The Ministry for the Family, Children’s Rights and Social Solidarity (MFCS) and the University of Malta signed a Memorandum of Understanding on the financial capability gamification concept and prototype design.
Under this Memorandum of Understanding between the Department of Artificial Intelligence within the University of Malta and the ĠEMMA unit within the Ministry, the students participating in the ‘Web Data Mining’ module worked on the design and implementation of the ĠEMMA financial capability prototype. The Ministry through the Memorandum of Understanding sponsored the students for the completion of two phases –
- Phase A – presentation of the gamification concept with prizes of €2,500 and €1,750 for first and second positioning respectively. This Phase was completed in February 2020.
- Phase B – presentation of the gamification prototype with prizes of €3,000 and €2,000 for successful completion. This Phase is to be completed by December 2020.
The Ministry will further sponsor students of the Department of Artificial Intelligence with up to €1,500 to attend seminars and/or conferences overseas that are related to AI and financial capability.
On Monday 4th May a virtual meeting was convened by Dr Michael Falzon, Minister, MFCS and Prof. Alfred J Vella where the Memorandum of Understanding was presented and the student groups presented their financial capability e-gamification design concepts.
You can view the e-presentation by the Minister and the Rector of the Memorandum of Understanding and presentations of the students’ GEMMA financial capability gamification concepts below.
The students in the Web Data mining module were divided into 5 teams. You can look at the design game financial capability concepts prepared by each team by clicking on the videos below.
The gamification concept design was led by lectures Drs Charlie Abela and Joe Azzopardi at the Department of AI.
Rags to Riches
The criteria on the basis of which the five game design concepts were evaluated were:
- Efficient intuitive UI
- Feedback to user
- Engaging and motivating
- Fun and interactive
The evaluation was carried out by a joint ĠEMMA – Department of AI team. The teams that were evaluated to progress to Phase II were:
The three teams will between July and December 2020 work together with the ĠEMMA team on designing a workable prototype for both Android and iOS platforms and which is bi-lingual. Each of the prototypes will have to meet the following game characteristics:
- Educational – cultivating financial self-efficacy and financial capability.
- Motivation oriented.
- Easy to understand and play.
- Realise positive outcomes.
The launch of the Memorandum of Understanding and the presentation by the students of the gamification concepts were carried out under the stewardship of Dr Michael Falzon, Minister for the Ministry of the Family, Children’s Rights and Social Solidarity, Mr Mark Musu the Permanent Secretary for the Ministry and Prof. Alfred J. Vella, the Rector of the University of Malta.
The following is what they said about the Memorandum of Understanding and the financial capability design competition.
Dr Michael Falzon, the Minister for the Ministry for the Family, Children’s Rights and Social Solidarity
Dr Michael Falzon, the Minister for the Ministry for the Family, Children’s Rights and Social Solidarity stated that he was proud today to launch the signing of the Memorandum of Understanding, an event of significant importance as it allows the University of Malta, the Ministry, and the students to work together to address business related issues – in this case the first local e-gamification education for financial capability.
Dr Falzon added that he was pleased that the University of Malta through the Department of AI agreed to collaborate with the Ministry – with the Wed Data Mining module acting as the vehicle that unleashed the students’ creativity and resourcefulness for this very first step in designing prototypes of financial capability education e-games.
Mr Mark Musu the Permanent Secretary of the Ministry, and responsible for the ĠEMMA financial capability platform
Mr Mark Musu the Permanent Secretary of the Ministry, and responsible for the ĠEMMA financial capability platform, stated that one of the issues faced locally in financial capability education is the absence of financial capability gamification. Mr Musu explained that in late summer 2019 his Office, through ĠEMMA, approached the Department of AI to see whether it was interested in introducing an assignment that would lead to financial capability concept designs by students – which would be on the basis of a strategic partnership with the University of Malta and that the Ministry would finance prizes for the best concepts designed. Mr Musu stated that seven months later the results of this MoU are starting to bear fruit where students presented quality ĠEMMA financial capability gamification concept designs.
Prof. Alfred J. Vella, University of Malta Rector
Prof. Alfred J. Vella, University of Malta Rector, expressed his gratitude at all entities which readily joined forces for the benefit of students. He went on to say that the fact that this is a first for Malta, in terms of getting an education to apply in the financial world – is something which should boost the students’ team effort even more. Expanding on one’s IT capabilities whilst enhancing one’s understanding the financial landscape is a unique combination of skills that will serve these students for way longer than the timeframe of this project.
Lecturer Dr Charlie Abela
The gamification concept design was led by lectures Drs Charlie Abela and Joe Azzopardi at the Department of AI. Dr Charlie Abela, stated that this collaboration between the University of Malta and the gives students who are interested in honing their skills in this area, the great opportunity of using the latest AI techniques and technologies while being encouraged to excel through a healthy spirit of competition.
Mr David Spiteri Gingell, the ĠEMMA team leader within the Office of the Permanent Secretary
Mr David Spiteri Gingell, the ĠEMMA team leader within the Office of the Permanent Secretary, stated that the idea to enter into partnership with the Department of AI at the University of Malta was the result of a long fruitless search to find and localise a foreign existing e-game on financial capability in Maltese or English. The matter of localising an English game for Malta was far tougher than expected – at the very basic the UK currency is Stg and not the €.
e-Gamining for financial capability is important as today’s kids are e-DNAed and financial capability, which can be dry at best to teach is more likely to grab kids and youths attention if done through education tools such as gamification. Mr Spiteri Gingell stated the outcomes so far from the MoU exceeded expectations and the the ĠEMMA will be recommending that the MoU is extended to the forthcoming academic year.