Skip to main content
European Innovative Teaching Award
Project

Games2Learn & Gamification2Engage

School: Agrupamento de Escolas da Maia

image

Topic(s) addressed

The project “Games2Learn & Gamification2Engage” had as its main goal the introduction of innovative pedagogical scenarios for Game-Based Learning and Gamification (flipped learning, cooperative and collaborative learning, GBL, and the use of apps) in everyday schoolwork, with a change towards a student-centred approach to learning. Furthermore, it also promoted cooperation, and the exchange of experiences and innovation in the field of education. The project accomplished a number of relevant priorities, such as “Open and Innovative Education, training and youth work, embedded in the digital area” and “strengthening the profile of the teaching profession.” Partners were chosen due to their strong need to engage students in active learning. Altogether, there were 3 elementary schools (from Portugal, Poland, and Italy) involved in the project, as well as Minho University’s Department of Educative Technology. As for teachers, they were expected to develop professionally by acquiring the knowledge, skills, and attitudes needed to transform their pedagogical practices through the introduction of innovative pedagogical scenarios in Game-Based Learning and Gamification. They also developed their cultural and language skills and benefited from the ideas shared by project partners about their practices and the project’s implementation at their schools. With regard to pupils, they became more autonomous, creative, and engaged through their experience/participation in various forms of Game-Based Learning and innovative gamification pedagogical scenarios, and developed their digital, language, and collaboration skills as well as their cultural perceptions and respect. Through their participation in the Erasmus+ project and in the e-Twinning platform, both teachers and students increased their awareness of their culture, themselves, and the differences between various cultures, which contributed to the development of their European citizenship. The Teaching Award’s annual priority was distance/blended/hybrid learning, and participating teachers were able to easily develop blended/hybrid learning with their students through the use of the knowledge, skills, and attitudes that resulted from the project’s implementation. Thus, once both teachers and their students had the tools to develop the aforementioned processes, distance learning during the pandemic period proved not to be a disruption but instead a continuation of their everyday work. Students were also more responsible for their learning process, became more prepared, and were more autonomous and aware in their learning anytime, anywhere, and at any place (ubiquitous).

Target groups

This project’s target group consisted of 300 students and 18 teachers from participating schools, with 5 sent for in-training and 1 chaperone per country (Poland, Portugal, and Italy). Students from the Elementary School (6-10 years old) came from different social and economical backgrounds, with some of them having Special Needs. Teachers, who belonged to teams that were already involved in collaborative work, were pro-active and dynamic individuals.

Methodologies

The project’s main goal was to change pedagogical practices and the focus on learning to a more student-centred approach. In order to achieve that goal, project partners developed 5 IOs where they researched, critically discussed, and shared experiences, opinions, and perceptions. They met in 4 Short-Term Joint Staff Training Events, where they were trained on innovative pedagogical scenarios, and had to apply what they were learning during pedagogical practices. There was also a platform where trainees had to upload pieces of evidence they used, for which trainers provided constant feedback. Furthermore, teachers could share during such training weeks the biggest challenges they were facing and the difficulties that allowed them to learn through each other’s teaching experiences and practices. The scenarios that teachers were expected to learn were highly significant and allowed them to learn a number of methodologies. Regarding the development of key competencies, teachers increased their knowledge and skills on the use of innovative pedagogical scenarios, as well as the use of apps, which changed their attitudes of the teaching/learning process once they adopted a student-centred approach. As previously mentioned, students were now expected to be aware and more responsible of their learning processes, thus gradually becoming autonomous co-authors of their own learning process due to changes in their attitudes regarding the teaching/learning process. They developed knowledge and skills regarding the use of new scenarios and were also able to use the apps as presenters or “teachers” of the knowledge they wished to share. Students with disabilities or other forms of difficulties were also included by each school in the project, given the project’s standpoint that a school that used such innovative pedagogical scenarios was inclusive, and had the time and processes to meet the specific needs of each student so as to guide them in building their knowledge in a more proactive, significant, and unique manner. Such scenarios allowed students to work collaboratively and to build their knowledge together through critical thinking and an increased respect for differing points of view. As a transnational project, this increased the respect of participants for different points of view, different ways of learning, different ways of living, and of different cultures.

