UK-based Teaching with Games, a year long study first announced in August 2005
with the support of major video game companies such as Electronic Arts and Take-Two, has found that video games may have a significant role to play in the modern day classroom.
The report, which included national surveys of primary and secondary teachers and school children aged 11-16, was designed to offer an overview of those participants' use of and attitudes towards commercial computer games in schools. The research also included ten case studies across four separate schools involving the use of EA's The Sims 2
, Atari's RollerCoaster Tycoon 3
, and Sunflowers Interactive's Knights of Honor
Following the study, the report found that 59 percent of teachers who participated would “be willing to consider” using games such as those used in the study in future classroom lessons. That number increased to 67 percent when restricted to just those teachers between the ages 25-34 who had fewer than five years’ teaching experience. Interestingly, but not wholly unexpected, of those teachers surveyed, the most common factor cited in favor of using games in the classroom was “motivating students.” 37 percent of teachers involved in the study noted that they would not use games in the classroom, with many indicating that they believe games offer “little or no educational value.”
Of the students surveyed, 85 percent said that they play computer games outside of school at least once every couple of weeks, while 22 percent noted that they have played these sorts of games in a classroom setting. The study also produced expected findings, including games being played more often by boys (50 percent as compared to 21 percent of girls), while younger children were found to be more frequent game players than those who were older. 62 percent of students surveyed indicated that they would like to use computer games in the classroom, while an overwhelming 89 percent noted that they believe games couple make lessons more interesting.
The survey also covered some of the technical challenges involved with the use of computer games in the the context of a classroom setting as well. According to the report, most of these issues were met with regards to the various types of copy protection that are prevalent in PC software, and the study noted that technical support staff played a key role in overcoming these difficulties.
More detailed information concerning this study and its findings can be found on the official Futurelab website