This anthology is the result of a joint PhD-course on games and learning. This course was a collaboration between the University of Oslo in Norway, Stockholm University in Sweden and Aalborg University in Denmark. During the course PhD-students and senior researchers from these universities took part in three seminars across universities. For each meeting we also invited international and local experts to give talks. At the time of this PhD-course the use of games in education still was a hot topic in the educational sciences. Now, trends have perhaps shifted more towards facilitating 21st century skills in makerspaces and through coding. Nevertheless, we believe the contributions in this book represents nuanced and context sensitive approaches to studying games in education, and the contributions do not fall prey to the temptation to represent games as an easy solution to make learning more engaging and relevant to students. Even though the road towards publication has been long and winding and despite the complexities involved when we need to coordinate activities with so many editors, we are really happy about the result. We believe this showcases high quality research on games in education in the Scandinavian countries.
When we met and started talking during seminars, we got the sense that there were some similarities across the Scandinavian countries and we started to discuss whether we could find any particular Scandinavian approach or perspective on education. As we started to reflect more on these issues we could perhaps agree that there were some interesting historical similarities in how we organize education and how education is seen as an important factor in civic society and in building human character. However, we also found that the theories and methodologies we employed were very international and the topics and questions we pursued in our research also resonated with more global concerns to do with how games can be used to facilitate teaching and learning. We hope that international readers find this mix of international concerns and approaches and particularities of educational practices in Scandinavia interesting.
What unites the contributions of this research anthology is an interest in how we can facilitate participatory approaches to design and learning with digital games across a range of settings and subjects. Involving teachers and students in research partnerships is also a crucial aspect of designing new learning environments, and in making sure they are sufficiently grounded in the realities of the classroom. Contributors to the volume share an interest in conceptualizing learning as changing participation in educational practices, and we are all concerned with how learning ecologies are designed and supported. Participation is also a crucial aspect of our methodologies. In both designs for learning and designs in learning researchers, designers, teachers and students are involved.