NINJA TURTLES RACE: A REACTION TIME TEST TO STUDY AND ASSESS THE FOCUS OF ATTENTION, MOTOR, AND COGNITIVE SKILLS IN CHILDREN'S LEARNING PROCESSES
2Faculty of Engineering, University of Porto / INESC TEC (PORTUGAL)
3Departamento de Informática, NOVA LINCS / Faculdade de Ciências e Tecnologia, Universidade NOVA de Lisboa (PORTUGAL)
In this paper, we adopt design methods from Human-Computer Interaction (HCI) to propose enhanced measurements for Reaction Time (RT). To this end, we developed a RT system as a turtles racing game, which, ultimately, aims to foster Serious Games methodologies to study and assess the focus of attention (FOA), motor and cognitive skills in the children's learning processes (LP).
We conducted a literature review of RT methods, which support the need for the development of a system exploring accurate measurements of RT from button clicks behavior. The modular system architecture features: (1) a physical computing interface, including light and sonic actuators, mounted on a Raspberry Pi 3 B+ board; (2) a turtles racing game using physics programming in Python — whose media components, including the graphic and sound design, have been adapted to children with 3 to 5 years of age; (3) a method to accurately compute RT values and descriptive statistics over time.
From an early stage, the system design has been defined to comply with usability heuristics from HCI. The light and sonic actuators have shown to be attractive to children by captivating them on the game's long-term playing while struggling to retain the focus from those with attention deficit. However, we faced challenging limitations on the electronic components at the control and the Raspberry Pi's graphic engine. On the one hand, the device was not prone to build intuitive and collaborative control interfaces (for more than one child). On the other hand, accuracy was compromised, as the same control instructions from buttons could have significant changes in the response behavior depending on the applied pressure and interval times between repeated instructions.
Our study has pinpointed some weaknesses in the existing measurements of RT. The proposed and developed system has tackled some of the limitations of RT systems' control and design for education. In particular, the system contributes to the development of RT from visual and auditory stimuli to promote students' FOA and better performance of the SG as a complement to the learning processes. The resulting methods primarily target children above three years old to promote the development of their FOA, motor, and cognitive skills.