2002 – Report on the educational use of games

Report on the educational use of games

An exploration by TEEM of the contribution which games can make to the education process
Professor Angela McFarlane, Anne Sparrowhawk, Ysanne Heald

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Games in education – Executive summary
‘Computer games’ is a term that is widely used to describe many different activities on the computer. Games can be categorised into broad groups and these teacher led categorisations are comprehensible to parents.
Primary teachers perceive that many educational titles contain a game element, and this perception is shared by children using such software. The games included in this evaluation were all outside this traditional classroom software group.
Games provide a forum in which learning arises as a result of tasks stimulated by the content of the games, knowledge is developed through the content of the game, and skills are developed as a result of playing the game.
It seems that the final obstacle to games use in schools is a mis-match between games content and curriculum content, and the lack of opportunity to gain recognition for skill development. This problem is present in primary schools, but significantly more acute in secondary.
Many of the skills valuable for successful game play, and recognised by both teachers and parents, are only implicitly valued within a school context. Teachers and parents both valued the conversation, discussion, and varied thinking skills demanded by some of the games employed. However,these alone could not justify the use of the games within a crowded school curriculum.
Teachers have highlighted and indicated elements of game structure and form which would enable some of the games to be incorporated into the school context.
Children’s access to games varies as they get older. Their preferences are clearly for adventure and race games and shooting/arcade though girls are far more likely to favour adventure games than boys throughout.
Overall pupils were more likely to play games on a games console rather than a PC, but most played on more than one platform and PC use only dropped below 50% for Key Stage 3 boys.

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Investigación realizada por TEEM Ltd Shelford Studio, 46 Whittlesford Road, Little Shelford, Cambridge, Reino Unido