Learning Tech 3 (English Introduction)

Learning Tech 3 contains three articles under the heading Games and digital learning materials in teaching, each of which explores teachers’ competencies in relation to the subject.


By Anne-Mette Nortvig & Marie Slot

In this third issue of Learning Tech, we have focused on games, digital learning materials, and teaching with a special focus on developing teachers’ competencies. Games in teaching are considered to be able to contribute to the development of students’ narrative competencies and ability to think critically, to strengthen the ability to cooperate, and to contribute to an understanding of moral and ethical issues. At the same time, different types of learning materials increasingly contain game elements and gamification. Thus, great expectations are attached to teachers’ and students’ use of digital and analogue games and game elements in teaching and learning contexts.

Read full preface

From a Scandinavian perspective, didactic research in games, teaching, and learning is still a relatively young field. Many questions are therefore interesting to shed light on both the research and practice context: What significance does it have, for example, that didactic learning materials increasingly contain game elements, and is there a limit to what types of game elements didactic learning materials can contain? What opportunities and challenges are there, for teachers, associated with using didactic games in teaching and learning contexts? And how is the balance created so that the game is motivating for the students, but at the same time relevant to the goals and content of the teaching? These are some of the questions that the magazine’s call raised and that the authors of the contents of this issue have set out to answer.

The journal’s first two articles provide a practical insight into the teacher’s development of competencies in relation to the use of games and digital learning materials in teaching. Based on practice formats, both articles develop both didactic and organizational concepts that frame the teacher’s work. The third article in the magazine examines what happens to young people’s reading habits when digital texts and books gain a foothold in young people’s everyday lives.


By Thorkild Hanghøj, Aalborg University & Lise Møller, University College Capital

The question of what it takes in a didactic perspective to use computer games in teaching is asked by Thorkild Hanghøj and Lise Møller in the article The game-competent teacher. That the question is relevant in a didactic context is attested by e.g. newly created modules in teacher education as well as the great interest that is generally in involving games in school. The article deals with a research-based approach to game research for identity production and new ways of learning in relation to the student’s development of the 21st century competencies. Empirical studies that can contribute knowledge about how games can develop competencies such as creativity, communication, critical thinking, and so on are scarce. In the article, teachers’ game competence is defined as linked to two forms of practice: Game literacy and game mastering. The focus is on how teachers through the use of computer games can engage students, differentiate teaching, create clear progression, promote collaboration and relationships between students, and enable the development of different academic perspectives and competencies through hands-on exploration and design of game worlds. The article concludes with descriptions of didactic possibilities and challenges associated with acting as a game-competent teacher, based on the computer game Torchlight II. The practical organization of game courses in teaching, as well as how to anchor teaching with games with IT supervisors, colleagues, and the local management, is often omitted in the research literature, but in this article these elements are also discussed.


By Birgitte Holm Sørensen, Karin Tweddell Levinsen, & Madeleine Rygner Holm, Aalborg University

The authors ’empirical starting point is a large national school research and development project, which has had the teachers’ competence development as a focal point in a context where the use of iPads was new for both students and teachers. The development of teachers’ competencies is also linked to digital and organizational development opportunities: For how does the teacher work with the iPad’s multimodal and intuitive approach to interaction in teaching? What does an iPad bring with it of new possibilities in the classroom? And how do you work organizationally with practical competence development and the teacher’s digital competencies? In the article, Allan Martin’s model on digital formation (digital competence, digital application, digital transformation) is further developed from a three-part level thinking to rather being dimensions that can understand the teaching profession in relation to practical competence development. The competence model subsequently forms the basis for descriptions and analyzes of e.g. collaboration, knowledge sharing, communities of practice, networking, and innovation. The article also contributes with a number of descriptions of course plans, which in different ways focus on the teacher’s development of digital competencies and concludes with a discussion of the three focus areas in the organizational strategy.


By Gitte Balling, University of Copenhagen

The third article in the theme issue focuses on young people’s digital reading habits. The article is based on a study of young people’s attitudes towards and experience of reading on a screen in order to discuss whether young people who must be considered trained media users are also more accommodating towards reading fiction in digital form. The empirical basis is a focus group survey among 13-14 year old young Danish school students. The empirical basis is thus a study of the digital book as a piece of technology that contains both possibilities and limitations in relation to reading. In a focus group interview among young people, it turns out surprisingly that the paper book is the preferred choice when it comes to reading. They do not explicitly mention flipping and the feeling of paper between the hands, but still point to the paper book as their favorite reading device. As one informant in the project says: “It is as if it is more correct to read with a book in hand”. The three articles do, of course, not provide a definitive answer to what competencies the teacher can benificially develop to work professionally with games and learning materials in teaching. However, it is our hope that with the theme issue we can contribute to the discussion of which competencies qualify the teacher’s decisions in the work with games and learning materials, and we wish you a great time with both the digital and analog reading of Learning Tech 3.

In relation to the teacher’s preparation process, there is often a progression from game literacy towards game mastering. This means that as a teacher you work from uncovering didactic potentials in different game universes, where the game is a text, i.e. a content, towards a realization of didactic potentials through game mastering, where the game becomes a generator of content.

From The game-competent teacher