From Traditional to Distance Learning: Chronicle of a Switch From Physical to Virtual – Using the Game Metaphor to Understand the Process

From Traditional to Distance Learning: Chronicle of a Switch From Physical to Virtual – Using the Game Metaphor to Understand the Process

Lucia Bartolotti
Copyright: © 2021 |Pages: 21
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-7998-7638-0.ch006
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In winter 2020, Coronavirus silently spread from a Chinese metropolis globally. Schools closed and emergency distance teaching was enforced wherever possible. This chapter examines this phenomenon as it took place in an Italian upper secondary school and applies the rules of gamification as a key to understanding the process and the interconnections of all the agents that played a role. The theoretical background includes Werbach and Hunter's game theory, the SAMR model of Ruben Puentedura, and the findings of social and emotional learning (SEL), with the aim to analyze not only the technical transformations with their consequences on teaching practices, but also the emotional impact the pandemic had on teachers and pupils. The results of the first national surveys about the effect of the lockdown months are taken into consideration to validate the author's experience, as well as articles and studies from sources such as UNESCO, OECD, and the Economic World Forum. The description of what happened as if it were a proper game may shed some light into the complexity of this experience.
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The Game Paradigm And Other Theoretical Contributions

Game constituents have been described in many ways, since gamification of non-game processes started drawing the attention of anthropologists, researchers and finally businessmen. The paradigm that is going to be loosely used in these reflections is the one described in “The Gamification Toolkit” by Kevin Werbach & Dan Hunter (2015), which distinguishes between game components, mechanics and dynamics.

Key Terms in this Chapter

SAMR: A model created by Ruben R. Puentedura in 2006 to describe the transition from a traditional, face-to-face kind of education to a digital one. The acronym stands for Substitution, Augmentation, Modification, Redefinition, or the four successive steps in the transition process.

Remote or Distance Teaching: In this context, the term refers to the teachers’ attempts to reach their pupils during the lockdown months to avoid the disruption of schooling.

COVID-19: The scientific term of a coronavirus that has been causing a worldwide pandemic, starting reportedly in China in the late fall 2019.

Gamification: The application of game design and other typical game elements to non-game contexts.

Liceo: Upper secondary school, in Italy, preparing 14 to 19-year-old students for university.

Pedagogy Wheel: A visual tool for teachers, developed by Allan Carrington, combining Bloom’s Taxonomy and the SAMR model to classify hundreds of educational applications.

Bloom’s Taxonomy: A classification system used to define and distinguish different levels of cognition that take place in a human mind. The taxonomy is the result of a research team project led by Benjamin Bloom in 1956. Nowadays researchers and educators generally refer to the revised edition of 2001.

SEL: The acronym for Social and Emotional Learning that was first used in 1994 by CASEL (The Collaborative for Academic, Social, and Emotional Learning). It defines the development of the ability to understand, manage and express emotions and to relate to oneself and other people in a meaningful, healthy way.

Lockdown: “Lockdown” or “shutdown” is the general term used during the COVID-19 pandemic to refer to the measures taken by many governments in order to check the spreading of the infection. Generally speaking, all non-essential shops were closed and most activities involving the gathering of people were prohibited, including schooling.

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