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Edited by Sue Vella, Ruth Falzon and Andrew Azzopardi

The study of wellbeing is not new. Over two millennia ago, the Ancient Greeks were already debating different conceptions of the good life, and how it may be fostered, albeit a debate for the privileged in ancient Greek society. More recently, the post-WWII concern with economic scarcity gave way – as prosperity rose in the later 20th century – to values such as personal growth and social inclusion. In parallel, research has increasingly turned its focus to wellbeing, going beyond traditional measures of income, wealth and employment. Greater attention is now paid to the subjective experience of wellbeing which, it is broadly agreed, has many dimensions such as life satisfaction, optimal functioning and a good quality of life.

Perspectives on Wellbeing: A Reader brings together a number of chapters that examine wellbeing from different disciplinary perspectives. A number of the chapters take the angle of human flourishing, looking at the respective contributions of belonging, emotional resilience, spirituality, prosocial behaviour, literacy and leisure. Others look at wellbeing through a social relations lens, including family relations, youth, persons with disability and gender. Finally, a chapter on wellbeing and economics illustrates different approaches to measuring wellbeing and identifying its determinants. The book concludes with a chapter that argues for the enduring importance of the welfare state if the wellbeing of all is to be ensured.

This book is likely to be of interest to both undergraduate and postgraduate students in the social sciences as well as to a general readership.

Contributors are: Angela Abela, Andrew Azzopardi, Paul Bartolo, Marie Briguglio, Amy Camilleri Zahra, Joanne Cassar, Marilyn Clark, Ruth Falzon, Vickie Gauci, Ingrid Grech Lanfranco, Natalie Kenely, Mary Anne Lauri, Marceline Naudi, Claudia Psaila, Clarissa Sammut Scerri, Sandra Scicluna Calleja, Barbara Stelmaszek, Sue Vella, and Val Williams.
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Edited by Merja Paksuniemi and Pigga Keskitalo

Over the last decade, Finland’s educational system has become internationally recognised. Different countries have shown an interest in learning about the Finnish education system to gain a better understanding of how education is developed, planned and executed in that country. The Introduction to the Finnish Educational System aims to describe how the education system in Finland was built and what kind of aspects influence learning and teaching today. The authors of the chapters are academics and experts in the fields of teacher education or vocational education. The book presents a review of the historical and current aspects of the educational system of Finland. As such, it describes the learning path from compulsory education to vocational education and primary school teacher education, which is one of the main focuses of the Faculty of Education at the University of Lapland. Each chapter is based on its authors’ research results, which are adapted for inclusion in this book. It answers an international call to provide an in-depth description of the National Finnish Education System from its beginning to today and to discuss the practical implications of these measures.

Contributors are: Heikki Ervast, Marjaana Kangas, Pigga Keskitalo, Otso Kortekangas, Minna Körkkö, Outi Kyrö-Ämmälä, Pertti Lakkala, Suvi Lakkala, Merja Paksuniemi, Rauna Rahko-Ravantti, Päivi Rasi, and Heli Ruokamo.
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Mijung Kim and Wolff-Michael Roth

Science educators have come to recognize children’s reasoning and problem solving skills as crucial ingredients of scientific literacy. As a consequence, there has been a concurrent, widespread emphasis on argumentation as a way of developing critical and creative minds. Argumentation has been of increasing interest in science education as a means of actively involving students in science and, thereby, as a means of promoting their learning, reasoning, and problem solving. Many approaches to teaching argumentation place primacy on teaching the structure of the argumentative genre prior to and at the beginning of participating in argumentation. Such an approach, however, is unlikely to succeed because to meaningfully learn the structure (grammar) of argumentation, one already needs to be competent in argumentation. This book offers a different approach to children’s argumentation and reasoning based on dialogical relations, as the origin of internal dialogue (inner speech) and higher psychological functions. In this approach, argumentation first exists as dialogical relation, for participants who are in a dialogical relation with others, and who employ argumentation for the purpose of the dialogical relation. With the multimodality of dialogue, this approach expands argumentation into another level of physicality of thinking, reasoning, and problem solving in classrooms. By using empirical data from elementary classrooms, this book explains how argumentation emerges and develops in and from classroom interactions by focusing on thinking and reasoning through/in relations with others and the learning environment.
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Johanna öberg

