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26 MAY 2015

A Serious Game Model for Cultural Heritage

"Serious games present a promising opportunity for learning, but the genre still lacks methodologies and tools for efficient and low-cost production, particularly for teacher and domain experts. This article gives an authoring framework that aims to provide structured support, from content design to final implementation. In particular, we have abstracted a conceptual model—the SandBox Serious Game - which relies on a generalization of task-based learning theory. The model invites players to perform cognitive tasks contextually while exploring information-rich virtual environments. We consider it particularly suited for cultural heritage entertainment applications. The model defines games that are set in realistic virtual worlds enriched with embedded educational tasks, which we have implemented as minigames. This approach simplifies the authoring work, which can easily be supported by visual authoring tools for ontology-based urban 3D modeling and implementation tasks, thus allowing an approach similar to the mind-maps concept. We propose a top-down methodology for content preparation, starting from a city- level analysis down to the single points of interest and associated tasks, which are instances of simple predefined minigame/quiz typologies. We provide examples and discuss criteria for selecting task typologies according to the authors’ cognitive targets. Finally, we discuss the results of a user test, which took place in a lab, aimed at verifying the acquisition of cultural heritage knowledge in a pleasant and engaging way. Games appear particularly suited for supporting the study of images, especially of iconography. Compared to reading text, a game forces the player to focus more strongly on problems, which favors knowledge acquisition and retention. Learning complex concepts requires an investigative attitude, which can be spurred by well-designed games. Good design involves usability, graphic appeal, appropriate content, and the presence of connections which a player must discover in the content. Players should be asked to pay attention to and reason about their whole game activity - including the relationships between the game content, the brief introduction, and concluding texts. More comprehensive tests are needed to better investigate the educational effectiveness—however, the first results are promising, especially in terms of user motivation and creation of new opportunities for learning about CH."

(Francesco Bellotti, Riccardo Berta, Alessandro De Gloria, Annamaria D’ursi, Valentina Fiore, 2012)

Bellotti, F., Berta, R., De Gloria, A., D’Ursi, A., and V. Fiore, V. 2012. A serious game model for cultural heritage. ACM J. Comput. Cult. Herit. 5, 4, Article 17 (October 2012), 27 pages. DOI=10.1145/2399180.2399185


20123D modelling • Alessandro De Gloria • Annamaria D ursi • authoring framework • city-level analysis • cognitive targets • cognitive tasks • conceptual model • content connections • content design • content preparation • cultural heritage knowledge • discovering and exploring • discovery through games • educational effectiveness • embedded educational tasks • entertainment applications • Francesco Bellotti • game authoring • game content • graphic appeal • iconography • investigative attitude • Journal on Computing and Cultural Heritage (JOCCH) • knowledge acquisition and retention • low-cost production • minigame • points of interest • production methodologies • quiz typologies • realistic virtual worlds • Riccardo Berta • sandbox serious game • serious games • task typologies • task-based learning theory • top-down methodology • usabilityuser motivationsuser testing • Valentina Fiore • virtual environments • visual authoring tools


Simon Perkins
12 MARCH 2015

Hugh Dubberly: Design the Future

"Hugh is the President of Dubberly Design and talented design planner and teacher. At Apple Computer in the late 80s and early 90s, Hugh managed cross-functional design teams and later managed creative services for the entire company. While at Apple, he co-created a technology-forecast film called 'Knowledge Navigator,' that presaged the appearance of the Internet in a portable digital device. While at Apple, he served at Art Center College of Design in Pasadena as the first and founding chairman of the computer graphics department.

Intrigued by what the publishing industry would look like on the Internet, he next became Director of Interface Design for Times Mirror. This led him to Netscape where he became Vice President of Design and managed groups responsible for the design, engineering, and production of Netscape's Web portal. Hugh graduated from Rhode Island School of Design with a BFA in graphic design and earned an MFA in graphic design from Yale.

This lecture was held on Wednesday, October 3, 2012 at 4:30pm in 1305 Newell Simon Hall."



