CONTRACTING ORGANISAITON: SMARTUP
SmartUp acts as an eco-system builder connecting different stakeholders to promote and develop social innovation thus building a society that is socially, environmentally and economically sustainable. SmartUp is established with a mission to catalyze social innovation in the country and the region.
In a society that is socially, environmentally and economically sustainable the Social Innovation Lab is the number one change agent that shapes and drives the social innovation eco-system. It’s the Balkan most recognized body for providing support to the co-creation process of social innovation development that continuously works to create and enable a safe space for collaboration for all ecosystem actors.
Within the new country programme, 2021-2025, UNICEF considers continuing the support for development and dissemination of digital educational resources and professional development opportunities for teachers. The developed solutions need to serve both an acute need in support of distance learning, but also provide sustainable mechanisms for schools and education authorities to produce or crowd-source educational resources, collate them and link them to curricula and teaching practices, create and disseminate professional learning opportunities, and offer a wide array of activities, games and interactive venues that will stimulate more student, teacher and community engagement.
BACKGROUND AND CONTEXT
In a globalized world with fast technology development, change of economic systems and more complex problems, design and implementation of high-quality education programmes is no longer the remit of the selected few. In that context, setting up an enabling environment for improving quality teaching and learning through co-creation and innovation is something of utmost importance.
To this end, in 2019, UNICEF in partnership with the Ministry of Labour and Social Policy set out to build a national web-based platform that will assist the improvement of the quality of early childhood teaching and learning through co-creation and innovation, involving teachers, parents and children. As such, the platform would provide an enabling environment that will support socio-emotional development in pre-primary education and will facilitate the implementation of national curricula.
The Eduino platform was based on the afore-mentioned national web-based platform to support early learning. While the platform was to be launched later in 2020, through joint efforts between the government, teachers and UNICEF, the platform was made available in just two weeks since schools were closed due to COVID-19 pandemic. The Ministry and UNICEF issued a joint call for teachers to volunteer to film video lessons for the platform and the response was astounding: around 1,000 teachers stepped up and expanded the scope of this one-stop-shop for educational content to cover pre-primary, primary, and secondary education for all children aged 3 to 18.
In less than a year, the now named Eduino platform became the single most valuable collective portal for digital content, collaboration, and professional development for teachers, students and parents in North Macedonia. The platform now offers close to 4000 video lessons, and 400 activities for learning and playing at home. It also engages community of 22,700 subscribed users who receive weekly news about webinars and open resources. In 2020, 50% of all teachers in the country participated in online webinars offered on the platform. A significant portion of these resources are focused to offer distance learning modalities for pre-primary education, including multiple exercises and emotional well-being activities, as well as play-based activities for home use by parents and children.
The educational disruption caused by COVID-19 represents a major challenge for teachers all over the world. The situation requires adapting the organization of lectures and the learning style to a fully online distance-learning context. Distance-learning is very different from face-to-face learning, notably in terms of interaction between teacher and students, also among students, and complicates student engagement and participation. The paradigm of ‘student-centered’ education seems more difficult to maintain in this new context.
But, even in a traditional classroom, it is not always easy to get students’ attention. This is especially true for courses in technical fields. One method that may help to overcome the issue, is application of Game-Based Learning (GBL) concept. Multiple scientific studies suggest that the use of Game-Based Learning (GBL) techniques can be an effective way of reducing student anxiety towards technical and/or abstract concepts, and increase their class involvement which is consistent with existing evidence.
Eduino needs to further develop and support Game-Based Learning (GBL) concept, both in school and at home. It should be enabled by development of educational games that can facilitate and encourage student motivation in various subjects.
PURPOSE OF ASSIGNMENT
The purpose of the assignment is to develop 30 interactive educational games whose main purpose is to provide not only entertainment but, also facilitate the learning process on multiple topics and school subjects (such as science, mathematics, languages, geography, etc.). On the other hand, these games could also help the children to improve their learning ability, develop attention skills, improve creative thinking and enhance thinking and problem-solving skills.
Developed games should be integrated within the existing Eduino platform. Therefore, the platform should be extended in order to integrate the games and support the game-based learning. All the games should provide web-based interface with a possibility to be playable on mobile devices.
The successful firm will be responsible for:
- Planning and Inception: This phase will focus on requirement gathering and developing the concept of the games including the production of initial design documents. The goal of this phase is to produce clear and easy to understand documentation which describes all the tasks, schedules and details of the development team.
- Game design: Before a full-scale development can begin, the development team will produce the first version of a game design document describing the game’s concept and major gameplay elements in detail. It may also include preliminary sketches of various aspects of the game and wireframes showcasing one or more features. The design document will remain a living document throughout the development of the game and can be improved any item until presenting the first prototype.
- Prototyping; A functional prototypes of gameplay ideas and features is an important activity that allows programmers and game designers to experiment with different algorithms and usability scenarios for a game and present to the stakeholders. A fully functional prototype will give a proof of concept of the game.
