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Serious Games Education Study Launched In The UK

Educational serious games provider Caspian Learning has announced a partnership with Specialist Schools and Academies Trust to investigate the impact of serious games in UK schools through 2008, with results to be presented directly to Department of Educa
Educational serious games provider Caspian Learning has announced a partnership with Specialist Schools and Academies Trust (SSAT) to investigate the use and impact of serious games in up to 400 SSAT ICT Register schools in the UK. The research study will last until January 2008. These findings will be presented to policy makers including the DfES and BECTA. “We expect this UK-wide study to identify just how beneficial teaching through games and game development can be. It is sure to have a wide-reaching influence on new policy in this area,” explained Caspian Learning COO Graeme Duncan. The study, funded by DfES (Department for Education and Skills)/BECTA (British Educational Communications and Technology Agency) will last for one year and examine how serious games “can improve learner engagement, measure improvement in cognitive and meta cognitive skills and encourage collaboration amongst students.” Specifically the study will look at how such games can be beneficial in schools, as well as how serious game engines can be used within an educational setting. Other goals include the evaluation of the educational value of games created by students and teachers; the creation, evaluations, and refinement of how students' thinking skills are measured; and the promotion and development of “an online community of ‘educational gamers’ across the network of ICT Register schools to encourage collaboration and peer review.” The games will be used during lessons as part of the project’s assessment. Research and assessment will also be carried out through questionnaires completed by teachers and students, participation in project forums and site visits to the schools by the partner groups. In addition, every game edited or created by the schools will be uploaded to Caspian Learning's Thinking Worlds community site and made available to a global community of gamers. Of the schools taking part in the study, Caspian Learning officials note that 22 will be selected to form the evaluation and development group and will provide formal feedback throughout the study. 11 primary and 11 secondary schools, one from each of the SSAT regions, will make up the overall group of 22. The group will be representative of all geographical areas in England and will reflect a mix of pupils from inner city, urban and rural environments. “Learner engagement and thinking skills development are just some of the overall benefits that can by enjoyed by getting children involved in the use of game-based learning materials,” commented Duncan. “Furthermore by being able to adapt and tailor games used in the classroom we can also start to understand some of the critical considerations in deploying a flexible design tool within the personalized learning agenda.”

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