TURNING FUN INTO LEARNING: HOW SERIOUS GAMES INSPIRE NEW EDUCATIONAL FRAMEWORKS
Active play seems to help build understanding across concrete reality and abstract things. It taps into the world of “fun”, affects emotions and have the ability to involve users more deeply. At the same time it has the potential to motivate behaviours and rise the awareness on how real systems works. This process is connected to the gamification concept and moves several questions about: the role of technologies in enhancing education, what is the change they can favour at societal level and the ethical issues in using serious games in educational environments. The present paper discusses these empirical and pedagogical drivers contributing to the implementation of gamification design in the learning processes. Furthermore it presents a practical case, the InLife's approach, an H2020 project framework for designing different reality-based serious games scenarios. Through InLife educators, parents and therapists can stimulate pupils’ learning process by maximizing enjoyment, engagement and motivation. InLife’s core concept leverages on the potential of the Internet-of-Things (IoT) paradigm to create a link between specific course of action and the learning process. The InLife case is used to discuss the benefits and limitations of gamification design in two peculiar learning environments respectively addressed to pro-environmental awareness and social inclusion.