About Bart

About the project

Oceanum was created as a lesson package to bring children in that exciting mood when you explore and see something new.

The Oceanum project was my graduation at the HKU Utrecht. I have been working on it from april 2021 until januari 2022. In this time, I (Bart Slot) created the concept, Iterated on early design decisions and tested this with stakeholders and the target audience, 14-18 year students at highschools. I have also developed this project using React, TailwindCSS and GSAP. In my opinion the educational world could benefit from rich media now available at your fingertips from every mobile phone. The technology is there. Imagine students exploring the ocean deep, whilst learning different educational themes like the relation between species. To make it interesting for all children, Gamification can be used to further bolster the interest in the subjects.

Role

Project leader, Designer and Developer

Client

HKU, Graduation 2022

Date

2021 - 2022

Project website

oceanum.blackhound.nl
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Oceanum was created to give Biology teachers a lesson package platform, that helps children to explore the secrets of the natural world. The biology lesson themes include algae, symbiosis and other subjects. The ocean is the center of all living beings. The challenge, as an interaction designer was how to send the message, that all life is connected, and that the natural world and Oceans need our protection in a way that is fun and very easy to add or implement in a biology lesson plan.

Technology

React, next.js and GSAP

The platform is built using modern webtechnologies such as React, Next.js and uses motion design tools like GSAP with vanilla Javascript.

Timeline of the concept phase, including iterations and design decisions.

Early concept phase

Immersive world

The first concept phase was to create an immersive world to tell stories about biological themes such as symbiosis.
My design question was

As an interaction designer how can I design a biology lesson that is both motivating for students that helps raising awareness that humans and the natural world are interconnnected.

Motivation

My research about Gamification and Education gave me pointers in which direction I was going to. I came to the conclusion that after reading the paper 'Game design and Education (Brill et al. 2019) Oceanum had to use game design principles like scoring points and progressing in the lesson, having an overview that feels like you are about to embark on a journey.

The project was first made with Unity, in an immersive 3D environment. The testresults were pointing that a 3D open world is not (very) useful for a lesson where a teacher has a certain amount of time limit. The open world led students immerse themselves. They loved exploring the level, however it was time consuming at first, to understand the objectives, moving from point A>B. In addition to this, the development process to implement new stories/lessons to the 3D environment, as creating high quality assets is too time consuming for the scalability of the lesson package.

So I went into a different direction.

Oceanum as a (web)platform

During the summer break I concluded Oceanum needed a different look and feel, and a different approach in how people could actually use the platform in the future. My new design goal was made in september 2021.

Deliver an engaging experience on a relevant topic for students, while contributing to the content shortage* for biology teachers.

*From own research questionnaire Biology teachers (Facebook group 'biologie docenten').

A 5 minute start of the biology lesson to engage and excite.

Research

To better understand the painpoints of my product. I conducted multiple play tests to further investigate how the product was perceived and if students actually wanted to use it, and got motivated by the experience.

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