Games in Schools – Learning by playing for a digital society

16 October 2019 - 09:00 - 11:00 a.m. - Rue de Trèves 61, Brussels

European Schoolnet (the network of 34 Ministries of Education) and ISFE have teamed up to launch the fifth edition of Games in Schools, a project aimed at training teachers across Europe on the use of commercial video games as pedagogical support for their classrooms. The project starts with a 6-week long MOOC (Massive Online Open Course) during which teachers are asked to come up with a tailored lesson plan including game-based learning elements. Following a peer-review process, the best ones will then be included within a teacher’s handbook on the use of video games in schools that will be released, and made available for free, early 2020.

Click here to learn more about Games in Schools 

On 16 October, during EU Code Week, 40+ representatives from the teaching community and the European institutions gathered in the Future Classroom Lab to learn more about Games in Schools and its main features. Viola Pinzi, Project Manager at European Schoolnet, welcomed the participants with a presentation of the project, which has now attracted more than 3,900 teachers and educators across Europe.

Participants then benefitted from a discussion on how can games and ICT help pupils to become active digital citizens and creators, moderated by Shahneila Saeed, Head of Education at Ukie Digital Schoolhouse. The discussion featured:

  • Julie FIONDA, Deputy Head of Unit on Skills and Qualifications, DG EMPL
  • Jakub KAJTMAN, Member of the EU Code Week coordination team, European Commission
  • Daniela HAU, Secondary School Teacher expert on digital game-based learning
  • Alexa JOYCE, Director at Microsoft Corporation, Education Engagement Team

The panelists underlined the need to prepare both students and teachers for the evolving world of work, and reflected on how video games can support in this area. As such, game-based learning has the potential to enable teachers to integrate digital citizenship education, basic digital skills and an experiential learning approach in their classrooms in innovative and interactive ways, although this also comes with challenges, with teachers having to rethink their role, or to take into account their students’ safety when using digital games.

Video games increase student engagement and learning outcomes, encourage team work, strategic thinking and help students with difficulties to reconnect with school when more traditional approaches do not unlock their full potential. Importantly, games are an opportunity to talk about gender equality, encouraging greater diversity by tackling stereotypes that exist in STEM subjects. Recent research demonstrates the importance of identifying video gaming girls, as these are three times more likely to enroll in STEM programmes than girls that do not play video games.

Following the panel discussion, participants were encouraged to test various solutions already used in classrooms as pedagogical support:

The ACO: Discovery Tour of Ancient Greece offered participants an educational experience to enhance history learning in an open, living, 3D world. The “Discovery Tour” is a virtual museum including guided tours and historical sites in Ancient Greece to explore. It includes hours of content on philosophy, arts, historical events, curated by independent experts from all over the world.

Minecraft Education offers immersive learning lessons for students, building essential skills as teamwork, problem solving and basic digital skills such as coding. The game includes features especially designed for teachers, supporting them in classroom management and formative assessment.

Future Classroom Lab is also a place where participants were able to test playful and innovative learning solutions that redefine how a lesson could be given to students. KODU Game Lab, available for hands-on testing, provides a concrete and gamified approach to coding, in which players can create interactive worlds and share it with other users.

You can find out more information about Games in Schools on our website or on European Schoolnet website, and discover the Games in Schools Massive Open Online Course (MOOC) on the EUN AcademyParticipants of the MOOC are already sharing their experiences on Twitter with the hashtags #GamesInSchools and #GamesCourse

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