The Impact Of Games In The Classroom

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The impact of consolegames in the classroom:Evidence from schoolsin ScotlandThis report was commissioned by Learning and Teaching Scotlandin partnership with Futurelab.www.futurelab.org.ukThis document is designed to be read with Adobe Acrobat

The impact of consolegames in the classroomDeclaration & AcknowledgementsJen Groff, Cathrin Howellsand Sue CranmerFuturelab 2010DeclarationThe views contained in this report are those of the authors anddo not necessarily represent the views of Learning and TeachingScotland.AcknowledgementsWe would like to thank the school leaders, teachers and studentswho generously participated in this study at the following schools:Balmedie Primary SchoolBo’ness AcademyCathkin Community NurseryThe Community School of AuchterarderCowie Primary SchoolCumbernauld Primary SchoolDalry Primary SchoolElrick Primary SchoolGavinburn Primary SchoolGrangemouth High SchoolHallside Primary SchoolInverurie AcademyLairdsland Primary SchoolLonghaugh Primary SchoolMeldrum Primary SchoolMusselburgh Grammar SchoolPerth High SchoolSt Andrew’s and St Bride’s High SchoolWallace High School2

The impact of consolegames in the classroom3Executive summary04Games and home life54Introduction08Case studies of classroom levelactivity using console games58Summary review of the literature11A taxonomy of educational benefitsof gaming in school75Teaching with ol leader perspectives onconsole game-based learning25Glossary83Classroom teacher perspectives oneducational gaming36References85Student perspectives on educationalgaming48Appendices88

The impact of consolegames in the classroomExecutive summaryIntroductionSummary reviewTeaching with gamesMethodsSchool leader perspectivesTeacher perspectivesStudent perspectivesGames and home lifeCase eferencesAppendicesExecutive summaryExecutive summary4

The impact of consolegames in the classroomExecutive summaryIntroductionSummary reviewTeaching with gamesMethodsSchool leader perspectivesTeacher perspectivesStudent perspectivesGames and home lifeCase studiesTaxonomyConclusionsThis research was commissioned by Learning and TeachingScotland (LTS) in partnership with Futurelab. The main focus of theproject was to identify the educational benefits of console gamebased learning in primary and secondary schools. The project alsosought to understand how the benefits of educational gaming couldtransfer to other settings and, in particular, how the model of theLearning and Teaching Scotland Consolarium – the national centrefor games and learning that explores and supports game-basedlearning (GBL) in the classroom – could be modified, extended orenhanced. For this purpose, research was carried out in classroomsin Scotland to explore learning with games played on gamesconsoles, such as PlayStations, Xboxes and Wiis. Interviews werecarried out with school leaders, classroom teachers and students in19 schools followed up by a series of lesson observations in four ofthese schools. Game-based learning approaches can increase communicationbetween parents and teachers and school leaders and enhanceparental engagement in children’s learning;Key findings Resourcing game-based learning approaches can be difficult.Further support would be ices5Executive summaryDrawn from all phases of the research – senior leadership andteacher interviews, student focus groups, and classroomobservations – key findings of the project are: Game-based approaches present an excellent opportunity toengage students in activities which can enhance learning andproduce a range of educational benefits; Game-based learning approaches need to be well planned andclassrooms carefully organised to engage all students in learningand produce appropriate outcomes; Game-based learning approaches build on many children’sexisting interests, skills and knowledge and can narrow the gapbetween children’s home and school cultures; Teachers often have to overcome a number of barriers andreservations about using game-based learning approaches inclassrooms, however when they do so, they are convinced of theresults; Game-based learning approaches have the capacity to increaseteacher motivation; Teachers need support, from peers, school leadership and outsideresources, in order to use games well for learning and mediatethem effectively; Curriculum for Excellence is seen by the people interviewed forthe study as an opportunity to try out new things such as gamebased learning complemented by emerging Assessment is forLearning criterion.Summary of findings from the interviews withschool leadersThe interviews with school leaders found that: School leaders were well informed and very enthusiastic about therole of game-based learning in schools and perceive manybenefits for teachers as well as students — including harnessingchildren’s current culture, engaging and motivating children andpreparing children for future life;

