Monkey Labs, a series of educational video games, was developed in 2009 by game studio Larian Studios and educational book publisher die Keure (Belgium). Monkey Labs I, the first in this series, is a 3D videogame in which students have to solve various mathematics challenges. Following an intriguing narrative, the student/player sees a seemingly abandoned research complex and it is up to the player to unveil the mysteries within, and save the monkeys and scientists that are locked up inside this place of surprises and plot-twists.
A Letter - A Story
Highly Commended 2012
This interactive games and learning environment entry was created in 2011 by the Educational RadioTelevision of the Greek Ministry of Education (Greece).
“A Letter - A Story” is part of an innovative multimedia learning package consisting of interactive games, which aims to support the teaching of the Greek alphabet to Kindergarten and First Grade children through entertainment, although it can also be used to reinforce writing skills at other levels.
The showcase video of A Letter - A Story including an interview with Sophia Madouvalou and Aristarchos Papadaniel
The games are based on an educational television cartoon series of 24 five-minute animated surrealistic stories which correspond to each of the 24 letters of the Greek alphabet. They include games with letters (emergent literacy) or sounds (phonological awareness, verbal development through singing and repetition), and Magic Pencil Games (perception of how each letter is written).
The Interactive Learning Environment “A Letter - A Story” is designed to be used in class by the teacher by way of an interactive whiteboard, and/or by the students (individually or in pairs) in the computer lab, in the classroom or at home.
What the judges said
“A Letter – A Story’ offers a large amount of colourful and rich creative learning materials that can be characterised as being perfectly suitable for the target group, mainly children aged 5 to 7 years old. The learning materials are very well organised and perfectly well structured; they seem to provide a nice and effective introduction to the (shape of) the letters of the Greek alphabet, the sounds of letters and their usage in words, with the interactive game materials being a good supplement to the TV/video clips.” “The use of rhythmic music, rhymes and short narrations in simple animation films for this target group (pre-schoolers and first graders) is a perfect match, it is spot on.” “The funny way in which phonics are introduced is very clever. The production promotes the easy learning of the relationship between words and phonemics.”
About the creation of A Letter - A Story
Sophia Madouvalou (Author and Educational Technologist at Greek Educational RadioTelevision) and Aristarchos Papadaniel (Animator at Syllipsis Ltd. and Executive Producer of A Letter - A Story) on the background of their entry: “The awarded educational cartoon animation series “A Letter - A Story” became the basis for the development of a Multimedia Learning Package, part of which is the Interactive Learning Environment. The interactive games are designed around the visual and verbal material of the animated series.
The instructional design as well as the choice of methods and means, which were used for the Interactive Games Environment, was based on contemporary theory and research for the reinforcement of a continuous process of progressive development of emergent writing and learning skills. The interactive games were mainly organised on the basis of the Cognitive, Affective and Psychomotor categories of Bloom’s Taxonomy.
Different digital activities have been designed to meet different learner levels. We are working on sign language alphabet games and we are looking for ways to include ideas and educational materials that is made by teachers for teachers.
The Interactive Learning Environment reinforces the combined use of multiple senses (vision, hearing, touch); it supports active learning through game play, offering the possibility of learning through exploration. It further contributes to the cognitive maturity of the child, reinforcing attention, concentration, visual and acoustic perception and memory. It provides acoustic (‘bravo!’) or visual feedback (star ratings) etc.
The pilot programme for the letter alpha of the Interactive Learning Environment "A Letter - a Story" has been evaluated by teachers, students, parents and the academic community, and was presented in the exhibition “Serious Games Showcase & Best Practices” during the 5th European Conference on Games-Based Learning held in Athens in October 2011 with very positive feedback from participants and players (children, teachers, parents, academics, professionals).
In July 2012 it received a ‘Seal of Good Digital Practice’ in the Action Learning 2.0 plus Competition by the University Research Institute of Applied Communication (URIAC), Faculty of Communication and Media Studies and University of Athens.”
About Sophia Madouvalou and Aristarchos Papadaniel
Sophia Madouvalou and Aristarchos Papadaniel
Sophia Madouvalou was born in Athens in 1949. In her childhood, she made two good friends; Imagination and Humor. It seems that their company in all those years they spent together studying Developmental Psychology, Educational Technology and Film Direction, helped her realise how important their presence was in the field of education. For the last 35 years, she tries to combine the imaginary and real elements of life by writing books and creating educational programs. From 1979 until 2010 she worked as a specialist in Educational Technology for the Greek Educational Radio/Television supporting with her work the Greek school curriculum. She is the creator of at least 150 educational programs; among them the awarded series "A Letter - A Story" as well as the awarded interactive educational CD-ROM "Diagoras in Olympia" (in collaboration with the University of Crete, Department of Education) aiming to teach the Greek language as a second language. She is the co-author of the book "Contemporary Education and Television". Sophia Madouvalou's contribution to literature numbers more than 65 books for children as well as poetry and novels for adults. Some of her books have received national and international distinctions and awards and have been translated into English, Chinese and Korean. In addition, part of her work is included in the first-grade Greek schoolbook anthology. Her wish to promote literature brings her very often to Greek schools, pupils and teachers. She has great experience in teacher education concerning Educational Technology as well as design and creative writing of educational material.
Aristarchos Papadaniel was born in Athens in 1978. He studied Tourism Business Administration, Graphic Design (ΒΑ hons) and Animation (MA). Author of the book "Greek Political Caricature - The Serious Side of a Funny Art" and creator of "Pocket Cinema" flipbook series. In 2005, he co-founded the creative studio SYLLIPSIS Ltd., where he produces visual communication through animation, illustration and graphic design. A number of his illustrations have been published by magazines (Athens Voice, PC Magazine, Metropolis Press, +design, etc.), exhibited on galleries and broadcast on various TV series and shows (The X Factor, etc.). His cartoon animation creations have been broadcast by Greek public, private and satellite TV channels (ΕΤ1, ERT World, MEGA Channel, MAD TV), and/or hosted by various events (Greek Graphic Design and Illustration Awards-EBGE) and international festivals. Along with Sophia Madouvalou he created the awarded educational animated series “A Letter - A Story” and its interactive learning environment produced by the Department of Educational Radio/Television of the Greek Ministry of Education. He is also founding member of ASIFA Greece and full member of Greek Graphic Designers' Association.
Online interactive game
- http://www.i-create.gr/images/gramma_istoria/gramma_a/index.html (in Greek and English)