Elon Computing Sciences

Engineering an Online Multiplayer Game That Enhances Classroom Learning

Samuel D. Toma (Dr. Shannon Duvall), Department of Computing Sciences

This research project will extend upon Clashroom, which was created by a previous research team. Clashroom is a multiplayer online game where a player’s performance in a game can positively impact their performance in a class. Students begin the game by creating their own pet dragon which they will then train and battle their classmate’s dragons. The game is designed to encourage friendly competition and social interaction between classmates. The game would serve as a motivational tool for students to do well in class as well as being a fun game to play. We hypothesize that if this game is designed correctly to be fun and interesting, students will voluntarily play an optional class-related game that enhances their educational experience. Until now Clashroom was an untested prototype. The lack of finished implementation means that we have not been able to adequately test its effectiveness as a learning aid or its quality as a game. The goal of this research project is to develop a polished version of the Clashroom prototype with practical use in classrooms. We have utilized contemporary open source projects and put emphasis on careful use of software design principles to make the game functional, easily maintainable, and extendable for future collaborators. Using the Phaser HTML5 game framework and a Node.js backend, we have created an application that can scale with increasing students and classes. Our objective is to play test the Clashroom in several actual classes and show that students playing the game are more engaged in class than they would be otherwise. During this presentation we will walk through the progress of the Clashroom game and discuss how gameplay works, how the project is designed, and how we hope to evaluate the overall system.