6. Involving teachers in games and virtual learning environments

ABSTRAKTI ONLINE EDUCA BERLIINI 2011, Anna Linnakylä, Petri Lounaskorpi

Even though the Finnish school has proved to be quite suc­cess­ful in in­ter­na­tional as­sess­ments of school achieve­ments, the vir­tual and game-based learn­ing en­vi­ron­ments are not widely ex­per­i­mented and ex­ploited in Finnish schools. The prob­lem seems to lie within the in­abil­ity for these new en­vi­ron­ments to ef­fec­tively per­vade into the cur­ricu­lum, or it is due to teach­ers’ sus­pi­cions or lack of tech­nol­ogy re­sources and fur­ther train­ing.

This study aims to de­velop a teacher- and cur­ricu­lum-friendly pro­gramme to in­volve sec­ondary school teach­ers in vir­tual and game-based teach­ing and learn­ing en­vi­ron­ments in or­der to re­new ped­a­gogy and to en­hance stu­dents’ mo­ti­va­tion as well as ex­per­i­men­tal, prob­lem solv­ing and col­lab­o­ra­tive ways of learn­ing.

The pro­gramme is part of a larger co­or­di­na­tion project Learn­ing games and vir­tual en­vi­ron­ments sup­port­ing the re­newal of teach­ing and learn­ing, which is con­ducted col­lab­o­ra­tively by the mu­nic­i­pal­ity of Kon­n­evesi and the Agora Cen­ter, Uni­ver­sity of Jyväskylä.

The­o­ret­i­cally, the study is grounded in the so­cio-cul­tural view of learn­ing and teacher ed­u­ca­tion where knowl­edge is shared through so­cial in­ter­ac­tion and where games and vir­tual en­vi­ron­ments can serve as spa­ces for me­di­a­tion be­tween in­di­vid­ual and col­lab­o­ra­tive ex­pe­ri­ences and shared knowl­edge con­struc­tion and com­mu­ni­ca­tion.

Method­olog­i­cally, we fol­low the de­sign-based ap­proach, which at­tempts to com­bine the vir­tual game en­vi­ron­ment, the needs of teacher train­ing and the­o­ret­i­cal knowl­edge of so­cio-cul­tural view of learn­ing. De­sign-based study si­mul­ta­ne­ously aims to re­new learn­ing en­vi­ron­ments and to use such en­vi­ron­ments in au­then­tic set­tings to study learn­ing and teach­ing. In prac­tice, we in­vite teach­ers to ex­pe­ri­ence avail­able learn­ing games and vir­tual worlds such as Sec­ond Life.

We pro­vide teach­ers with a space to dis­cover and share ped­a­gog­i­cal ideas and re­sources, dis­cuss projects, make pre­sen­ta­tions and ex­plore good and not-so-good prac­tices, both vir­tu­ally and in real life learn­ing ses­sions. Through these en­vi­ron­ments teach­ers can meet stu­dents, other teach­ers and tech­ni­cal tu­tors, com­mu­ni­cate their ex­pe­ri­ences, solve prob­lems, de­velop in­di­vid­ual or col­lab­o­ra­tive ex­er­cises and net­work to de­velop in­spir­ing in­struc­tional prac­tices and new cul­ture among par­tic­i­pat­ing teach­ers and schools.

The par­tic­i­pat­ing schools and teach­ers are fur­ther en­cour­aged to dis­sem­i­nate vir­tu­ally me­di­ated prac­tices and new in­struc­tional cul­ture to other schools and teach­ers as well as to teacher train­ing in­sti­tutes. The data of teach­ers’ ideas, com­mu­ni­ca­tion, shared knowl­edge and dis­cov­ered best prac­tices are fur­ther an­a­lysed to de­sign and dis­sem­i­nate new game-based ped­a­gogy and cul­ture for other schools to keep up with the pace of tech­no­log­i­cal, ped­a­gog­i­cal and cul­tural change.

Löytöretkillä toisessa maail­massa, vol 1Lauri Pirkkalainen & Petri Lounasko­rpi (toim.),5/2013, 16.5.2013