A new handbook produced by British educational organization NESTA Futurelab has suggested that teachers should have a detailed and through understanding of computer games to “identify the learning opportunities available and to develop students’ understanding of the game for them to be able to learn from it”.
The handbook tackles the potential role of computer and video games in supporting young peoples’ learning, with suggestions that games of many types can provide powerful learning environments for children.
Futurelab does advise that any entertainment games introduced into schools should be sufficiently challenging and rooted in a firm reality or possess a strong internal structure and logic so that actions taken by the player reveal logical outcomes. The book goes on to suggest that politically- or historically-based strategy games will engage learners by allowing them to explore, manipulate and discuss the factors that have contributed to historical events and to try out alternatives.
The role of young people as game designers is also investigated in the handbook, and is seen as a motivational activity which increases critical thinking about games and offers the students a voice.
Richard Sandford, learning researcher and co-author of Games and Learning, NESTA Futurelab, said: "We hope that this handbook will be read by teachers and game developers who are interested in games-based learning activities. Although the use of computer games for learning is still seen as controversial by some, this handbook sets out all sides of the argument and serves as a useful guide to this emerging and complex issue."
Future information about the work of NESTA Futurelab and information on how to obtain a copy of the handbook can be found at the organization's official website