The impact of consolegames in the classroomExecutive summaryIntroductionSummary reviewTeaching with gamesMethodsSchool leader perspectivesTeacher perspectives Schools have usually become involved in game-based learningthrough contact with the LTS Consolarium; School leaders face a number of barriers in encouraging gamebased learning in their schools which include resourcing issuesand teachers’ initial reticence to get involved; School leaders believe that the principles underpinningCurriculum for Excellence will provide new opportunities forlearning;Student perspectivesGames and home lifeCase eferencesAppendices6Executive summary School leaders believe that changes in teaching and learning inschools are attributable more to Curriculum for Excellence andthe development of active and interdisciplinary learning ratherthan game-based learning approaches.Summary of findings from the interviews withclassroom teachersThe interviews with classroom teachers found that: Teachers may have had initial reservations about trying outgame-based learning, but those who did, believed it enhancedlearning; Teachers who participated in game-based learning indicated itengaged and motivated their students to a significant extent; Many of the teachers were not experienced with the games butallowed their students to guide them with the technology; Teachers were prepared to alter their classroom practices toincorporate game-based learning activities; Many of the teachers accessed and valued the support systemscoordinated by Learning and Teaching Scotland, local authorityteams and the LTS Consolarium; Many of the teachers were willing to share their practice withothers and believed that more teachers should incorporategame-based learning approaches with their students.Summary of findings from the interviews withstudentsThe interviews with students found that: Students perceived a range of educational benefits as a result ofparticipating in the game-based learning approaches, includingincreased collaboration, creativity and communication; Students’ responses in general showed how positively theyviewed console games and the projects built around them inschool; Some students found aspects of the projects repetitive, othersbelieved that game-based learning should be included in thecurriculum as part of a balance between new and moretraditional learning experiences; In some classrooms, students found other students playinggames whilst they were trying to work distracting.

The impact of consolegames in the classroomExecutive summaryIntroductionSummary reviewTeaching with gamesMethodsSchool leader perspectivesTeacher perspectivesStudent perspectivesGames and home lifeCase eferencesAppendicesExecutive summaryRecommendationsThe following recommendations have been developed throughcareful consideration of the findings from all phases of the project.For policy: Policymakers should encourage and support schools to introducewell-planned game-based learning initiatives into classrooms; Policymakers should ensure that flexibility is available within thecurriculum and assessment regime to ensure that game-basedlearning can be accommodated; Policymakers should ensure that school leaders and teachers arereassured that game-based learning approaches fit with the aimsof Curriculum for Excellence; Policymakers should continue to support and, where possible,increase the support given to schools in order to encouragegame-based learning approaches.For school leaders: School leaders should encourage and support classroom teachersto introduce well-planned game-based learning initiatives intoclassrooms; School leaders should acknowledge that game-based learningapproaches present a new challenge for many teachers and theyneed to be well supported; School leaders need to continue to work alongside parents forthem to understand the educational benefits of game-basedlearning and to be able to support their children with this.7

The impact of consolegames in the classroomExecutive summaryIntroductionSummary reviewTeaching with gamesMethodsSchool leader perspectivesTeacher perspectivesStudent perspectivesGames and home lifeCase eferencesAppendicesIntroductionIntroduction8

