Games in Education

How can games be used in the pursuit of learning? Computers in Classrooms – a free e-newsletter – is currently featuring a host of articles and reviews on this very subject. Last night I attended the Essex Teachmeet, organised by Danny Nicholson, @dannynic, at which Dawn Hallybone gave a 7-minute race through examples of games she has been using with her primary school children, and how. In the Q & A session afterwards I was impressed by Dawn’s description of the process of using games. It’s not just  a matter of getting a box out of the cupboard and letting the kids get on with it. You have to think about the learning outcomes you want, the pedagogy involved organising the children and so on. And as for teaching to the test, because Dawn uses the games as vehicles for reading, writing and ‘rithmetic, and has them doing activities in strictly timed sessions, they’re prepared for the test anyway. The only difference is that the children haven’t had the joy or learning drummed out of them by the time they take the tests.

So, back to the newsletter. When I decided to focus on games-based learning, I assumed, naively as it turns out, that one issue of the newsletter would suffice. Well, it would, had I wished to produce something so long that nobody would have the time to read it. What I’ve done instead is publish a series of special games-based issues. Tow have been published so far, which include the following articles:

It’s not about the game! Dawn Hallybone discusses activities surrounding games to maximise the benefits of games-based learning.

Red Mist, the prison-based video game. Jude Ower tells us about a game which is won or lost by the state of your emotions!

Creating a game – a positive impact on learning? David Luke reports on research he and colleagues undertook to determine, amongst other things, whether games-based learning disadvantages girls.

Games-based learning: a personal view. Mother and computing graduate Amanda Wilson gives her opinion of games-based learning.

Battling the barriers of games-based learning. John McLear explains how he set about developing a search engine for educational games.

Could Co-operation and Collaboration lead to Greater Achievement than Autonomous Learning?
Do we mistakenly evaluate games-based learning from our perspective as adult learners, asks Doug Woods.

In What2Learn: Helping students play their way to exam success, John Rutherford describes a free bank o resources for playing and even creating games for the classroom.

Action research: In Enhancing mental maths in the primary setting through games-based learning, Emma Barker summarises her MA research findings.

What’s next?

Articles coming up include a review of BESA’s ICT use by primary pupils 2010, reports from FutureLab and the LSN, plus more articles, including original research, and reviews. More of that soon.

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