In February, Charming was represented at the SETT (School Education Transformation Technology) convention 2022 in Gent. The name already implies what the convention stands for: bringing new innovative teaching methods into the classroom. Of course our project could not be missed! Read here how we presented ourselves, and which impressions we got from other exponents (MD, Leuven, 05/04/2022)
SETT was organized by MyEasyFairs on February 23 and 24. It is a yearly convention where educators and developers for innovative educational experiences present their newest achievements . The main target group are teachers in practice from whole Flanders, as they are of course key when it comes to actually using and applying new tools in class. But not only teachers and educators are attracted, start-ups and entrepreneurs from the field want to be up-to-date and see what their colleagues (and sometimes competitors) have to show.
Charming occupied one of the booths in the Game Square, the perfect place to attract people more broadly interested in games for education. It looks small, but we showed not less than 8 games/learning activities, ranging from a physical board game to fully immersive AR/VR applications. Eventually, more than 60 visitors scanned their badge to receive more information about us. This is a short overview :
- Material Monsters: this is a board game which supports children to make the cognitive step from thinking macroscopic towards thinking microscopic by relating phenomena about hardness towards atoms and bonds.
- Science on TV: it is an AR app developed in unity with educational video clips of scientific concepts like titration. You can see what steps are required and what materials and equipment is therefore needed. Also differences in strong or weak acids and bases are shown.
- MIMIX: here, CFD (computational fluid dynamics) simulations can be explored in AR based on markers as visualized like in a real environment. Like that, mimicking the concept of mixing different fluids can be mitigated in AR.
- SoApp: this application familiarizes the player with the process of soap making in AR. When using it on your smartphone, you can learn about the ingredients and raw materials needed to make soap, their stoichiometry and the scale-up process.
- Fabulous Soap Challenge: like the previous one, this game is also centered around soap making. It is a resource managing game in which the player produces and sells soap after planning and executing the entire process. Besides that, questions of efficiency and capacity utilization also need to be taken into account.
- MAR Lab: this is another AR app for mobile phones for players to experiment as if they were in a real laboratory. More specifically, titration experiments can be carried out as if real laboratory equipment was used. In this way, players can exercise their practical skills.
- The Charming Fume Hood: here, VR goggles are fixed in a physical frame so that the player is positioned seated in the front. In-game, it is an application for children to distinguish the hardness of different cubes with a virtual hydraulic press – an experiment inspired by various (and funny) YouTube demonstrations .
Virtual Garage: this is another educational VR application for students to solve real-life engineering problems with computational fluid dynamics (CFD) data. The entry barrier for bachelor students for this is usually quite high, but with such an immersive experience, this barrier can be reduced.
All games from our SETT booth.
But of course there were many, many other exciting activities from local as well as internationally working companies and organizations. For example: Mad Science . Originally from Canada, and founded in 1985, it grew into an internationally operating company offering educational workshops and science crossing disciplines of physics, chemistry, engineering and technology. Their goal is to combine entertainment with science and make it accessible for students around the world. See how my colleague Jessica, the main developer of the MAR app, explored a smoke canon from Mad Science Belgium:
Of course, not only Charming showed educative games since SETT provided a designated spot focusing on games for education. This nicely reflects the increasing market for games as an educational medium. One game I found particularly interesting was, as I am also developing a physical game, the board game Scale Up!, powered by odoo. Here, one playfully learns about the process of starting and scaling up a company via different business cases. The player is introduced to the cases on well-designed interactive cards guiding through processes which range from creating and selling a product to analyzing profits . An exciting inspiration to connect analog and digital elements!
There were plenty of other products: coding tools like the B-bot, a toy for young children to program following a simple pathway  or other vocational trainings with AR/VR and escape room games. As exploring all of them would be out of the scope of this article, be sure to join next time, at SETT Gent 2023 or its equivalent in Namur later in April !
References: https://www.sett-gent.be/nl/  https://charming-etn.eu/2020/04/14/charming-apps/  https://www.youtube.com/c/HydraulicPressChannel  https://belgie.madscience.org/  https://www.odoo.com/page/scale-up-business-game  https://www.b-bot.nl  https://www.sett-namur.be/