Social Media, as an information and communication technology, enables users to exchange information about experiences and insights in easy ways. Such exchange can be used for peer interaction among players of educational computer games as well. The players profit from social media content as learning resources are created, edited, and then shared by peers. Therefore, social media applications and concepts can serve as a way to bring peer education concepts closer to educational games and enhance the way learners share hints, assess each others’ solutions, and give feedback in the learning and playing process. However, the intersection of serious games and social media appears to be a quite novel research field.
The SoCom.KOM middleware is the result of ongoing Ph.D. research and contributes an architectural approach, addressing the challenge of intersecting educational games and social media from an interdisciplinary perspective. Major contributions include concepts and implementation for user-generated content exchange, game adaptation, and peer group formation.
As illustrated in the figure, the architecture connects game instance(s) (on the left) with social media application(s) (on the right). The SoCom.KOM middleware provides a central API to the games that offers the functionality of the three components of content integration, game adaptation and peer group formation. Technically, this API may be offered by the components directly and grouped (encapsulated) for each component, but conceptually it is seen as one API offered. The middleware core internally forwards the requests to the respective component and returns the result. In more detail the concept for each components functionality is described in the following paragraphs.
This component offers a description to game developers how content can be semantically described when stored to the repository. These metadata can be used to filter and distinguish content when it is requested from the repository. Game developers use this meta-information when adding
functionality of content integration to their game.
Beside functions for retrieving an abstraction of a user’s social media profile data, this component offers influence type definitions to the game developer to be used for game adaptation. The provided types can be used to define re-usable templates or to start specific influences directly. Such an influence is reppresented by a call for action that asks social media users in connected
social media applications to contribute to the game. By this, new content or vote results can be used and added to the game in order to personalize and adapt the game accordingly. To achieve this, the game adaptation component uses the internal social media messaging component which is connected to each supported social media application (Social media messaging definitions).
It published the influence availability with a hyperlink that can be used participation.
Peer Group Formation
By providing a consistent way to define criteria to be used for matching, the component allows to start a group formation process based on criteria from a user-model (personality and preferences), learner-model (proficiency and skills) or player model (playing preferences). Additionally, contextual
aspects from the inter-connection of players can be respected (e. g. friendship). These criteria values can be drawn from the ego-network of the player as defined and provided by connected social media applications. Note: Peer Group formation has been removed in recent versions and is further developed in a seperate software-repository named GroupAL to be released soon).
There is a Github respository providing the SoCom middleware under L-GPL 3.0 licence:
In case of interest do not hesitate to contact us.
For questions regarding SoCom.KOM please contact Johannes Konert.