Gamification as a Didactic Strategy for the Physical Education of Pre-School Students

Gamification as a Didactic Strategy for the Physical Education of Pre-School Students

Asunción Lledó Carreres (University of Alicante, Spain), Elena Pérez-Vázquez (University of Alicante, Spain), Alejandro Lorenzo-Lledó (University of Alicante, Spain), and Gonzalo Lorenzo Lledó (University of Alicante, Spain)
Copyright: © 2021 |Pages: 25
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-7998-7585-7.ch009
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In the last decade, gamification has become one of the teaching-learning strategies that has received the most attention in the world of education. This new tool uses the elements of the games to design experiences that attract the attention of students, increase their interest and motivation, and improve their learning results. Nevertheless, despite the potential of gamification, teachers are faced with the difficulty of fusing curricular elements with gamable elements to achieve an effective educational experience adapted to the curricular level of students. For this reason, the present chapter aims to design a didactic proposal of gamification destined to work with contents of physical education in the pre-school stage. This chapter shows that gamification can be used in the field of early childhood education without the need to use a large amount of educational resources, if teachers have knowledge about the process to be followed to adapt the curriculum.
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The Pre-school Education stage, which educates children from birth to six years of age, has as its general objective the integral development of the students. Along these lines, in the Spanish context, the Organic Law 2/2006, of May 3, on Education (LOE) (BOE no. 106, May 4, 2006) establishes the physical development, as well as the intellectual, social and emotional development of children as one of the general principles of the stage.

To this end, the Order ECI/3960/2007, of December 19 (BOE no. 5, January 5, 2008) establishing the curriculum and regulating the organization of Pre-school Education in Spain determines that the curriculum for this stage will be organized in three areas closely related to the areas of experience and child development. These areas must be approached from a global perspective and are (1) Self-knowledge and personal autonomy; (2) Knowledge of the environment and (3) Languages: communication and representation. Early childhood education teachers should not only focus on transmitting content, but also on programming activities and experiences to help students develop, considering their needs, interests and motivations (Castillo, 2006). Therefore, the globalizing approach of the curriculum, by teachers, must allow students to establish relationships between previous knowledge and new content, that is, students must achieve significant learning. Students themselves must possess the intrinsic motivation necessary to engage in their teaching-learning process.

The globalizing approach of the curriculum means that physical education (PE) is not a subject at this stage, but rather that its contents are distributed among the different areas mentioned above (Molina & López-Pastor, 2017). These contents aim to develop a correct psychomotor and expressive development of this student body: control and body awareness, reflexes, body expression, temporality, spatiality, creativity, generic skills, manipulations and emotions (Gil-Madrona et al., 2008). The main objective of psychomotor development will be to achieve control of one's body and thus be able to control one's behaviors and abilities (Gil-Madrona et al., 2008).

In relation to this integral and globalized approach, point number 4 of article 2 of the Order ECI/3960/2007, of December 19 (BOE number 5, January 5, 2008) which establishes the curriculum and regulates the organization of Pre-school Education, establishes the game as one of the general principles of the stage. Specifically, this Order indicates that the methodology throughout the stage will be based on experiences, child activity and play, and will be applied in an environment of safety, affection and confidence to enhance self-esteem and social integration. Based on this fact, gamification could be positioned as a potential strategy for this purpose.

Although teachers have been using the games in their classes regularly (Kapp et al., 2012), they are now betting on making the class a game in itself (Hanus & Fox, 2015). For this purpose, gamification and its wide variety of implementation forms become a new tool (Landers & Callan, 2011). Thus, based on psychological strategies applied to video games, gamification aims to improve student motivation by promoting the recreational aspects of different learning situations (Reig & Vílchez, 2013), increasing student participation and involvement (Cortizo et al., 2011). Recently, this strategy is one of the most attention received in the educational field, in order to work on aspects of specific topics as well as transversal elements (Caponetto et al., 2014). It has been demonstrated its capacity to turn the teaching-learning process into an experimental and significant learning experience (García et al., 2016; Kapp, 2012; Marín, 2015; Villalustre & Del Moral, 2015).

Despite the existence of some studies, research focused on educational gamification is in a very novel situation (Barata et al., 2013; Li et al., 2013). For this reason, the general objective of this chapter is: To design a didactic proposal for gamification aimed at working with Physical Education contents in the Pre-School stage. This general objective is based on different specific objectives:

  • To review conceptually the gamification as didactic strategy.

  • To analyze the design models of proposals for the application of gamification from the curriculum.

  • Make a proposal for gamification to work on physical education content in physical education.

Key Terms in this Chapter

Curriculum: Set of basic competencies, objectives, contents, evaluation criteria and methodologies that structure the teaching-learning process of students at different educational levels.

Educational Gamification: It is a teaching-learning methodology that uses the mechanisms of games to encourage learning and improve results.

Methodology: A set of strategies, procedures, and actions that teachers put into practice with the aim of enabling student learning.

Dynamics: Wishes and needs of the players that activate them to seek to achieve the objective of the game.

Mechanical: They are the set of elements that describe those actions that players can do and how they can do them.

Physical Education: It is an obligatory discipline of the curriculum, both in the stage of Primary Education and in Secondary Education, which seeks to work the body movements so that students maintain good mental and physical health.

Components: A set of tools used to provide feedback on the player's experience.

Evaluation Criteria: Set of learning indicators that determine the pleasure of internalizing a previously studied skill or concept.

Contents: Set of knowledge, skills, attitudes, and values that students should learn throughout their schooling process.

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