The impact of consolegames in the classroomExecutive summaryIntroductionSummary reviewTeaching with gamesMethodsSchool leader perspectivesTeacher perspectivesStudent perspectivesGames and home lifeCase eferencesAppendices9IntroductionThere has been much interest in the potential of console games1 forlearning and teaching in recent years. They are popular with youngpeople - a recent survey carried out for Futurelab showed that 79%of 737 children aged five to 15 played computer games at homealone ‘at least a few times a week’ (Ulicsak and Cranmer, 2010).At the same time, a growing number of research studies show thatthere are educational benefits to be derived from gaming inclassrooms and, informally, at home. Playing computer games atschool is seen to be one of a number of technologically orientedactivities which can overcome what has been referred to as the’digital disconnect’ whereby children engage in rich and extensiveuses of Information and Communication Technologies (ICTs) athome but this knowledge and experience is then kept outside of theschool gates (Buckingham, 2007).Learning and Teaching Scotland (LTS) — a non-departmental publicbody sponsored by the Scottish Government Schools Directorate— is the lead organisation for curriculum development in Scotlandand offers support and guidance to teachers, early yearspractitioners, schools and education authorities to help improveachievement for all. In response to these issues, Learning andTeaching Scotland were keen to explore the benefits and possibilitiesof using computer games in schools and to support innovativepractices, so in 2006 it established the Consolarium—a game-basedlearning centre in Dundee. This centre’s aims were to: Explore the range of games technologies available and in doing sopractically and theoretically inform and influence new curriculumdevelopments and approaches to pedagogy;1 The term ‘console games’ is used in this report to describe video, computer and digitalgames of any genre played on games consoles such as Xboxes, PlayStations and Wiis. Provide a place where education managers and others involved ineducation could visit and get hands-on access to a range ofGBL resources; Act as a catalyst to encourage teachers and educators to begin toengage with the debate about the place of such technology in theirclass, school or local authority; and Develop relationships with academic and industry partners toexplore and articulate what effective GBL and practice andresources looked like.This led to a number of LTS Consolarium supported projects inschools in almost all of the 32 local authorities across Scotland.The centre has worked with many teachers to adapt or ‘retro-fit’commercial off-the-shelf games for nursery, primary and secondaryschools. Some examples include Dr Kawashima’s Brain Trainingand Nintendogs (Wastiau et al. 2009).The main focus of the Impact of Games in the Classroom projectwas to identify the educational benefits of game-based learning inschools. For this purpose, research was carried out in classrooms inScotland to explore learning with games played on games consoles,such as PlayStations, Xboxes and Wiis. The project also sought tounderstand how the benefits of educational gaming could transfer toother settings and, in particular, how the LTS Consolarium modelcould be modified, extended or enhanced.Curriculum for Excellence2 will be introduced at the start of theschool year 2010-2011. The new curriculum has been designed toensure that children and young people have a seamless transition2 See ce/index.asp for theCurriculum for Excellence website.

The impact of consolegames in the classroomExecutive summaryIntroductionSummary reviewTeaching with gamesMethodsSchool leader perspectivesTeacher perspectivesStudent perspectivesGames and home lifeCase eferencesAppendicesIntroductionthrough the different stages of their education from the age of 3 to18. It has been developed around four main capacities, to enableeach young person to be a successful learner, a confidentindividual, a responsible citizen and an effective contributor.Learning with and about technologies is embedded across allsubjects in the curriculum and the ability of computer games tosupport the development of skills and knowledge has beenhighlighted. As a result, LTS commissioned this research inpartnership with Futurelab. The report will firstly introduce the areaof game-based learning through a summary of the literature,introduce the methods that were used for the collection of data, andthen report on interviews with school leaders, teachers and studentsin discrete chapters followed by four case studies to give in-depthexamples of the kinds of approaches taken in four schools inScotland. These outputs will then be further analysed to produce ataxonomy of educational benefits of gaming in schools, a summaryof the specific challenges and opportunities as raised in theinterviews and, finally, recommendations for the furtherdevelopment of educational gaming strategies and policiesin the UK (aimed at policy and school leadership audiences).10

The impact of consolegames in the classroomExecutive summaryIntroductionSummary reviewTeaching with gamesMethodsSchool leader perspectivesTeacher perspectivesStudent perspectivesGames and home lifeCase eferencesAppendicesSummary review of the literature: games and learningSummary review of theliterature: games and learning11

