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19. LEARNING IS ROOTED ON DIGITAL GAMES

School cannot do without entering into contact with the social and technological scenery in which boys live: new technologies of information and communication, possibilities of virtual encounters. etc. Boys cannot live in two different worlds (school taught in “old” way and their world lived in technological manner); in fact we notice boys are more active outside school than in school. The experiment, here presented, starts from the principle that people learn better what they like. Results: activity of the students, collaboration, protagonism, creativity, greater motivation, growth in interest, etc. It is moreover necessary to educate in the passage from knowledge and reading of the virtual reality to the real reality, in a pedagogical process, which uses the new languages offered by the digital world of electronic games.

Beatriz De Anso 

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If you want to deepen

19. LEARNING IS ROOTED ON DIGITAL GAMES (María Beatriz de Ansó)


The day I was confirmed principal of the Parish school Sagrada Familia
(Diocesis de San Martìn, Argentina) a member of the Catholic board of Education told me:
“what influenced us about your appointment was the conviction
with which you described the Pedagogy of Love”.
From there on I realized that my Murialdine identity will mark
forever and everywhere my educational approach.

1. The new dimensions of the pedagogy of love.
“To pray, to learn and to play, this is the Oratorio” Murialdo used to say.

The most profound motivations that guide the Murialdine Educational Project is the knowledge that God loves us, to allow ourselves to be loved by Him and to witness God-Love in a total life of love for our brothers. God’s action in salvation history is the great work of his merciful love and the reproduction of God’s pedagogy.
Saint Leonard Murialdo experiences such loving presence of God in his interior life and in his educational activity. He translates this experience in conceiving the Pedagogy of love rooted on the education of the heart.
The Pedagogy of love is not a theoretical construction: it is the foundation of an educational methodology that expresses itself in actions that mould individuals conscious of their origins and transcendent destiny.
To discern the Father’s plan on my own existence and to develop the talents according to His will (to pray): to understand God’s creative work and to build a worldwide vision that channels the existential decisions (to learn): and to be able to occupy joyfully different and multiple roles (to play) are some forms of exercising such trilogy that characterized Murialdo’s pedagogical activity in the Oratorio, oriented towards a loving accompaniment till the full human maturity.
The development of the emotional intelligence through social abilities favoring the encounter with the “you” and the opening to the Absolute, alongside the cognitive intelligence and the psycho motor abilities allow to configure an anthropological method, based on a multidimensional conception of man, with a theological goal that moves what is historical towards eternity.
How can these aspects of the Pedagogy of love become part of the contemporary cultural context?

2. Traditional classes in a world technologically mediated.
What should I know for teaching english to John? Who is John!

The traditional pedagogical paradigm no longer meets the needs and expectations of the students populating the classrooms. Many teachers, particularly at the secondary level of education, express nowadays concern, they are tired, have the sensation of making useless efforts up to the point of impotence when the time comes to encourage the students in the pursuit of knowledge. Lack of motivations seems to monopolize the student behavior in the formal educational system. Apathy, disinterest, scattered attention, the delegitimization of knowledge, confused with indiscipline, disrespect, irresponsibility, the “everything goes well”, as expressions attempting to characterize stereotyped and supposedly generalized behaviors. And teachers wonder why adolescents and youth have lost the desire to learn. But we believe that such a question is wrongly stated. Perhaps the right question could be: what and how they want to learn? And this represents a challenge to the current pedagogical model.
Beyond these claims there exists the fact that the school needs to be updated. That is, to review its goals as a social institution, the profile of the graduate, the practices he implements, the recreational function of the established order, ultimately the pedagogical model that gives sense to the culture as a context for socialization and personalization of the contemporary human being. The information and communication technologies, in this new technological and social “scenario”, cross all fields of culture and human activity.
The students attending nowadays our schools, and who are expressing behaviors that challenge the system, are adolescents and youngsters using technology on multiple screens, reading stories on the digital media, they are social networks users, readers, authors and protagonists of narratives in video – games formats, because they play video games, build virtual identity, live hyper connected. They were socialized to mediated relationships through digital technologies, their perception of time is defined by immediacy, speed and fragmentation and the space has broken physical and territorial borders to travel on virtual roads. This reconfiguration of the world moulds new subjectivities and the construction of digital identities. Technologically mediated activities reward their perseverance and they expect the same level of reward for their efforts in the classroom. Moreover, these activities, as corroborated by several studies, help the development of complex skills that the school does not legitimize or reward, to the point of prohibiting them and to be punished for. Never in human history human beings were subjected to a flow of stimuli like what now breaks into the everyday personal and collective life (certainly with large differences of opportunities according to the socio-cultural characteristics). It is in this context of links and gaps, of technological usability and social inequality, in which the school develops its educational action. Nevertheless in many of our classrooms we continue to apply unidirectional pedagogical models: inactive, memory connected, convergent, “aggressive” toward technology and we still wonder why our students do not attend school and get bored in school? Most education today takes place outside the school. The classroom is delocalized, learning is everywhere (Cope and Kalantzis , 2010 ) . Buckingham & Odiozola (2008) put it this way: ” A good part of this learning (informational and technological) is achieved without any explicit instruction: it is the result of an active exploration, the “learning through practice” (…) This way of learning is highly social: it implies collaboration and interaction with others and sharing in a community of users”. It is possible to identify in these some of the pillars of the educational technology: a learning that is active and creative, independent yet collective, collaborative, technological and diverse. The new generations have been socialized in this knowledge, have made it their own and these constitute the cultural background that allows them to relate and interact. However, these skills do not always get recognition in the classroom neither are used in order to promote official learning.
The inclusion of digital technologies into the classroom involves the construction of new pedagogical models. Is it possible to adopt models that, responding to the conditions and prospects of educational technology, can enhance the dimensions of the Pedagogy of Love?