2012 • age of biology • Apple Computer • Art Center College of Design in Pasadena • Austin Henderson • biological model • boundary objectsCarnegie Mellon Universitycommunication systemsconcept map • concept mapping • conceptual model • continuous change • creative servicescross-functional design teamsdata modelling • data models • design of the system rather than the object • design planner • design the futureDesign the Future Lecture ProgrammeDonald Norman • Dubberly Design • Fred Murrell • George Lakoffgraphic designer • HCII • Hugh Dubberlyinterface design • James Griesemer • Jay Doblin • John Rheinfrank • Kevin KellyKnowledge Navigator (1988)lingua franca • manufacturing age • mechanistic modelmetaphors of realityNetscape • networked-services ecology • org chart • Pasadena • portable digital device • Rhode Island School of Designservice design • service designer • Susan Leigh Star • system image • technology forecasting • Times Mirror • VisiCalc • whole systems


Simon Perkins
23 FEBRUARY 2015

Conceptual Frameworks and Theoretical Frameworks

"Current usage of the terms conceptual framework and theoretical framework are vague and imprecise. In this paper I define conceptual framework as a network, or 'a plane,' of interlinked concepts that together provide a comprehensive understanding of a phenomenon or phenomena. The concepts that constitute a conceptual framework support one another, articulate their respective phenomena, and establish a framework–specific philosophy. Conceptual frameworks possess ontological, epistemological, and methodological assumptions, and each concept within a conceptual framework plays an ontological or epistemological role. The ontological assumptions relate to knowledge of the 'way things are,' 'the nature of reality,' 'real' existence, and 'real' action (Guba & Lincoln, 1994). The epistemological assumptions relate to 'how things really are' and 'how things really work' in an assumed reality (p. 108). The methodological assumptions relate to the process of building the conceptual framework and assessing what it can tell us about the 'real' world."

(Yosef Jabareen, 2009)

Jabareen, Y. (2009). Building a Conceptual Framework: Philosophy, Definitions, and Procedure. International Journal of Qualitative Methods, 8(4).


2009academic research • building conceptual frameworks • concepts • conceptual analysis • conceptual construct • conceptual development • conceptual framework • conceptual frameworks • conceptual model • conceptually specified categories • consistency of the concept • discipline-oriented theories • Egon Guba • epistemological assumptions • epistemological criteria • general theoretical framework • grounded theoryInternational Journal of Qualitative Methods • interpretative approach • interpretive framework • methodological assumptions • network of linked concepts • ontological assumptions • ontological perspective • plane of linked concepts • research paradigmresearch process • ResearchGate • specific paradigm of enquiry • theoretical explanation • theoretical frameworktheoretical frameworks • Yosef Jabareen • Yvonna Lincoln


Simon Perkins

The now discredited hypodermic needle model of communication

"The Hypodermic Needle Theory is a linear communication theory which suggests that media messages are injected directly into the brains of a passive audience. It suggests that we're all the same and we all respond to media messages in the same way.

This way of thinking about communication and media influence is no longer really accepted. In the 1930s, many researchers realized the limitations of this idea and some dispute whether early media theorists gave the idea any serious attention at all. Nevertheless, The Hypodermic Needle Theory continues to influence the way we talk about the media. People believe that the mass media has a powerful effect. Parents worry about the influence of television and violent video games. News outlets run headlines like 'Is Google making us stupid' and 'Grand Theft Auto led teen to kill'."

(Brett Lamb, 12 April 2013)



1930sArthur Bergerassumptions • attitudinal attributes • behaviour systemsbehaviourism • Bernard Berelson • biologically based theory • communication theoryconceptual model • David Croteau • Dennis Davis • discredited theory • Elihu Katz • Hadley Cantril • Hazel Gaudet • Herta Herzog • human instinct • human nature • hypodermic needle model • hypodermic needle theory • hypodermic-syringe model • infusion • injection • James Tankard • linear communication theory • magic bullet theory • mass communicationmedia • media gun • media influence • mental imagemessagemodel of communication • obsolete theory • passive audience • Paul Lazarsfeld • propaganda • shooting metaphor • sitting duck • situational attributes • Stanley Baran • theory of communication • transmission-belt model • unidirectional flow • uniformly controlled • Werner Severin • William Hoynes


Simon Perkins
02 APRIL 2014

Designing the Star User Interface: Familiar User's Conceptual Model

"A user's conceptual model is the set of concepts a person gradually acquires to explain the behavior of a system, whether it be a computer system, a physical system, or a hypothetical system. It is the model developed in the mind of the user that enables that person to understand and interact with the system. The first task for a system designer is to decide what model is preferable for users of the system. This extremely important step is often neglected or done poorly. The Star designers devoted several work–years at the outset of the project discussing and evolving what we considered an appropriate model for an office information system: the metaphor of a physical office.

