The School at Play:

Repositioning Students through the Educational use of Digital Games and Game Dynamics

Thorkild Hanghøj

University of Aalborg, Copenhagen, Denmark

Abstract: The aim of this paper is to present findings from a pilot study that relates to an on-going research project on the use of digital games and game-based pedagogies for supporting children in learning difficulties. The research project is entitled “The School at Play: Learning and Inclusion through Games and Game Dynamics” (2015-2017) and has been funded by the Egmont Foundation to be implemented in eight math and Danish classes (grades 3-6) distributed across four different Danish schools. The methods involve the use of digital games for creating meaningful contexts for learning and a number of visual tools and pedagogical approaches for clarifying and reflecting on students’ progression in relation to social, curricular and game-related aims. Based on the theoretical framework of scenario-based education (Hanghøj et al., 2014), the findings from the pilot study shows how a teacher and a student position themselves in relation to the shifting frames of the game-based teaching method. The preliminary findings suggest a number of possibilities and challenges involved in using the method for providing students with new learning opportunities, which emphasizes the important role of the teacher in adapting and facilitating the method.

Keywords: Game-Based Teaching, games and inclusion, teacher roles, scenario-based education, framing, positioning