3. Learning based on digital games
We learn much more effectively what we like.

Einstein wrote in a letter to his son: “Play on the piano mainly what you like, even though the teacher does not assign it. That is the best way to learn, when you are doing something with such enjoyment time goes by without realizing it”. We should thank Einstein for his love for physics that governs our planet. If such a subject would have caused boredom, despite having the ability, he probably would not have written a single line on the general Theory of Relativity!
A new pedagogy is built, amidst multiple variables, modeling the video games in the learning process i.e. applying game mechanics to educational activities. Learning based on Digital Games is a methodology that builds the conceptual pedagogical framework for implementing the inclusion of video games in the classroom. Such an inclusion permits to recognize the skills and competencies developed by the playful practice.
Why choose video games as a teaching resource? The transition from an individual learning process to collaborative communities of learners, i.e. from the “traditional classroom to learning communities technologically located in the networks” (Esnaola, 2010) finds, in incorporating video games into their teaching practices, teaching resources that can generate significant learning from the most immersive experiences.
Studies demonstrating the benefits of video games activities in developing skills and cognitive, affective and sensory competencies, are growing every day. Video games provide acoustic, visual, kinesthetic, emotional, stimuli in complex environments that challenge decision making and solution of problems. There are games enlarging the reality and the earthly location thus allowing the immersion into virtual reality by movements of 360° and interaction with other users. Digital games technology is also used for training surgeons, pilots, soldiers, firefighters. The playful performance with digital devices implies, besides technological skills, the realization of activities derived by multiple learning. The video games are in reality practice and leadership, knowledge and action, decision and pleasure, immersion and simulation.
In an article on “the 25 things you should know about playful activity” Fioriello (2013) highlights some aspects of particular interest for justifying the inclusion of recreational methodologies in the classroom. Playful activities imply a positive reinforcement, an improved motivation and learning results. The games are so designed that children think like doctors, lawyers, business managers… Video games allow to manipulate a virtual world, facilitating the use of skills needed to improve the real world, to foster teamwork and collaboration among students…
A study by the Department of Psychiatry at Duke University confirms that video game users perceive reality differently. In their work, the team led by Greg Appelbaum (2013) demonstrated that, the participants routinely using video games, capture visual stimuli faster, need less information for reaching the same conclusions, show greater mental agility and are able to make decisions faster than those who do not use the games.

4. Conclusions
If the archer shoots for fun he uses his entire skill.
If he shoots for a score, his hands tremble and his breath is uncomfortable.
If he shoots for at a price of gold he turns crazy and blind.
His ability did not decrease, but the sight of the goal has changed.

The Hipermediales objects have very complex environments very conducive to cross transverse and interdisciplinary learning that favor the development of a creative and divergent thinking. They use a language that interacts strongly with contemporary visual culture, and may use that language of video games to build elements that provide food for thought on relevant issues and problems that are also part of the school curriculum.
The educational issue, as well as the social one circulating nowadays, is not neutral, and the school can deepen the socio-semiotic analysis, in this case through the interpretation of the video games, in order to build new feelings and denature the obvious ones. The teacher, the one who helps to interpret the reality, guides the educational process and gives significance to the cultural objects incorporated in the classroom.
The use of video games in the classrooms helps to raise the quality of education because it allows to incorporate hypermedial objects as resources with educational purposes that facilitate critical thinking, problem solving, collaborative work, the acquisitioon of technological skills , and ethical and communicational traits for the exercise of a digital citinzenship. Video games are therefore roads for channeling the integral, cognitive, emotional, physical and social evolucion of those using video games.
Let us think about incorporating video games in the learning process by designing the classroom of an aula gamer. Let us invite for a debate regarding the criteria and an investigation on the pedagogical, technological and contextual elements that, through playful practices prioritize the pleasure of learning and facilitate the didactic content of the curriculum and its application in simulated situations.

María Beatriz de Ansó

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