- 35% of the sample of UK teachers have already used computer games in their teaching
- 60% of teachers would consider using computer games in their teaching in the future.
In Scotland, Learning Teaching Scotland has promoted games in schools, including funding a games and learning centre for excellence.
“Almost 90% of teachers who used games stated they used games in their teaching “to engage students”. Almost half of teachers used them because they “independently wanted to offer an alternate way of teaching”. 31% were “inspired by other teachers”, while 7% had the idea “suggested by students”. The availability of consoles, publicity and articles has little impact on teachers using games.” NFER Futurelab 2009 survey
Not everyone, though, is entirely convinced. A report from Becta (2010) provides a cautionary analysis of GBL. It states, “although some teachers are positive about the potential of games for learning, in particular to improve motivation and engagement, there are a number of challenges to introducing games in formal educational settings.” The following bullets outline the issues and puts forward some responses (in blue) based purpose built GBL rather than commercial games, which have so far tended to be the focus of research.
- The lack of integration of most games with the current curriculum and assessment framework:
- Purpose built GBL should link to the curriculum and assessment framework.
- Annual upgrades can keep them up-to-date.
- Time constraints:
- Games can be designed to fit into standard lesson times.
- Save routines can allow the game play to spill over into a follow-on lesson.
- Technical and logistical issues (cost, licensing, limitations of school computers, technical support):
- Education games needn’t be the all singing dancing, gimmick-laden counterparts of commercial games that require the latest graphic cards.
- Adobe Flash based games can be written without the need to install plug-in and can be quite small in file size provided they are not stuffed with audio and video.
- Lack of teacher skills:
- GBL programs do not need to be overly complicated. Commercial games are complex because need to keep interest over months (to offer value for money) not hours.
- Contextual help can be embedded into the game.
- Not all learners engage with games and many do not see a link between games and learning:
- Purpose built GBL should easily demonstrate link between games and learning. Additional activities should re-enforce the message.
- Teacher and parent concerns over the content of some games (e-safety):
- This really is a problem associated with commercial games rather than purpose built GBL.