Seppo – a new tool for location-based and game-based learning

Seppo is an online tool currently being trialled in FET for location-based learning and game-based learning.

Seppo allows tutors to set up a series of information points and learning tasks on a ‘gameboard’ for learners to complete on their computers or smartphones. Several types of task are possible – there’s the usual multiple-choice, free text response and matching type questions but also the option to ask students to submit an image, video or audio recording alongside a text response.

Three types of gameboard are available in Seppo: either a live GPS-enabled map (think Google Map), a static image or a 360-degree interactive image can be used.

Location-based learning

When using a live map as a gameboard, tutors can choose to make the learning tasks viewable only to students who are physically nearby. This makes it ideal for augmenting field trips as instructions and guidance for students can be tied to specific real-world locations just as they would be in a traditional field trip.

Where it is not possible to physically visit a location (e.g. for personal reasons or because the location is too distant, inaccessible or dangerous) Seppo can be used to create a virtual field trip which students experience remotely. Photographs and videos of different locations can be used to simulate the environment, with tasks attached to each giving an equivalent of procedures they might have carried out on site.

A sense of space and place can be created using 360-degree interactive images as the gameboard. Several interactive images can be linked together to make a virtual tour space for students to explore, where they can find the information and learning tasks set up for them by the tutor.

Gamified learning

Seppo can also be used for gamified learning, by making each task a game or challenge related to the subject and setting conditions on how students move through the tasks. For instance, they may not be able to start one task until they have completed another. You can use points and scoreboards if you want a competitive element. You can also use ‘branching’ to create games where a player’s choices affect the game, allowing students multiple routes to select from, with multiple different endings possible. Students could, for example, safely explore different ways to tackle a problem and by doing so gain a better understanding of the consequences of their real-world choices and actions.

While Seppo can be used to make learning more fun, interactive and engaging, it is important to understand that it is not only for light-hearted topics. Games can be ‘serious games’ with specific and important learning objectives, and if students have fun completing them they may find the learning easier to understand, apply and remember.

Seppo can also be used for induction and orientation activities, to help students get to know the campus or the city where they are studying, for example, and to help them meet the other students and  staff they will be working with. Students do not need an account to use Seppo, and hundreds of players can take part at once.

Tips

  • Do not simply provide a guided tour for your students. Provide meaningful tasks for students to complete and through which they will learn.
  • Accessibility should be considered when using location-based learning. You may want to make two versions of your Seppo experience; one for students who cannot physically access the locations.
  • Consider letting students work in teams. Each team only needs one device to access Seppo.
  • Decide if you want students to be able to send messages to other students and the instructors running the sessions.
  • Visit any locations you expect students to visit in person and ensure you and the students are aware of any health and safety implications. Pay particular attention to traffic and crime risks.
  • Consider carefully the learner experience. Do you want students using their smartphone for an extended period in a busy environment, for example? Does every student need their own smartphone? Will students be able to charge their phone if it runs out of power? Consider what contingencies may be needed.

How to get started with Seppo

Students do not need a licence to engage with Seppo but instructors need one to be able to create learning experiences in Seppo. FET’s Learning Innovation Unit (LIU) have a small number of licences available for staff. Please contact Oli Haslam in the LIU if you are interested.

To find out more:

  • Visit the Seppo website to see more about using Seppo in education.
  • Use the Seppo Guide to find answers to questions and concerns you may encounter during making and playing a game.
  • Contact the LIU for a brief overview and orientation session on Seppo. We can also provide access to a number of Seppo experiences that have been authored at UWE, so you can see examples created by UWE colleagues.