CHALLENGE-BASED LEARNING AND GAME-BASED LEARNING TO IMPROVE MATHEMATICAL COMPETENCIES: AN ITALIAN CASE STUDY IN SECONDARY SCHOOL

R. Capone1, M.R. Del Sorbo2, A. Pisa3, M. Trerotola4

1University of Salerno (ITALY)
2L. Da Vinci High School (ITALY)
3University of Naples Federico II (ITALY)
4LUISS University (ITALY)
Digital Games can be a special way to bring students closer to the study of mathematics. Their interest can be directed to story - driven games, with their ability to evoke strong emotions, overshadowing the actual game play. Digital Storytelling (DGT) interactive and Applied Problem Solving (APS) are the main educational proposals; the Challenge - Based Learning (CBL) and the Game - Based Learning (GBL) are very effective to motivate students and make them participate in the educational process and transform them in co - constructors of their skills. The educational context is strongly interdisciplinary and it is part of the educational plan of the Mathematical High School Project, in nine High Schools in Campania, a region in the southern Italy, and involved 421 students. Authoritative studies document the pedagogical value of storytelling (Bettelheim, 1976, Bruner, 1986, Nash, 1990) both for the highly gratifying character of the narrative approach and because the narrative mechanisms, also supported by multimedia elements, generate hermeneutic-interpretative processes and conceptually meaningful correlations. New technologies offer multiple tools for creating stories and the combination of the art of inventing a story and the use of a variety of multimedia tools such as graphics, audio, video, and the Web is called Digital Storytelling (DST).

Following the plot puts the student in front of problematic situations that also invest logical and mathematical skills. In addition, DST allows different learning styles to be addressed using various types of resources and various learning strategies such as active and emotional involvement of students, reflection, project-based learning and integration with ICT (Barrett 2006).

Challenge - based Learning (CBL) is an interdisciplinary teaching approach devised by Apple (Johnson, 2011), encouraging students to take advantage of the technology they use in everyday life to solve real-world problems. This is a collaborative methodology (Gokhale, 1995) because students work and interact with peers, teachers, and experts; this allowed to deepen topics, identify, and solve problems, act, and share experiences. This methodology was used to make students participate in their learning in a playful context, letting them focusing on a challenge while promoting the authentic use of technology. Moreover, it allowed them to develop the skills of the XXI century and the teachers to completely revisit their educational methodologies, inspiring a deep reflection on the teaching-learning process.

It was decided to integrate the CBL environment with a ludic learning environment to provide students with engaging interdisciplinary learning conditions, creating opportunities to enhance collaborative skills and helping them to learn new concepts and synthesize new information.

The game is set up as an interactive path made of stages recalling the journey of Aeneas from Troy to Rome. Students have to conquer a destination, listening to some verses of the Aeneid referred to the place indicated on a map and through a viewer they will be able to see evocative images of the place. To conquer that goal the user will have to recognize the character that Aeneas met in that place. To continue the journey towards a new destination it is necessary to answer to riddles of increasing difficulty. A semi - quantitative analysis of the results obtained validates the educational effectiveness.