Chapter 9 - Gamification and Self-Direct Learning: The Use of Mobile Applications in Education and Lifelong Learning
One of the main aspects of the technological landscape in which we find ourselves and in which the future evolution of education sciences is situated, is the radical change not only in the text of teaching (the "textbook" which becomes an interactive text, of which video games are the most complete form at present) but also in the context within which it is placed.
The "network" of books, which in the past was such a context (with libraries as places to explore and bibliographies as navigation tools, with all the critical and scientific apparatus connected), becomes the network of (hyper)textual and interactive microcosms in the cloud, a widespread place of suspension of data and knowledge. The most important peripherals of this Semiosphere are - and will increasingly be in the future - the mobile ones, which through various dedicated Apps have a direct, continuous, responsive and interactive access to this “cloud”.
According to the now classic definition of Deterding (2011) gamification is characterized by "the use of elements, dynamics and mechanics of the game in contexts other than the game". Beyond the fact of applying this methodology to teaching through computer tools, it is necessary primarily to focus on the character and function of the game. The experimental activity and research in this sense of recent years, has given us conceptual and methodological tools that - if properly understood and applied - can greatly contribute to the definition of a proper educational approach to digital video games and interactive technologies.
Gamification today represents a methodological approach that concerns both the company's marketing environments and the educational and humanistic ones. In some way we can say that it constitutes the anthropological denominator of the present society.
From a methodological point of view, it is necessary:
1 - to proceed with the mobile Gamification of the contents through their division into easily reusable learning objects, also according to the fundamental principles of e-Learning;
2 - set up points of connection as "universal" as possible between these Learning Objects, creating indexed (or hypertextual) paths of cultural content related to the different educational projects, paths that must be accessible as "maps" freely passable in every direction;
3 - provide for ongoing verification phases that give access to the - not necessarily linear - phases of the learning process, inspired by what happens in the "open" screenplay of video games. This method is obviously effective not only in schools but also in the dynamics designed for lifelong learning.