WXXI’s Homework Hotline needed a way to translate their television show into a full-blown multimedia experience. Being that the Internet is such an effective medium to reach their target audience, WXXI wanted to create an online experience that would support Homework Hotline’s main goal—promoting education.
The overall challenge of this project was to create an educational geography game for students in grades 4 through 8. The first objective was to find a method that both delivered a learning experience and also peaked interest in WXXI’s Homework Hotline. Another objective was to create an interesting experience for users to interact with as they answer questions about United States geography. We had to make sure that WXXI’s target audience could easily access and use the application on their home computers to utilize it in an effective and meaningful way. Another problem we faced was the difference in skill levels of our target audience because each grade level has its own understanding of geography. Therefore, a system had to be implemented that addressed these issues.
The solution to this problem was a geography game that met all the needs of WXXI. We created a game that not only quizzes previous knowledge, but also reinforces this knowledge through repetition and error checking. Our geography game has two main playing stages. The first is a map wherein the user can choose a specific region of the map and answer questions based on the shape and location of each state. Once the state has been correctly identified the user goes onto a ‘Bonus Round’ where he or she can answer a randomly generated question based on that state. These bonus questions range in difficulty and examples of such questions include identifying state capitals, answering state-based trivia, as well as other questions that will be able to be updated by the members of WXXI according to Homework Hotline's needs. If the user identifies all the states correctly, he or she will get a “Regional Medal.” If a user is so inclined, he or she can get all the Regional Medals and enter their initials into the High Score Database. Other functionality includes a SEND TO YOUR FRIEND option as well as dynamically driven content.
The result is a fully functional game that creates an environment similar to being at a State Fair. Through the use of sound, animations and movement, we created an online experience that both engages and educates the viewer. By using a distinctive graphic style we have taken the user away from the screen of their computer and immersed them in a world they can explore.
This experience has taught all of our group members valuable information about teamwork, working with clients and meeting strict and demanding deadlines. We took our skills, client input, and help from our professor to create something truly unique that the world can see. It was an interesting processs that involved many long hours, commitment and time. However, in the end we have a very unique piece that speaks for itself.