7. Games as Tools for Dialogic Teaching and Learning

Outlining a Pedagogical Model for Researching and Designing Game-Based Learning Environments

In: Games and Education: Designs in and for Learning

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In this chapter we introduce an analytic and normative model of how games can be used as part of dialogic teaching and learning practices in the classroom. In our research during the last few years, we have been analysing how students makes sense of computer games in educational contexts. We have also been concerned with design-based research and with implementing games into more complex learning designs. Based on our experiences we wanted to focus more explicitly on teaching and the importance of the teacher in realizing the potentials of game-based learning. We found that more context sensitive models for implementing games into teaching and learning practices were lacking. Our model is grounded in a sociocultural and dialogic approach to meaning making and we discuss important concepts from this theory such as voice, utterance and artifact. We argue that we cannot expect that games themselves have particular effects on pedagogy and learning. On the contrary, the potentials of games needs to be realised in practice. We also contextualize and ground our argument in international research and in our own studies on the use of games in classrooms, and we argue that games can provide teachers with interesting means for creating more active and reflective learning experiences for students in the classroom. Our learning design model emphasize the interrelationship between instructional categories and it represents a model for planning and carrying out teaching with games in classrooms. Having said that, it can also be a useful model for analysing how games work as part of complex learning ecologies.