Environments

All schools involved in the project felt a very strong need to increase student engagement in their learning process by changing their pedagogical practices through the introduction of GBL and gamification. In a society that is immersed within the Digital Era, all of the project’s partners wanted to use new technologies towards supporting this shift. Students began bringing their own devices (BYOD- Bring Your Own Device) as most schools did not have sufficient devices or device mobility. The fact that we developed the project in different countries allowed us to share similar practices within different contexts, which allowed for enrichment through a variety of experiences. The university had a very important role as they were responsible for monitoring the project’s quality, guiding intellectual outputs, and gathering collected data through their academic knowledge. Furthermore, the university also provided teachers with training, and accompanied its implementation across schools (which was crucial to its success). During the training, teachers were able to keep in touch through the use of a number of apps (Animoto, Kahoot, Mentimeter, Socrative, Classdojo, and Google Apps) and innovative pedagogical scenarios (flipped learning, cooperative and collaborative learning, GBL, and gamification strategies), which enabled them to use the blended learning approach, thus allowing students to learn anywhere, any time, and at any place. Teachers also confirmed increasing student engagement of their learning processes, and felt more confident in the use of these new innovative pedagogical scenarios within their classrooms. Participating schools introduced changes into their daily school life by changing the strategies they used (the content of the project); enriching their school's offer (higher standards, bigger interest in the school by the local community); enhancing cooperation among parties including the headmaster, teachers, and parents, as well as other local educational institutions (Parents Associations, Teachers Training Centres), municipalities, and NGOs; increasing the number of educational resources used in teaching; and, transforming their classrooms, with a different perspective adopted with regard to the teaching-learning process in the learning of skills. These were intended to make the school an "attractive place," especially to young people at risk of dispersion for poor performance, negligence, or irregular attendance or interruption of studies before reaching their secondary diploma studies. These innovative schools have several teachers who are involved in the training of their schoolteachers and other schools in this theme. We were also informed that the more than 600 teachers who attended the multiplier event had contacted the school for more information on the use of innovative pedagogical scenarios and for training in the area.

Teachers

Teachers involved in the project not only changed their pedagogical practices by applying learnt innovative pedagogical scenarios, but also trained some of their colleagues and accompanied them while they were putting it into practice. The project resulted in new knowledge, skills, competencies, and attitudes among teachers that were reflected in their pedagogical practices, which improved their professional work through the use of new innovative pedagogical scenarios in Game-Based Learning and Gamification. Furthermore, teachers benefited from the ideas shared by project partners regarding their practices and the project’s implementation at their respective schools, all of which developed teachers’ language skills, communicative competencies, and professional profiles; improved their competencies (which increased significantly through frequent use); increased their familiarity with Web tools such as Wikipedia, digital platforms, and several apps; increased their motivation for language learning; increased their preparedness for Europass Mobility Certificates; developed their knowledge of educational systems, solutions, attitudes, and methodologies in various cultural, geographical, and social backgrounds (through the mobilities); increased the necessary skills for project management, project documentation, and creative participation in a project; increased their self-confidence and autonomy; and, increased their interpersonal, analytical, and organisational skills. The increase in teacher-to-teacher cooperation not only happened between partner teachers who constantly exchanged their practices (as seen in the training platform) but also amongst teachers from each partner country who shared their experiences, knowledge, and skills with each other.

Impact

The main benefit resulting from this project was that students developed 21st-century skills in a more natural manner through autonomous, creative, communicative, and critical thinking. They are now able to use technology to enhance their learning process and learn anywhere, any time, and in any place, and are now more engaged in the learning process. As for teachers, those involved in the project acquired a set of knowledge, competencies, and attitudes on the innovative pedagogical scenarios of GBL and Gamification that transformed their pedagogical practices. The fact that they were so closely accompanied by trainers from Minho University allowed them to effectively put into practice what they had learnt – which may not have taken place without close monitoring. The blended learning, even during the training phase, was a drive for change, with the innovative application of learnt content supported by academic research. Teachers were, by the end of the project, willing to develop a student-centred methodology, with students becoming more engaged in the learning process. Teachers also became more available to students and were better able to support those that needed their guidance the most. In schools, other teachers acknowledged the innovation and requested training and support – especially during the course of the pandemic when all learning became digital. Some training centres also chose several participating teachers to train other teachers on thematic considerations related to the project. Lastly, Minho University also replicated the same kind of training and theme with several groups of teachers from across the country, as seen in the project Rekindle, which was presented during the multiplier event (see photo below).

Stakeholders

Participants

Istituto Comprehensivo di Sestu

Address
Italy

Minho´s University

Address
Portugal

Szkoła Podstawowa nr 41 im. Króla Władysława Jagiełły

Address
Poland