4 March 2019 • HNTB, Arie Verhoef
Minor leads to game app in Play Store
As children we learn at a young age to always look left and then right, and then left again before crossing the street. Teaching children how to safely navigate the digital world should be second nature as well. The research group Cyber Security & Safety allowed a group of students in the minor Usable App Development to work with researchers in developing a game app.
University of applied sciences ICT student, Hugo van Elswijk participated in the minor. “To be frank, I didn’t have very high expectations of the research group Cyber Security & Safety’s idea to increase children’s awareness of digital security. It was supposed to be a flip card app. But as the assignment progressed and the idea of a game app started to take shape, it became much more interesting.” The game app has become a success. Hugo is very proud of the 9.5 grade he earned for his development project.
The app is part of much greater context. Together with professor Marcel Spruit, Lisanne Slot leads the project group Digital security for youth within the Centre of Expertise Cyber Security. “Let me tell you a bit about the Centre. Here, companies, governments and knowledge institutions work together to create innovation within cyber security and education. The minor Usable App Development, organised by the faculty of IT & Design, offered the project group ‘Digital security for youth’ the opportunity to develop a game app for elementary-school children: the first concrete product in a multi-year research project. The results of the minor are awesome. It is fantastic that students can gain research experience like this.”
Marinus Maris, lecturer-researcher at the ICT faculty of the university of applied sciences and a member of the project group, supervised the students in the minor. “A lot of students would rather work than do research. But this preliminary research was key. What is the best way to provide information to children? How do you make sure they really learn something from an app? How do you use colours? We researched all this and more before starting to develop the app.” Project Leader Lisanne: “One of our roles is to strengthen the partnership between research and education. By developing this app we have shown that this type of collaboration can be very effective. The minor assignment and the needs of the research group were closely aligned.”
It’s not easy to teach youth safe digital behaviour. That is where Deborah Oosting enters the picture. As a researcher with the Cyber & Safety research group, she mainly focuses on developing a model that researchers can use to measure cyber security awareness. Deborah: “I have access to the anonymous log books of the children who play this game. I analyse this data to see how we can best teach children so that safe digital behaviour becomes second nature. This will not be an easy task.”
The app ‘Digital security’ is available for download on your smartphone at the Google Playstore.