Educational games on TV using Cloud Computing

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Nowadays, in spite of the multiple communication and information media, television keeps on causing a wide social impact. However, the way it is used has changed lately, TV is becoming a more interactive and functional device, especially since it is possible to connect it to the Internet.

A possible way to take advantage of this new orientation is the integration of e-learning systems with TV devices. This kind of learning was linked conventionally to computer environments. The incorporation of e-learning to TV systems (commonly known as t-learning) means that educational contents are exploited in a different way from the conventional: the interaction is done in a more comfortable way using now the TV remote control. GRADIANT is working within GAMETEL Project to adapt graphic adventure educational games for its visualization in TV environments. Some requirements for a content to be suitable for TV environment are, for example, having high resolution images, adequate size icons and text for visualizing from a certain distance, being plenty of video contents and interaction frequency not too high. The goal of the project is not to replace the PC as the usual tool for e-learning contents exploitation but complementing its utilization, what is known as mixed learning experiences. In this way, students can visualize TV-suitable contents comfortably from their sofa.

In order to implement this new e-learning solution in a TV environment, GRADIANT has developed within the national GAMETEL Project a system that uses several existing technologies mixed together in an innovative way. Specifically, it has been developed an architecture composed by a server, that provides the service with educational content access, and a client (set-top-box connected to TV), for visualizing those contents. System complexity falls on server side so as to achieve the goal of maintaining the client side as simple as possible. Data delivery between client and server is done by means of remote desktop technology over an IP network. However, due to certain requirements that this transmission system impose, when video content is detected, an intelligent commuting is performed and the contents are delivered in streaming mode. Moreover, so as to provide the designed system with scalability, a Cloud Computing infrastructure that permits server virtualization is used, allowing resources to dynamically adapt to the service necessities in each moment.

This research line represents in conclusion a way of broadening the conventional TV functionalities and enriching e-learning experiences, while obtaining efficiency in resources exploitation because of the execution of the service in the cloud.

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