Close to 60% of UK Teachers want games in the classroom

A MORI Poll investigating teachers' attitudes to mainstream computer games has revealed that 59% would consider using them in the classroom for educational purposes. The willingness of respondents to use computer games was reflected in the fact that almost one third have already used them in their classroom. The Poll was commissioned as part of Teaching with Games, a research project by NESTA Futurelab and Electronic Arts. In addition to higher than expected percentage of teachers interested in the use of games in school, the study also found that 53% of those who would consider using computer games in school would do so because they are an interactive way of motivating and engaging pupils.

The majority of teachers polled believe that playing mainstream games can lead to improved skills and knowledge. For example, 91% felt that players developed their motor-cognitive skills, while over 60% thought that users would develop their higher order thinking skills and could also acquire topic-specific knowledge.

The Poll findings also highlight some barriers to the use of games in schools, noting a lack of access to equipment capable of running the games as well as a lack of strong evidence of the educational value of games, an issue of focus for the Teaching with Games project. The appropriate choice and suitability of computer games to be used was also noted by respondents. Despite over one quarter playing computer games themselves, around two-thirds still felt, for example, that computer games may present stereotypical views of others and lead to anti-social behaviour.

Teaching with Games aims to explore the practical issues surrounding the use of interactive computer games in schools using three games: The Sims 2, RollerCoaster Tycoon 3 and Knights of Honor. In the next phase, researchers will work with teachers to develop lesson plans to support the use of games in classrooms. Also, a 'Futures Group' of leading thinkers and practitioners in education, curriculum and games design has been formed to build upon findings arising from the research and to present possible future scenarios that push current boundaries.

Fieldwork for the MORI Teachers' Omnibus covered a representative sample of 1,000 primary and secondary school teachers in England and Wales and was conducted between 4 and 25 November 2005.

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