From dental bite to dental bytes: Students' experiences of a game-based project

Anisa Vahed*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Chapter in Book or Report/Conference proceedingConference Proceedingpeer-review

2 Citations (Scopus)


Globally, universities are focused on developing their graduates with attributes that will enable them to make a productive contribution to a knowledge-based economy. In responding to this, the Durban University of Technology in South Africa proposes four key graduate attributes that students need to exemplify: critical and creative thinkers who work independently and collaboratively; knowledgeable practitioners; active and reflective learners; and effective communicators. To facilitate the attainment of these skills lecturers are encouraged to use student-centred teaching practices. Project-Based Learning is one such approach that can facilitate the attainment of the aforementioned attributes. It is against this background that a web-based game project called Dental Bytes emerged. This involved the transdisciplinary collaboration between a Dental Technologist, eight third-year Information Technology (IT) students and their lecturer. This paper uses the Framework for the Rational Analysis of Technology Education (FRATE) model, which is an adapted version of the Framework for the Rational Analysis of Mobile Education (FRAME) model, to explore students' interdisciplinary leaning experiences of designing and developing Dental Bytes. The developmental phase of the game is presented in order to demonstrate how project-based approaches foster highly engaging learning experiences that are problem-centred and pedagogically sound. A case study research design within a qualitative framework was adopted. Data was collected by means of students' reflective reports, which were analysed in terms of the Interaction Learning Intersection frame of the FRATE model. Essentially, this project facilitated the epistemological development of students by providing them with a real world scenario of working with a client to enhance their information technology knowledge. Furthermore, this project assisted with developing their skills, abilities and dispositions to help them make informed decisions; self-manage their tasks (including their learning of Dental Technology); and to act in a socially responsible way both within, and beyond, the classroom. Overall, the salient features of this paper show that the IT project facilitated the attainment of graduate attributes, which is a bedrock of student centeredness and engagement.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationProceedings of the 10th European Conference on Games Based Learning, ECGBL 2016
EditorsLiz Boyle, Liz Boyle, Thomas M. Connolly, Thomas M. Connolly
PublisherDechema e.V.
Number of pages9
ISBN (Electronic)9781911218098
Publication statusPublished - 2016
Externally publishedYes
Event10th European Conference on Games Based Learning, ECGBL 2016 - Paisley, United Kingdom
Duration: 6 Oct 20167 Oct 2016

Publication series

NameProceedings of the European Conference on Games-based Learning
ISSN (Print)2049-0992


Conference10th European Conference on Games Based Learning, ECGBL 2016
Country/TerritoryUnited Kingdom


  • Dental technology
  • FRATE model
  • Graduate attributes
  • Unity 3D game


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