Design and Development of an Inclusive Learning Videogames Aimed to Promote the Development of Reading and Writing Skills

Design and Development of an Inclusive Learning Videogames Aimed to Promote the Development of Reading and Writing Skills

Stafano Di Tore (Università degli Studi di Salerno, Salerno, Italy), Iolanda Zollo (Università degli Studi di Salerno, Salerno, Italy), Safa Maffei (Università degli Studi di Salerno, Salerno, Italy) and Maurizio Sibilio (Università degli Studi di Salerno, Salerno, Italy)
Copyright: © 2016 |Pages: 14
DOI: 10.4018/IJDLDC.2016040104
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Abstract

Inclusive didactics can be defined as the set of strategies, methods and resources that enable the teacher to pay more attention to the personal profile of the student in terms of learning. With reference to the teaching resources applied, technology offers effective opportunities for the implementation of an inclusive approach. The aim of this paper is to illustrate, on the basis of recent literature, how action videogames can foster the development of reading and writing skills in an inclusive way, through the specific types of human-machine interactions on which they are based. In addition, the design and development phases of the game, targeted for pupils attending Italian primary schools, is presented.
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Introduction

The concept underpinning inclusion is the acknowledgement that all students are guaranteed with the possibility of fully participating in school life. Further, inclusion is a theoretical framework aimed at enhancing the potential of all students, regardless of their ability, gender, language, among others (Sibilio, 2013; Sibilio, 2014). Inclusive didactics can be defined as the set of strategies, methods and resources that enable the teacher to pay more attention to the personal profile of the student in terms of learning (Rivoltella, 2015). With reference to the teaching resources applied, technology offers effective opportunities for the implementation of an inclusive approach. The technological development of the past decade presents a series of elements with important, and sometimes unexplored, inclusive implications regarding the potential of new technologies. The diffusion of devices based on different types of human-machine interactions (such as tablets, smartphones, game consoles, etc.), makes it possible to think about how to structure learning activities that are able to capitalize on the peculiarities of interaction for inclusive purposes. In summary, the described technological trend appears as an evolution particularly in line with the concept of inclusion. In fact, the ability to promote the development of the potential of each individual also depends on how teaching is delivered and, as a consequence, by how technology is implemented in schools. In order to be able to effectively implement these aspects of technological development to promote inclusive processes in schools, some essential factors are:

  • 1.

    The development of an appropriate digital literacy of students and teachers;

  • 2.

    Adequate software which is ergonomically designed for school contexts (Calvani, 2007) and can be an effective expression of the methodologies developed in the field of educational research.

Acquiring an adequate level of digital literacy is a conditio-sine-qua-non to exploit the educational and inclusive potential of technology for educational purposes. For this to happen it is necessary to overcome the cliché that digital media can be self-taught or, in other words, do not require any educational support to be used. Using technology intuitively and, as a consequence superficially and sketchily, cannot be confused with using technology in a way that fully exploits the potential of the instrument. Unfortunately, research has shown that children and teenagers often stop at the first type of use (Rivoltella, 2013). Hence, the school has a duty to educate the citizens of tomorrow to make sure that they use technology critically, and that they will acquire and master their internal language (Gee, 2013), in order to dominate new technologies and not to be dominated (Calvani, 2007). Meanwhile, the second point refers to the need to give teachers educational tools which are specifically designed to take advantage of the potential that the new technologies have in promoting the processes of learning and inclusion. In full awareness of McLuhan’s slogan (2008), “the medium is the message”, in fact, the opportunity to exploit different types of interaction offered by new technologies makes it possible to design learning activities that can favor the development of important academic skills, such as reading and writing, in a different or vicarious way (Berthoz, 2015) compared to traditional media (such as the paper), generally used for this purpose. Starting from these considerations, the article presents the stages of design and development of an inclusive educational Action Videogame designed to promote indirectly the development of reading and writing skills in students attending Italian primary schools.

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