Using eye-tracking in educational games and its importance in data analysis

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Κουτρουμάνη, Μαρία
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The domain of educational games has occupied the academic community for decades. Researchers are trying to embed pedagogical activities in computer games that were originally aimed at entertainment. However, the pedagogical potential of games is still under consideration as there is limited evidence that players acquire knowledge from a game of such kind. Traditionally newly acquired knowledge is assessed using pre- and post-game questionnaires or by tracking and analyzing student performance in the game. Recently, researchers have attempted to enrich their observations on student learning by analyzing data about the visual behavior of students during game play to take advantage of the non-intrusive process of eye-tracking and the unbiased nature of human gaze (vision is a process we cannot consciously control). Gaze data are collected through eye-tracking devices that record eye fixations and saccades and can be visually presented in easily conceivable ways (heatmaps, gaze plots, clusters, etc.) that reveal learner visual activity in front of a screen.  One of the major challenges in this approach is the interpretation of recorded visual behavior data and the way they correlate with the learning process. The subject of this thesis is to investigate the use of eye-tracking technology and produced visualizations for studying the way primary school students interact with a multiplication game. Τhe thesis starts with the definition of the study objectives and the main terms on the topic. Then, it continues with a literature review based on existing educational games and cognitive learning theories. Chapter 3 is dedicated to educational games as a mean of distance learning. In Chapter 4 there is the description of the educational game that the experiment based on it, previous existing methods, and presentation of the thesis experiment with the eye tracker. Furthermore, this is the chapter in which data analysis and correlation with existing theories takes place. The thesis comes to an end with Chapter 5 that presents the main conclusion of the study, limitations and proposals for future work.
Eye-tracker, Educational games, Human-computer Interaction