The impact of consolegames in the classroomExecutive summaryIntroductionSummary reviewTeaching with gamesMethodsSchool leader perspectivesTeacher perspectives12Summary review of the literature: games and learningDigital games have made their ways into classrooms over the pastseveral decades. While the types of games and instructionalapproaches with them have varied, there has been a considerableincrease in attention and analysis of their use for pedagogicalpurposes in the last several years. This literature reviewsummarizes the notable documents from this discourse, looking atlearning theory, impact and outcomes, and challenges as pertinentto the lens of console game-based learning. Section 3 of the reportconcludes the literature review by looking at effective teachingmethods and approaches for game-based learning.One of the biggest downfalls of this genre is that the learningobjective is quite evident to the learner and often doesn’t have muchmeaning for the learner; however, in more robust, interactivelearning games, the learning objective is submerged in a rich worldthat creates learning opportunities (Ahuja, Mitra, Kumar & Singh,1994). This latter type of learning game is much less prevalent thatthe former, which has resulted in an overall negative stereotype tothe learning games industry (Klopfer, Osterweil & Salen, 2009).The genre of digital games spans a large spectrum of technologies,including video or console games (such as those played on the SonyPlayStation or Nintendo Wii), computer games (those played on aPC), and handheld gaming (such as the Nintendo Game Boy or DS).The types of games for these platforms can vary considerably - fromdrill-and-skill games to action/adventure immersive worlds.Appendix 2 describes the general categories of games available. Itshould be noted that these categories are not necessarily discreteand several of these genres would apply to games considered’edutainment’ - applications designed for leisure with an educationalcomponent built in.Despite the mixed success of games designed specifically foreducation, the impact of commercial digital games has drawn manyeducators and researchers to question how they might be used tofacilitate student learning. Over the past decade, the use of digitalgaming in education has prompted considerable attention inexploring how and why games might be powerful tools in theclassroom. As a result of this interest, there is a considerable bodyof literature available on game-based learning in the classroom andthe potential benefits of this for education and learning. This reporthas drawn on a number of these studies to provide a context for theoverall project.The popularity of games in mainstream culture has spurred many toquestion how games might be used to engage young people insidethe classroom. Efforts to harness the motivational power of gameshave resulted in the emergence of the edutainment industry - gamesspecifically designed to help individuals learn specific content andskills. Unlike their ‘big brother’, commercial off-the-shelf gamesdesigned for leisure and entertainment, learning-oriented gamestend to be more simplistic as their development budgets are oftennot nearly as high. Yet this has been considered the secondaryreason for the minimal success of the edutainment games.By the term console gaming we are referring to specialisedcomputer devices used to play video games where the playerinteracts with the unit via an external controller or joystick.Examples include the Microsoft Xbox, Sony PlayStation andNintendo Wii.Game-based learningStudent perspectivesGames and home lifeCase eferencesAppendicesLearning theory, as it relates to gamesThe vast array of games that learners can engage with presentsmultiple dimensions in which games engage learners. How thesegames are designed, as well as how they are implemented in the

The impact of consolegames in the classroomExecutive summaryIntroductionSummary reviewTeaching with gamesMethodsSchool leader perspectivesTeacher perspectivesStudent perspectivesGames and home lifeCase eferencesAppendices13Summary review of the literature: games and learningclassroom, can be organized as to how they relate to learning theory(Egenfeldt-Nielsen, 2006; Kirriemuir & McFarlane, 2004):Behaviourism: A view of learning, which occurs throughreinforcement to stimuli and response. Games designed on thislearning principle generally present the player with a task or skill tobe repeated until mastered or conquered, receiving rewards afterattainment. Those games considered drill-and-skill edutainmentoften fall into this category. Since these tasks are extrinsicallymotivated, learning is seen as transmission rather than construction(Good & Brophy, 1990). As such, the critique of this type of game isthat it is considered training

1 The term ‘console games’ is used in this report to describe video, computer and digital games of any genre played on games consoles such as Xboxes, PlayStations and Wiis. Introduction Introduction Teaching with games Student perspectives Conclusions School leader perspectives Case studies Glossary Met

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