Games and learning – EA & Futurelab Project

18 01 2006

Forming part of the ongoing Teaching with Games project, EA and NESTA Futurelabs have announced the results of a recent MORI poll, revealing that almost sixty per cent of UK educators support using videogames in education.

In stark contrast to the perpetual media frenzy over the potential negative effects of videogames on the developing minds of minors, the survey revealed an overwhelmingly positive attitude to mainstream videogames, with 59 per cent of respondents confirming that they would consider using games for educational purposes.

The survey, conducted last November, covered a representative sample of 1,000 primary and secondary school teachers in the UK. Of the 59 per cent who considered using games in education, 53 per cent confirmed they would do so because they are an interactive way of motivating and engaging pupils.

91 per cent of respondents believed that playing games developed children’s motor-cognitive skills, while over 60 per cent thought that players would develop their higher order thinking skills and could also acquire topic-specific knowledge.
Claus Due, EA Europe’s market development manager commented: “The Poll confirms what we have long believed at EA – that interactive computer games have the capacity to engage both teachers and learners. In a short space of time, Teaching with Games has already highlighted the importance of collaboration between industry and the education sector, to show how learning can be enhanced through gaming.”

Almost one third of respondents have already used games in education, though the poll also revealed some reluctance from teachers, as almost two thirds felt, despite playing games themselves, that computer games may present stereotypical views of others and lead to anti-social behaviour.

The lack of concrete evidence regarding the educational benefits of videogames, and an overall lack of appropriate resources were also noted as potential barriers to the widespread use of games in schools.

The Teaching with Games project aims to address these and other issues through a series of research and practical experiments, exploring the benefits of using The Sims 2, Rollercoaster Tycoon 3 and Knights of Honor.

A Futures Group, comprised of leading thinkers and practitioners in education, curriculum and games design has been formed, to build upon findings and present possible future scenarios that push current boundaries.

Angela McFarlane, Professor of Education at the University of Bristol and chair of the Futures Group, commented: “There is a great deal of interest in the levels of engagement, and the complex learning, that take place when many young people play games. Early research has shown some powerful outcomes in the classroom, but we need to understand how, when and when not to use games to support education.”

Further information on the work of NESTA Futurelabs, the Teaching with Games project and the results of the MORI poll can be found by visiting the Futurelabs website

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