Abstract

A learning activity inspired by game-informed learning was designed with the aim of promoting participation and critical thinking. The observed learning activity was analysed in order to understand how pupils act within the given and created roles, frames, and positions. The learning activity was based on role-play, in which the pupils assumed the role of co-researchers. The implemented role-playing activity included gamification elements (e.g. rewards, narrative, and feedback). We explored the question: How does game-informed learning promote participation? A total of 15 pupils participated in the activity over the course of 16 weeks. When role-playing as co-researchers, the pupils choose their own research question and research methods. The process of this research game was documented in 16 field notes, two interviews with the participating teachers, and several observations. This data was analysed according to Goffman’s and Mead’s concepts of role. The findings indicate that several factors affect pupils’ engagement in the role of co-researchers: being perceived as professionals, interacting and communicating in a new location and setting, giving and receiving feedback, and being recognised through the results obtained. The study contributes to the understanding that a design focused on such factors can facilitate children’s participation.

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Designing with Teachers

Contrasting Teachers’ Experiences of the Implementation of a Gamified Application for Foreign Language Learners

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Caroline Cruaud

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Developing new gamified educational resources or educational games takes time, and it is natural to want to ensure the success of their integration in the classroom. For this reason, it is important to look at the role of the teacher before and during the implementation. However, research on gamification and game-based learning has been focused on students, and very little has been said about teachers (Kenny & McDaniel, 2011). This study contrasts two teachers’ experiences of the implementation of a gamified app with regard to their participation in the design process. Interviews with teachers and video data from the classroom have been analysed to find out how the teachers experienced the implementation and in what ways their involvement in the project is reflected in their respective experiences and in the accounts of their experiences. The analysis reveals that the two teachers have had very different experiences of the implementation. Where the first teacher developed familiarity with and ownership over the application, the second teacher felt lost and stopped using it. Involving teachers through co-design or using flexible instructional designs has advantages, but other factors should be considered when implementing new resources (e.g., class context, teachers’ previous experience, teacher training). This study opens up new questions on the teacher’s role in the integration of games and gamified applications in the classroom but also raises the issue of their potential participation in the design of new resources.

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Edited by Hans Christian Arnseth, Thorkild Hanghøj, Thomas Duus Henriksen, Morten Misfeldt, Robert Ramberg and Staffan Selander

Foreword : James Paul Gee

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Edited by Hans Christian Arnseth, Thorkild Hanghøj, Thomas Duus Henriksen, Morten Misfeldt, Robert Ramberg and Staffan Selander

Foreword : James Paul Gee

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Staffan Selander, Victor Lim Fei, Mats Wiklund and Uno Fors

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Digital games and simulations for learning are not new phenomena. However, with the advancements in technology, they have gathered increasing interest over recent years. With digital ubiquity, games and simulations offer a compelling case for use in schools. As such, it is useful to understand the value and issues related to the use of digital games and simulations for learning as well as to develop a new frame for thinking on how to design learning in educational settings, harnessing the affordances of technology through the effective use of digital games and simulations.

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Game-Based Learning in the Dialogical Classroom

Videogames for Collaborative Reasoning about Morality and Ethics in Citizenship Education

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Filipa de Sousa

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This chapter focuses on game-based learning (GBL), and the way a commercial videogame was used to foster collaborative reasoning about morality and ethics in citizenship education. A high school class was video recorded for four weeks, and the data was analyzed to investigate how students collaboratively reasoned in the GBL situation. Post-interview data were also considered. The study found that collaborative reasoning was mediated both by the videogame and the dialogical interactions facilitated by the teacher. Students appropriated both bottom-up and top-down reasoning processes and positioned themselves to anchor practical and conceptual knowledge. This research proposes a learning model that describes the anchoring process as an important tool for promoting content understanding and collaborative reasoning in learning across contexts with GBL.

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Games as Tools for Dialogic Teaching and Learning

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

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Hans Christian Arnseth, Thorkild Hanghøj and Kenneth Silseth

Abstract

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.