Published: 02nd November 2020
IIT Madras develops multi-lingual digital game on COVID-19 awareness
The students who took the course ‘Let’s Play To Learn’ team felt the need to not only spread awareness but also convey the message in a fun-filled method, applying their learnings in this elective
Students of Indian Institute of Technology Madras have developed a digital game — IITM Covid Game — to spread awareness among the aam aadmi, particularly children, on the importance of following governmental precautions to safeguard themselves against COVID-19.
The game is browser-based and can be played on any device including PCs, laptops, tablets and mobile phones. The game is available free of cost and can be played from the home page of www.letsplaytolearn.com. It is also available in the website of IIT Madras —https://dost.iitm.ac.in/iitmdost/pages/game-corner
Based on initial prototyping and feedback from different audiences, the students' team translated the game to several Indian Regional languages to improve its reach. Apart from English, the game is already available in 12 languages – Assamese, Bengali, Gujarati, Hindi, Kannada, Malayalam, Marathi, Oriya, Punjabi, Sanskrit, Tamil and Telugu. The students plan to make the game available in more regional games in the future.
This game was created by students who took a nine-credit elective course called ‘Let’s Play To Learn’ offered during the January-May 2020 Semester, in which students were taught game-based learning tools and techniques. Prof. Preeti Aghalayam, Department of Chemical Engineering, IIT Madras, and Kartic Vaidyanathan, Founder, LetsPlayToLearn and an IIT Madras Alumnus (BTech (Mechanical Engineering) 1996), were the co-facilitators for this general elective course.
“The full credit for this game goes to our students. It is a matter of great pride for me that they conceived this, at a time when the world was reeling under the pandemic. The IITM Covid game is a small but very meaningful & engaging contribution, and it clearly exhibits how thoughtful and aware our students are,” said Dr Preeti Aghalayam, Department of Chemical Engineering, IIT Madras.
The students who took the course ‘Let’s Play To Learn’ team felt the need to not only spread awareness but also convey the message in a fun-filled method, applying their learnings in this elective.
The game takes inspiration from the famous ‘Super Mario’ game and consists of a character who encounters various right things – like masks, washing hands and also encounters things to be avoided – like hugs, handshakes. As the character does the right things, points keep getting added. If the character fails to avoid a wrong thing, points get deducted to highlight the consequence. The game goes on for 1 minute and the players should aim for maximum points.
Speaking about students’ learnings from this elective, Vaidyanathan said, “Students applied the concepts and created a number of game design prototypes that are relevant in general for science and engineering courses (Aircraft design, Tissue engineering, Circuits, Buildings and structures, among other fields), and can be used in IIT Madras courses.”
The mission of Vaidyanathan’s organisation is to enable joyful learning through the power of play for corporate firms and educational institutions. The collaboration with the students and faculty of IIT Madras is providing great impetus to these initiatives, Vaidyanathan added.