|The Hopscotch system is based very much on the childhood game of the same name.
A combination of that, the design of the keypad from a modern mobile phone, and
the link between physical exercise and learning is what makes HOPSCOTCH the physical-based
teaching aid it is.
Created by Media scientist Dr. Martina Lucht from the Fraunhofer Institute
for Digital Media Technology in Ilmenau, Germany, this exergaming interface
was designed to remove as much of the tedium from computer-based learning as
I found my inspiration one day when I saw a hopscotch game drawn
on the sidewalk, she recalled. It suddenly occurred to me
that learning has to be combined with movement to make it fun.
We saw a two-and-a-half year old girl start playing with the program.
She had learned the entire alphabet by the end of the day. But we have also
found that senior citizens enjoy it, too, as we saw in their interest in our
The learning game consists of a sensor mat divided up into nine fields. Each
field contains letters and a number, arranged like the keypad of a mobile phone.
The user is supposed to complete tasks in certain subjects as these appear on
a monitor, such as What is the English word for 'plum'?
To solve the question, the user must step on the right fields in the correct
sequence to enter the text. As with a mobile phone keyboard, this means stepping
down the right number of times to choose the appropriate letter, as 26 letters
into nine fields demands multiple letters per field. They pause for a second
after choosing a letter and it registers. Whilst doing this, they must keep
their eyes on the screen as the interface device itself is passive it
does not show which letter or number is currently active only the monitor
screen does that. As a result, the user cannot look at their feet during the
process, but must hop around without looking down, except to check which pad
they should be using next.
The learning system capitalizes on childrens enjoyment of playing and
movement. Ms. Lucht can also make the most of her skills as a media psychologist:
For example, there is no negative feedback telling the user he or she is wrong.
If an answer is incorrect, the user simply receives no confirmation message.
So they have to keep trying until they get the right answer. We have
built in a kangaroo that jumps up and down and shouts Yippee! when
you have solved a task. The children love that.
Initial tests at an elementary school have already demonstrated that all children
were enthusiastic participants, particularly hyperactive children.