Real-time computer graphics simulation of blockplay in early childhood

A. Albin-Clark, T. L J Howard, B. Anderson

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    Observation of young children is commonplace in educational settings. For trainee practitioners however, gaining access at convenient times can be difficult. Even then, small snapshots of observable activity can only ever be captured. We describe the design and development of a cross-platform software application which can be used to support observations made by pedagogical practitioners. Our application Observation combines game-oriented technology: 3D graphics, animation, physics and classical game artificial intelligence. Simple, data-driven scripting capabilities, requiring no programming experience are also included, enabling the user to customise scenes of characters engaging in learning activities. The well-documented stages of blockplay have been used to represent the physical activity of characters, which is the focus of this paper. Positive feedback was received at a collaborating university in a pilot evaluation of early childhood lecturers and students, paving the way for further development and studies. Our prototype system is available for download and evaluation. © 2011 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)2496-2504
    Number of pages8
    JournalComputers & Education
    Issue number4
    Publication statusPublished - Dec 2011


    • Adult learning
    • Applications in subject areas
    • Pedagogical issues
    • Simulations
    • Virtual reality


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