Did you know that play is considered a crucial component of cognitive development from birth through adulthood? Think about your favorite games: isn’t it true that you never get tired playing them? Being it hide and seek, puzzles, construction games, board games, there are invisible threads linking our memories, experiences and feelings in connection to playing games and they are all linked to the intrinsic motivation and engagement they trigger in our mind!
The new edition of the course “Discover the power of Game Based Learning and Gamification in education” took place in Bologna from 22/01/2023 to 28/01/2023. The participants came from all across Europe, with Georgiana, Alina, Ana-Maria and Adriana, from Alexandru cel bun Secondary School in Romania, and Jolien and Stien from Talentenschool Turnhout Campous Zenit in Belgium.
Their training week was constructed like a game, following a sequence of levels from the very beginning. As if we were starting to play a video game, we asked participants to create their own characters to join the game (Ghosts, cats, and Romanian popular characters popped up in the class!). Avatars, symbolic characters and new superheroes were thus used as a basis to get to know each other, including strengths and passions.
Starting with theory, in the first level we discussed the pedagogical value of playing and how games stimulate learning. Through a challenge on the differences between gamification and game-based learning, our “players” could better clarify that gamification applies game elements into a non-game environment while game-based learning is a teaching approach whereby learning happens through playing the game itself, following a process of achievements and subsequent rewards.
As the main outcome of the second level, “players” defined the most common gamification framework as the process through which 8 major internal and external motivators influence human engagement, such as the search for meaning or the effects of social influence.
The third level was dedicated to game-based tools and apps. Through the exploration of a list of different traditional games, we made a reframing of them as to design more engaging learning tools. Throughout all the challenges and battles, “players” had an opportunity to share the tools they already use in their classes and let other players engage test them first-hand!
Coming to the second-last level, “players” lived the most active experiences. Before everything, they were engaged in a live escape room with the purpose of freeing their trainer after her sudden kidnap. Later they were locked in a digital escape room trying to solve riddles and puzzles to escape. We finally went outside to enjoy a scavenger hunt game in the city centre and prove ourselves with a city life experience.
Having overcome all the levels of our game, participants had the opportunity to put into practice everything they learned from games to transform the teaching and learning process. Divided in groups, participants took part in a planning session, so as to find the best way to gamify their classrooms, their students’ needs and characteristics taken into account. Being it with a mysterious murders live escape room or a digital city based escape room, we are sure they’ll produce a significant improvement in their students’ engagement and bring a spark in the classroom!
Discover more about this course here
Welcome to the ELA Blog. Here you will find articles and photos of our courses and have a look at the topics addressed during the week in Bologna, Palermo and Tenerife. You will also have the chance to take a peek at our projects and check out what we have been up to.