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Games in Schools conference // How games mesh with formal education

Patricia Wastiau, European Schoolnet, opens the session to present the views of various national Ministries of Education on the integration of games with formal education systems. The two key speakers were Christian Dorninger (Federal Ministry for Education, Arts and Culture, Austria) and Claus Berg (UNI.C, Denmark).

Christian Dorniger (Austria)
He presented projects in Austria for ICT in schools including games-based learning (GBL) using games including Zoo Tycoon, which was used January - November 2008 (study with university of Krems), using informatics and software engineering classes.

Results were:
- Games cannot replace teacher
- teachers need high media competence
-Leisures games have an advantage, non-leisure games are handicapped.


Conclusion: games based and e-learning will be everyday learning.

Claus Berg (Denmark)

Claus presented UNI.C as well as the Denmark’s education portal, EMU.dk
In Denmark the use of digital games is part of the ICT teach strategy in schools, as well as of media literacy for future citizens. Games are part of the reality and daily life and they are part of what the pupils experience in their leisure time. That’s why schools have to take the opportunity to look at them and to include them in the process of learning. Digital games are more particularly used in teaching Danish and foreign languages, but more generally, ICT skills and media education are completely integrated into each subject of the curriculum, and not taught separately.
Games can be a motivator and facilitate learning. It has been noticed that pupil motivation is highly increased when they use digital games.

Concerning the further developments, Denmark tries to combine a top down and bottom up approach. Institutional programmes support IT, and this top-down commitment has encouraged local initiatives.

At the Danish Ministry of Education, the focus is on supporting initiatives that could include games into teaching, there is no need to support development of commercial games, but more on serious games.

Claus Berg, UNI.C (Left)