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Games in Schools conference // presentation of the study

This session presented the detailed results of the study, and included the following presentations:
- Context of the study: industry perspective - Patrice Chazerand (ISFE)
- Why do we need to know more about the use of games in schools? Marc Durando (European Schoolnet)
- Teacher survey results - Wouter Van den Berghe (European Schoolnet consultant)
- Case studies - Caroline Kearney (European Schoolnet)
- Comparative policy framework - Patricia Wastiau (European Schoolnet)
- Scotland's got game: and is embracing games-based learning! - Derek Robertson (Learning and Teaching Scotland)

Left to right: Wouter Van den Berghe, Patricia Wastiau, Marc Durando, Derek Robertson, Patrice Chazerand

-Patrice Chazerand (ISFE)
Patrice Chazerand: ISFE has always cared about the impact and reputation of videogames. The industry is very conscious of the social responsibility it bears. The PEGI system was for instance created to give parents, caretakers and educators information about the content of the games and the suitability of this content for children. Besides, annual conferences gathering experts and policymakers are organised by ISFE to discuss these games issues.

Patrice Chazerand nevertheless regretted that policymakers often focus on the violence of some videogames. ISFE has consequently a great role to play in this regard, and was supported in this particular initiative by European Schoolnet, which shares the same vision, and benefits from the support of big network of active teachers and educators. Their involvement is indeed necessary for something to happen. He underlined how important the practical aspect is: one of the major achievements of this project is the community of practice.

-Marc Durando (European Schoolnet)

Marc opened this session which aims to present the results of the survey by European Schoolnet by presenting European Schoolnet, a network of 31 Ministries of Education in Europe. It provides services for schools, develops networks between various European actors in the area of ICT in education and serves as an observatory of practice.

European Schoolnet wanted to look at how teachers use games in schools while adopting a very neutral perspective for or against the use of games. This study was developed without the use of public funds with the financial support of ISFE.

Three dimensions in eight countries:

- Teachers
- Practice and use (primary and secondary)
- Education systems

We think today should be very fruitful we thank ISFE, the experts and the team of European Schoolnet for their support and the quality of the work produced here

- Wouter Van Den Berghe, European Schoolnet Consultant

- Wouter presents the results of the survey, highlighting the results are available on the full report, which gives the full results of the survey (http://games.eun.org/upload/gis-full_report_en.pdf) and the synthesis report showing key figures (http://games.eun.org/upload/gis-synthesis_report_en.pdf).
The survey in a nutshell:
- 500 responses
- 70 percent use games at schools
- majority of female teachers
- More secondary (48%) than primary (40%)
- Most respondent have good ICT skills
- Teachers from all subjects

The overwhelming majority of respondents was in favour of using games in schools and have a wide range of expectations, educational as well as practical. The highest expectation was to use games to increase the motivation of pupils, as long as it is relevant with the curriculum. Another major expectation was to enhance pupils’ cooperation and team working skills. The respondents also underlined that some particular features were required for games to be used in schools: flexible use, valid content and user-friendliness were the most popular answers.

A point of high interest is that games are mainly used to teach (foreign) languages and team work.

One of the major obstacles is the difficulty to integrate games in the curriculum, but also the insufficient availability of computers and the negative opinions towards games, while the advantages are above all the increase of the motivation to learn, and the support games can offer for students in difficulty

- Caroline Kearney
Caroline Kearney explained the rationale for games studies. The case studies included examples from Italy, Scotland and Netherlands (large scale projects) and France, Austria and Netherlands (smaller scale).

Some of the main features include:
- Some case studies are commercial games others are educational games.
- Some target primary, other secondary.
- A wide range of subjects was covered with an interesting point with two different games been used the teach the same subject (math) (showing flexibility of commercial games)

- Clear that the games used within a structured pedagogical framework (ex DANTE game in Italy)
- Games’ interaction with traditional pedagogy proved to also be a feature of the games selected
- Collaborative experiences with the whole school community was also noticed in the case studies (also parents were involved)


- Patricia Wastiau
Patricia carries on by explaining how the education systems react differently to the use of games. So the survey also looked at the way education systems use Games in schools including:
- As tools to support pupils with learning difficulties
- As a tool for modernising education
- As a tool for innovation and development of advanced skills
- As a tool to prepare pupils for the vitual worlds of modern societies

This comparison result from a need to
* evaluate the practice of teachers and why this practice
* re examination of the potential of games (especially as regards learning/cognitive process)
* support experiments at grass root levels (for instance through the development of community of practice, for instance European Schoolnet has launched such a community at: http://gamesinschools.ning.com/)

=> Using games in schools has an interesting potential which calls for more research in the topic and use. The role of teachers and how they are trained is also a crucial point.

*Derek Robertson, Scottish example
Explain the Consolarium (Scottish Centre for Games and Learning)
Try to get the message a cross in schools and see how games can be used in class. We started with a game in 2006. They are interested in games that pupils choose to play rather than the games than games that school would select. Ex Dr Kawashima brain train. The Dr Kawashima Project looked in 2007 at impact of games on children's attainment in mental maths. Looking at the impact on accuracy of calculation and speed of calculation for instance.
Another game 'Nintendogs' which proved to enhance independent learning.

Derek Robertson

Guitar Hero is the last game mentioned by Derek which was looked at by the Consolarium. Guitar hear has become a hub for cross curricular projects. But also fostered high levels of creativity, excitement, which are all behaviours we want to see at school.


Please check this site and
get back with me.
thanks Frank

Guitar Hero and Nintendogs are both great games. It's a great way to learn and enjoy at the same time.

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