NESTA Futurelab, a UK-based, partly government-funded organization dedicated to researching, developing and evaluating new technologies for learning, has announced that it is teaming up with publisher/developer Electronic Arts to launch a European study into how computer games can be used in schools.
The research project, named Teaching with Games, will begin in September 2005. It aims to explore the practical issues surrounding the use of interactive computer games in schools and the changes needed to better support learning in schools across Europe.
The study will look at what children can learn from computer games, how best to introduce games into the classroom and what changes might be required to make them relevant to the educational environment. Computer games are beginning to be introduced to schools but do they really work as a tool for education? The practicalities of using games in the classroom will be explored through trials in selected secondary schools in the UK.
The project will also investigate current attitudes of both educators and students towards games and their use in the classroom. The results, expected in August 2006, will assist the development of supporting materials for the use of games in classrooms and contribute to the development of educational computer games in the future.
Annika Small, Managing Director at NESTA Futurelab, commented: "We propose to... [work] closely with teachers and students to design new support materials for use with commercial games. We will evaluate the success of these materials and identify aspects of games that developers could make more relevant to an educational environment. This way we will begin to produce a road map for educators across Europe and go some way to being able to help game developers understand how they could produce games that are well-received in the educational market.."