The designer of a computer system can choose to pursue familiar analogies and metaphors or to introduce entirely new functions requiring new approaches. Each option has advantages and disadvantages. We decided to create electronic counterparts to the physical objects in an office: paper, folders, file cabinets, mail boxes, and so on–an electronic metaphor for the office. We hoped this would make the electronic 'world' seem more familiar, less alien, and require less training. (Our initial experiences with users have confirmed this.) We further decided to make the electronic analogues be concrete objects. Documents would be more than file names on a disk; they would also be represented by pictures on the display screen. They would be selected by pointing to them with the mouse and clicking one of the buttons. Once selected, they would be moved, copied, or deleted by pushing the appropriate key. Moving a document became the electronic equivalent of picking up a piece of paper and walking somewhere with it. To file a document, you would move it to a picture of a file drawer, just as you take a physical piece of paper to a physical file cabinet.

The reason that the user's conceptual model should be decided first when designing a system is that the approach adopted changes the functionality of the system. An example is electronic mail. Most electronic–mail systems draw a distinction between messages and files to be sent to other people. Typically, one program sends messages and a different program handles file transfers, each with its own interface. But we observed that offices make no such distinction. Everything arrives through the mail, from one–page memos to books and reports, from intraoffice mail to international mail. Therefore, this became part of Star's physical–office metaphor. Star users mail documents of any size, from one page to many pages. Messages are short documents, just as in the real world. User actions are the same whether the recipients are in the next office or in another country.

A physical metaphor can simplify and clarify a system. In addition to eliminating the artificial distinctions of traditional computers, it can eliminate commands by taking advantage of more general concepts. For example, since moving a document on the screen is the equivalent of picking up a piece of paper and walking somewhere with it, there is no 'send mail' command. You simply move it to a picture of an out–basket. Nor is there a 'receive mail' command. New mail appears in the in–basket as it is received. When new mail is waiting, an envelope appears in the picture of the in–basket (see figure 1). This is a simple, familiar, nontechnical approach to computer mail. And it's easy once the physical–office metaphor is adopted!

While we want an analogy with the physical world for familiarity, we don't want to limit ourselves to its capabilities. One of the raisons d'être for Star is that physical objects do not provide people with enough power to manage the increasing complexity of the 'information age.' For example, we can take advantage of the computer's ability to search rapidly by providing a search function for its electronic file drawers, thus helping to solve the long–standing problem of lost files."

(David Smith, Charles Irby, Ralph Kimball, Bill Verplank and Eric Harslem, 1982)

David Canfield Smith, Charles Irby, Ralph Kimball, Bill Verplank and Eric Harslem (1982). "Designing the Star User Interface: The Star user interface adheres rigorously to a small set of principles designed to make the system seem friendly by simplifying the human–machine interface." Reprinted from Byte, issue 4/1982, pp. 242–282.




1982 • alien environment • analogy • Bill Verplank • black and white • Byte (magazine) • Charles Irby • common metaphorscomputer history • computer system • conceptual model • concrete objects • David Smith • desktop metaphor • digital analogues • display screen • electronic mail • electronic metaphor • electronic world • Eric Harslem • familiar analogies • familiarityfiles and foldersfiling cabinetfolderGUIinformation ageinterface metaphor • international mail • intraoffice mail • mailbox • memo • office environment • office metaphorold-world equivalents • operational behaviour • physical metaphor • physical world • Ralph Kimball • resemblanceskeuomorphismvisual analogyvisual metaphorWYSIWYG • Xerox Corporation • Xerox Palo Alto Research Center (PARC)Xerox PARCXerox Star PC


Simon Perkins

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