- Production and Programming: During this phase the full development team will work to write fully functional code.
- Piloting/Revisions: When key gameplay functionality is completed, game is playable and contains all the major features, pilot users testing with various target users will be planned and agreed upon with SMARTUP staff and other stakeholders. Feedback from these testing sessions will then be discussed, small changes may be made and prioritized with SMARTUP, UNICEF, and incorporated into the development schedule.
- Integration with Eduino platform: Provide the final games in working condition. Games should be compatible across different screen sizes with a possibility to be playable on mobile devices. All the documents of the system including the operating instructions will be handed over to SMARTUP.
Expected delivery time (4 months from signing of the contract)
METHODOLOGY AND PROCESS
The design for the national platform was developed based on an extensive testing and consultation process. The basis for this UX & UI testing, which was conducted in two surroundings, one extremely controlled physical testing and an online less controlled version, the basis were 4 tailor developed MVP (minimum viable product) solutions. These minimum viable product solutions led to the initial setup of the Eduino platform, but the overall scope and reach grew exponentially due to the requirements of distance learning.
Implementing human – centered design, a key principle for designing effective solutions together with the end user (teachers, parents, people working with children aged 3-10), through the testing approaches, we managed to obtain high quality data on the needs and expectations of users regarding the future national platform. This data connects to various UX and UI elements, navigation, logo, colour palette, structure of texts and videos, functionalities, level of understanding of content, attractiveness of the concept of the platform, attractiveness of the functionality to add or submit an activity etc.
It’s important to note that the human-centered design, as far as our understanding being the first time ever use by the three major government/institution partners in the project, revolves around building a deep sense of empathy with people (end users) and focusing on a complete bottom up approach, which results in generating a lot of ideas and prototypes; sharing what we’ve made with the people we’re designing for and continuously listening to feedback. In many cases, the testing phase shows the remarkable success of co-creating with end users and finding out their key struggles and needs whilst confirming the increasing need to include end-users, especially within the educational system, in the design of new policies, processes or solutions.
CONSIDERATION REGARDING TECHNICAL DEVELOPMENT OF THE PLATFORM:
When moving to technical development, there are several things or elements that shall be considered in order to fulfil users’ expectations. The current array of properties, functionalities and vector images, colours, fonts orientation and colours can be viewed on the active platform on the following link: http://www.eduino.gov.mk/
CURRENT SOLUTION AND QUESTIONS FROM PROPOSERS
EXPECTED DELIVERABLE AND TIME FRAME
Plannig and Inception Report
|Inception report with clear delivery schedule after gatering user requiremnets.||Within one week after signing the contract|
Game design document/wireframe
Game design document/wireframe with major gameplay elements, including preliminary sketches and storyline with graphic illustrations.
Within two weeks after signing the contract
Prototype of games
Prototypes/MVP with all the features and functionality.
|End of month 1|
|Feedback report on the Pre-testing Exercises with suggested changes to improve the games||End of month 3|
|Fully functional games, project report, technical documents||Final product delivered and published on eduino.gov.mk portal||End of Month 4|
The proposals will be evaluated against the following set of criteria:
- Technical criteria: (70% of overall score)
- Relevance and coherence of the technical proposal (including a) compatibility with the current solution (25%); b) scalability and adaptability of the proposed solutions (10%)) – Total (35% of overall score)
- Previous experience and expertise (including a) experience in working in education related projects (15%); b) experience in computer graphics projects (10%); c) experience in solutions related educational games and content; (10%) – Total (35% of overall score)
A minimum threshold for reviewing financial proposals is achieving at least 80% of the technical criteria
Financial criteria: (30% of overall score)
The interested companies are required to submit separate technical and financial proposals no later than 22 October 2021, 11 AM at the following e-mail addresses: [email protected]
QUALIFICATION AND SPECIALIZED KNOWLEDGE REQUIRED/EXPERIENCE REQUIRED
The interested companies should also submit, company profile, a selection of completed past projects and CVs of key staff that would lead the implementation of the project. The required qualifications for the lead manager/s are:
- Advanced degree in computer sciences/information technology.
- Experience in designing complex content management systems and identity and access management.
- Experience with game design and development, especially user interface and/or interactive design.
- Experience in working in educational systems and environments
- Evidence of creativity, animation work, and other online games is mandatory.
- Experience in developing solutions related to professional development and/or educational games and content.
SPECIAL TERMS AND CONDITIONS
- It is important to note, that SmartUp intends to reach out to users who have limited access to the internet, and also do not always have access to smart phones. Therefore, the game will need to be playable in areas with low bandwidth network, and should be easily shared across devices using different dissemination channels.
- The game should be desinged in such a way that it can potentially be adapted to various languages and regions without engineering changes.
- The payment will be done after the final product(games) are delivered and published on eduino.gov.mk