Games-based learning: five reasons to use electronic games in the classroom
In the past they were just for after-school and weekends, but now video games are fast-becoming valuable resources for the classroom.
Although games-based learning is not yet widespread in UK schools, despite many championing the cause, with Michael Gove, arguing that electronic games could aid the teaching of maths and science, this may start to change.
Games boost pupil’s confidence – According to Derek Robertson from Education Scotland’s Consolarium team, games-based learning can foster pupils’ self-esteem. If pupils play a game with the appropriate level of difficulty, they’ll feel a sense of achievement and satisfaction once they’ve completed a challenge. This should motivate pupils to try their hand at a more difficult game or level next time.
Games develop pupils’ problem solving skills – Video games often require pupils to gather information to solve a mission. Games are designed to be fun and interactive, so pupils are encouraged to work through the game to complete given tasks, solving problems along the way.
Games develop pupils’ social skills – Despite newspaper reports that video games can isolate children, many interactive games actually help to develop pupils’ interpersonal skills. According to education technology specialist Katy Scott, multi-player games can encourage pupils to work together to achieve a goal and, if games consoles are shared between students, pupils will learn how to work in groups.
Games make learning fun – Games can encourage learning when pupils aren’t even aware that they’re doing so. As a result, they can be a fantastic tool to explain concepts to pupils with short attention spans and can be used to motivate learners.
Games force pupils to think – According to Derek Robertson, games-based learning develops learners’ ability to observe, question, hypothesise and test. Many games require gamers to develop a strategy; when things go wrong, pupils need to change their strategy in order to complete the game.
If you’re thinking of introducing electronic games into your classroom using handheld games consoles or tablets, you might want to check out the Traveller™ for Nintendo DSi or the UnoCart™ sync and charge cart for iPads. These solutions can help keep your gaming devices safely stored and charged ready for your pupils to use.
This post has been adapted from the LapSafe® Games-Based Learning Guide, given away at the BETT Show 2012 and produced with the permission of those quoted in this blog.