven will be integrated as optional purchases. A shop integration for the sequencer is required for this feature (see WP3.6 and WP4.1). A working Flash version of the sequencer can be found here.


Work Package 3.5 – Video Quiz

Here, we will develop a function which will interrupt films at predetermined points to display a multiple choice questionnaire. A video will be displayed inside the browser. When the video reaches a mark where a question has been set, a multiple choice questionnaire will be displayed on top of the video. When the correct answer has been selected, the film will continue. Teachers can enter their own questions and questionnaires prior to displaying the film. Therefore, a simple admin interface must be developed to allow teachers to submit and edit questions and questionnaires. This function is similar to the function developed under WP3.2 – Quiz game

These functions may be developed using a technology like PopcornJS.

Work Package 3.6 – Development of the @Home Functions
(Milestone – project termination)

Here, a version of the “Professor S.” platform will be developed, which can be used at home. In the home version, a parent takes on the role of Professor S., triggering learning content, including film content, quizzes and mini games. Content will be paid for through subscriptions and Pay Per View/Pay Per Use. Therefore, a shop solution needs to be integrated to facilitate those payments. When a teacher has scheduled a message, the platform will be open shortly before and after the release to enable students to log into the platform, even when they haven’t paid for the home subscription. After a predefined period of time, access to the platform will be closed again and payment will be required prior to log in. Subscriptions can be purchased at different levels: Basic, Plus and Premium. Basic subscriptions allow access to the “Professor S.” episodes and communication with the teacher, priced at 1.99 per month. Plus subscriptions (3.99) allow access to all film content that is provided on the platform including documentaries and entertainment films. The Premium subscription (4.99) will additionally provide access to all game content. Films and games can also be purchased as Pay Per View and Pay Per Use options when the subscription level does not support full access to them. However, PPV/PPU purchases are capped at a maximum of 3.99 (if only film content is consumed) and 4.99 (if game content is consumed). The maximum amount spent on the platform is therefore capped at 4.99 per month.

If film or game content is released by the teacher in school, the stream will be disabled after a predefined amount of time to allow students to consume the content in class. When they return home however, the content must be purchased again if they want to consume it in the home environment.

Free trial periods will be provided for all subscription levels.

Work Package 3.7 – @Home Support and Trouble Solving

(June 2014 – December 2014) Here, the functions developed in work package WP3 will be supported. This includes technical support for schools and at home. Problems with design, backend and frontend programming should be documented via a support and ticketing system (see also WP4.4), via online chat and in urgent cases via telephone hotline.

Time schedule WP3: