Thursday, 31 January 2008

Games Based Learning

As a keen advocate of games-based learning (first lesson in 1989!!) I was delighted to be able to hear Derek Robertson from Learning & Teaching Scotland speak during my recent visit to the UK. Derek is pioneering games-based learning with evaluative research in Scotland, and is envied by many, not just because he has a great job, but because he has a cupboard full of 500 Nintendo DS consoles!

At Kellett we have begun to immerse ourselves into games-based learning; P5 students completed a module stemming from the use of Rollercoaster Tycoon last year, covering a number of areas in their Literacy work. We hope to repeat this work during the summer term.

As time progresses more modules will be introduced, and as we move into secondary our students will look at aspects of game design.

Games companies are beginning to pay more attention to education in general and many games are now designed specifically with education in mind. Nintendo, for instance have developed a number of games which fall into the mental agility category, the most famous of which is probably Dr Kawashima's Brain Training for the DS. Derek Robertson's project on using Dr Kawashima in schools looked at aspects of Numeracy in three Primary Six classes. His research certainly makes interesting reading and food for thought for the sceptics!

The latest game which could make an impact in the 'Edutainment' stakes is another mental agility tool for the Nintendo DS; Professor Kageyama's Maths Training. This game aims to offer the opportunity to practise maths skills on a daily basis using the Nintendo dual screen to provide answers. If any pupil gets their hands on a copy I'd love to have a look at it!

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