Collect the Bones, Avoid the Cones: a game-based app for public engagement

Wong, Y., Rea, P. M. , Loranger, B. and Varsou, O. (2020) Collect the Bones, Avoid the Cones: a game-based app for public engagement. In: Rea, P. M. (ed.) Biomedical Visualisation, Volume 7. Series: Advances in Experimental Medicine and Biology (1262). Springer International Publishing: Cham, pp. 203-216. ISBN 9783030439606 (doi: 10.1007/978-3-030-43961-3_9)

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Game-based applications (apps) and serious games enable educationalists to teach complex life sciences topics. Gamification principles (i.e. challenges, problem solving, critical thinking) improve learners’ motivation and can also help science communicators discuss important scientific subjects and their real-world context in an effective, enjoyable manner. The aim of this study was to design, develop and evaluate a science communication game-based app, entitled Collect the Bones, Avoid the Cones, on human skull anatomy for use in public engagement activities with younger audiences. Specifically, the app contextualised three-dimensional (3D) skull anatomy within a narrative about cycling and helmet safety. The app was tested at the Glasgow Science Centre, with ethical approval from the Glasgow School of Art, to assess its potential pedagogical value, in terms of pre- and post-app knowledge and confidence, and general user evaluation. In total, 50 participants were recruited (mean age 15.6 ± 1.647, range 7–64) with 62% of participants aged 7–12. Usability and educational value were rated highly with 70% of participants agreeing they could use the app without any external instructions and 90% agreeing they understand the anatomy of the skull better after app use. The enjoyability of the game was also positively perceived with 94% of participants agreeing they enjoyed the game. Although there was no statistical significance in pre- and post-app knowledge scores, there was a statistically significant increase in players’ confidence relating to skull anatomy (pre-app: 3.00 ± 1.265, post-app: 4.00 ± 1.00, Z = −5.111, p < 0.001). These results provide promising insight into the potential of game-based apps for public engagement in anatomical sciences. Future research on how the app influences attitudes towards helmet use in different demographic groups would be valuable in identifying its full pedagogical potential.

Item Type:Book Sections
Glasgow Author(s) Enlighten ID:Loranger, Mr Brian and Wong, Miss Yasmin and Varsou, Dr Ourania and Rea, Professor Paul
Authors: Wong, Y., Rea, P. M., Loranger, B., and Varsou, O.
College/School:College of Medical Veterinary and Life Sciences > School of Life Sciences
Publisher:Springer International Publishing
Published Online:02 July 2020

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