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Gaming teaches

TIPPINST -- Both Tom Heffernan and Eanna McAteer completed separate third level projects incorporating a game element for primary school students. Their user testing told them that their pre-teen audience wanted to prove that they learned by testing themselves in a gaming situation. That is the same conclusion expressed on some and drawn by researchers at the University of London.

James Paul Gee, author of "What Video Games Have to Teach Us About Learning and Literacy," says that incorporating high-quality gaming into the traditional education setting produces students better able to put their classroom knowledge to use in real-world situations than their
lecture-only counterparts. "For me, learning an area like biology should be about learning to 'play the game' of biology, that is, learning to think, act, and value like a biologist. When you 'play the game of biology, you learn and use lots of facts, but not just in and for themselves, or for a test, but to accomplish your goals in biology and to 'win' the game."

The results of a 2001 U.K. Home Office report supports Gee's contention, confirming that those who play computer and video games regularly are more likely to be academically successful, to go on to higher education and to have better employment prospects. And a report released last year by the University of London's Institute for Education says computer gaming contributes to the development of critical thought processes. The key to achieving this higher level learning, however, is high-quality software more similar to content-rich commercial games like Myst or Age of Empires
than many of the mediocre "edutainment" titles currently available, which focus more on attaining learning objectives than enjoyment.

Technology Review via John Gehl ("The Learning Game")