Health education is very important for students, since it can affect their physical, psychological, and mental condition. The “iLearn4Health” project aims to build strong foundations on children’s knowledge, skills and attitudes towards health and personal hygiene issues, throughout the integration of the digital game-based learning (DGBL) method into teaching and learning. Why do we believe that DGBL could promote health education?
DGBL is the learning method where educators use the entertaining power of digital games for educational purposes (Prensky, 2001). There are many types of digital games, such as action games, strategy games, adventure games, role-playing games, simulation games, puzzles, athletic and music games. All types of digital games are fun, have rules and objectives, promote interaction, communication, and collaboration, they provide results and feedback, engage participants into challenges and problem-solving situations. As a result, digital games’ characteristics make them a useful educational tool in teachers’ hands. Over the last years, digital games have been applied in a variety of subjects showing that DGBL can increase students’ performance, skills, motivation, and attitude (Bai et al., 2012; Lin et al., 2013; Beserra et al., 2014; Byun & Joung, 2018; Serano, 2019; Chen & Tu, 2021; Wang et al., 2022). However, there is a scarcity of research in DGBL application and impact on health education.
Effective integration of digital games into teaching and learning presupposes teachers’ training on DGBL. For instance, Bado (2022) noted the importance of studying the phases of the integration of DGBL while teachers are organizing their lessons; namely the pre-game, game, and post-game phases, where activities are taking place. “Pre-game instructional activities”, are the instructional activities that are organized or implemented by the teacher in preparation for gameplay. “Game instructional activities” refer to any instructional activities organized or implemented by the teacher during gameplay, while “post-game instructional activities” are all the instructional activities organized or implemented by the teacher during the period following the gameplay, with the purpose of reinforcing knowledge acquired during gameplay.
When teachers are acknowledged about the benefits of DGBL, and the way the DGBL can be effectively applied, specifically in health education, the results will be positive and students’ learning outcomes and skills will be improved. In this sense, the ilearn4health project aims at the development of:
- Electronic Tool for diagnosis of the factors that influence the effectiveness of games in the learning procedure
- Digital Educational Games
- Online Training Program for teachers
- Toolkit for teachers
(Ph.D candidate at Cyprus University of Technology,
teacher in Agia Napa-Antonis Tsokkos primary school, Cyprus)
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