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Incubate a New Learning and Inspiration Framework for Education

Periodic Reporting for period 2 - INLIFE (Incubate a New Learning and Inspiration Framework for Education)

Reporting period: 2017-11-01 to 2018-10-31

InLife transforms everyday activities into innovative educational games that stimulate the development of positive behaviours. Games are changing the way people learn, helping them think differently and stimulating new ways in which people of all ages interact with the reality. They are effective in maximizing enjoyment, engagement and learning through fun and motivation. As learning experiences, serious games can be used as powerful educational tools to help students in achieving learning goals. For instance, one of the InLife games (available for tablets and smartphones) teaches children the value of recycling: sensors are used to automatically detect when children use the recycling bin; the more they recycle the more a virtual “iceberg” grows, and higher rewards are given within the game.

Thus, the InLife Platform enables the creation of new applications that easily link to smart sensors, capture events and reward users for their actions or behaviour, depending on the desired educational goals. Educators are able to “gamify” the learning process, while students and trainees are better motivated to learn in practice. Possibilities are endless: teaching employees to sustain a better work practice, motivating children to do their homework, maintain their hygiene or clean-up their room, supporting children with special needs to increase their autonomy and social skills…

The objectives that the InLife project has set and accomplished are the following:

- Deliver an innovative, open and easy-to-use, gamification framework to facilitate transfer and take-up of gaming technologies in educational and social inclusion contexts
- Create synergies between the Internet of Things (IoT) and the Gamification domains
- Develop two serious games, one for education (named ICEBERG) and one for social inclusion (named AKSION), in order to validate and finetune the proposed framework, test and prove its merits in real life and set the basis for a new business ecosystem
- Support the persistent change of user behaviour to ensure sustainable results
- Develop innovative gamification business models and opportunities
Strongly committed to having the end-user as the focal point of research and innovation activities, the InLife consortium dedicated significant efforts in identifying appropriate scenarios, use cases and end-users' requirements to be covered by the InLife framework and drive development efforts. A modular reference architecture was fully specified based on user requirements and developed through an iterative implementation approach. The architecture comprises multiple elements, including the IoT adaptation layer, the Game Configuration and the Game Logic engines, the Game Analytics and Incentives server. Based on this framework, demo applications of two Serious Games were developed, with special attention in the key elements used to motivated and engage kids, definition and graphic design of the scenarios, objects and characters and integration with the InLife SDK and platform.

Some of the overall achievements that should be highlighted are the following:
• The design of the InLife Platform has been kept open and modular, allowing third-parties to deploy their own applications.
• The InLife SDK is extensively tested, well documented and free to use by other developers.
• The envisaged transfer of gaming technologies initially foreseen has been fully achieved, and includes assets of 3D graphics, audio and video, virtual worlds, narratives, dynamic game balancing, game challenges between players, leaderboards and exchange of assets, in-game prizes, missions and rewards, etc.
• An adaptive and patented (2 associated patents submitted) rewards system has been designed and realized, to increase user engagement and improve learning results.
• Demonstrations have been performed in 4 pilot sites, with a wide range of more than 200 users, including children, students, educators and professors, autistic kids, therapists, adults, etc.
• The two planned serious games have been significantly improved from their first release, and are readily available as smartphone/tablet applications.
• A stakeholders’ group with over 200 members has been reached.
• New game design concepts making use of the InLife Platform have been conceived.
• Numerous serious games stakeholders and potential adopters have been reached: in Italy, Spain, Greece, UK, China and other countries. Relevant discussions on business deals are maturing.
• A new online platform (inlifeplatform.eu) has been launched to facilitate the business exploitation.

Interconnected to the research and technical activities, InLife conducted a wide range of dissemination and communication activities, addressing different types of audience. This has included:
• scientific publications
• submission of patents
• training programmes (hackathons)
• workshops
• liaisons and clustering with other projects
• online instruments for developer communities (user portal, gitlab/github)
• social media communities
• analysing the use and adoption of standards within the InLife ecosystem
• reaching out to stakeholders (developer and educator communities)
Comparing to existing products and solutions in the market, InLife gathers substantial innovation potential, being based on a fundamentally novel concept and featuring a unique combination of differentiating elements. InLife’s fundamental concept lies in establishing a cognitive cycle, within which real-life actions have noticeable consequences on the serious in-game progress, which in turn act as stimuli that influence and motivate the user behaviour, mobilizing him to take further actions in real-life, effectively composing a perpetual self-improvement scheme. On this basis, InLife gathers the following differentiation factors:
• an open gamification approach for non-leisure, educational and social inclusion, applications and behavioural changes, linking the physical world to serious game progress evolution
• reliable, modular and flexible IoT functions providing bi-directional interaction between serious gameplay activities and the surrounding physical space
• integration of powerful serious games analytics and automatic difficulty and reward balancing mechanisms
• coverage of pertinent societal and educational issues and needs, e.g. working towards a collective goal, environmental awareness, support of well-being and social inclusion, active citizen engagement, etc.
• utilization of various open gaming technologies for the realization of a modular, flexible and open architecture able to support multiple serious games, offering also simplified tools for customizing and adjusting serious game parameters and settings

InLife has created a high-prospects ecosystem that offers multiple business opportunities and applications for the Serious Games and the Internet of Things industries, in the areas of Education, Training and Social Inclusion, blending their technologies together in an innovative way, and spurring mutual benefits.

InLife brings a set of substantial societal and environmental impacts including:
- support of the education and motivation of people
- support of the social inclusion and wellbeing of persons with disabilities
- enhancement of the environmental awareness and social engagement of people
- speeding up of the wider deployment of innovative IoT, ICT and Gamification solutions
InLife concept
InLife framework
InLife platform