Results extracted from Games in Schools survey, 2015. Click to enlarge

Video Games benefit education

Educators and educational institutions are becoming increasingly interested in the potential role of video games to support young people’s learning experience. Teachers are using games in the classroom to increase student engagement and learning outcomes, encourage team work, strategic thinking and help students with difficulties to reconnect with school when more traditional approaches have failed to unlock their full potential. Recent research demonstrates the importance of identifying video gaming girls, as they are three times more likely to enroll in STEM programmes than girls who do not play video games.

Games in schools

Commercial games, such as Minecraft (Microsoft) or Assassin’s Creed Origins (Ubisoft) have at the request of teachers developed specific modes to enhance coding or historical knowledge. The Games in Schools project is an innovative collaboration between ISFE and European Schoolnet on the use of games in schools in Europe and how to help teachers to use such games to enhance the teaching environment.

The 2019 edition of Games in Schools was launched on 16 October during EU Code Week. More than 3,900 teachers and educators across Europe registered to follow the Games in Schools’ online courses, to end on 4 December 2019.

 

The project started with a 6-week long Massive Online Open Course (MOOC) including the following modules:

    1. Module 1: Why use Computer Games in the classroom? – 14 October
    2. Module 2: Using Games for Thematic Learning – 21 October
    3. Module 3: Learning Games – 28 October
    4. Module 4: What can we learn from games? – 04 November
    5. Module 5: Designing Games – 11 November
    6. Module 6: Why is it important to teach about games? – 18 November

At the end of the course, teachers will be asked to come up with a tailored lesson plan with game-based learning elements. An Editorial Board of Teachers will peer-review the lesson plans and include the best ones in the teacher’s handbook on the use of video games in schools. The handbook will be completed in early 2020 and will be presented at ISFE’s annual event in Brussels.  The former version of the handbook (2013), is available here.

Other education projects

1. Past iterations of Games in Schools

In its goal to encourage the use of video games for pedagogical purposes, ISFE entrusted European Schoolnet to carry out a study to find out more about how games are effectively and meaningfully used in school education. The study, conducted from Spring 2008 to Spring 2009, draws a picture of the penetration of games in schools across 8 European countries: Austria, Denmark, France, Italy, Lithuania, the Netherlands, Spain (Catalonia) and the United Kingdom. Read or download the report.

Following the study, a six-weeks long MOOC for teachers on how to use games in schools was elaborated. Delivered via the European Schoolnet Academy platform, the course content was coordinated by European Schoolnet with the support of Ollie Bray, an innovative educator and headteacher from Scotland. With an 80% engagement rate and a 39% retention rate, the MOOC provided hugely positive results thanks to hundreds of teachers providing additional data on how games can be used in classrooms. The evaluation report provides important indications on the challenges that teachers face when using games in the class room: Technology and logistical issues were the most common challenges identified by the teachers, spanning from lack of internet access and of devices, to lack rules for the use of students’ own devices and lack of budget.

The Handbook for teachers, written by Dr Patrick Felicia, researcher at the Waterford Institute of Technology in Ireland, is based on the outcome of the MOOC and outlines the necessary information to understand the educational benefits of digital games and to learn how to use them as educational and motivational resources. It allows teachers to make informed decisions on the choice and use of digital games in the classroom. It is available for download here.

2. UK Digital School House

Ukie’s Digital Schoolhouse, powered by PlayStation, and sponsored by SEG, Ubisoft and Warwickshire County Council uses play-based learning to engage the next generation of pupils and teachers with the new Computing curriculum (introduced in September 2014). Workshops are hosted by Digital Schoolhouses (usually secondary schools) and taught by their appointed Digital Schoolhouse Lead Teacher (DSLT) to visiting primary schools. The programme ensures its teachers are ever-empowered, confident and inspired to deliver Creative Computing in classrooms across the UK; providing free online adaptable resources, ingenious training and opportunities. All of this is underpinned by academic research and education philosophies.
3. The UN agency UNESCO MGIEP has launched an initiative on Games in Learning
  1. Game-based learning provides a promising new pedagogy, which allows learners to proceed at their own pace. supports research in gaming as it places the learner at the centre of learning by providing an interactive, immersive, multimodal environment. Link http://mgiep.unesco.org/games-for-learning