Is it time to fire up gaming consoles in classrooms?

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Digital learning has become a significant part of education as a result of the pandemic, and schools are continually finding innovative ways to engage and motivate students online. So, with Ofcom revealing six in ten children played games online in 2021, what might the use of video gaming in the classroom look like to engage students with a model they’re already invested in?

Historically, gaming has been associated with recreational activities rather than as a medium used to boost the diversity of learning techniques, despite it being an actual benefit to a child’s literacy, empathy and imagination.

The question is: Does gaming have a viable role to play right now, as digital learning continues to claw its way to the forefront of education, or is it simply an unwelcome distraction?

The impact

From toddler to teenager, the rich and vivid environments of video games can clearly command the attention of children at all ages. However, it’s important to assess the extent to which video game technology can impact childhood education. One thing that is clear is that students enjoy this approach to learning.

Very few games on the commercial market typically have pure educational value, although evidence suggests that important skills may be built or even reinforced by video games. According to commissioned research, 77% (UK) and 81% (US) of parents viewed gaming as having a positive impact on their children’s learning. In addition, in the next five years, 55% (UK) and 60% (US) of parents expect VR and social gaming to be the technology that will shape learning in the future. 

This research shows that video games are expected to have a substantial impact and an increased role in how children will learn in the years to come. However, the practical implications of this, such as a lack of a wireless connection at home or issues surrounding cost, are varied.

From a parent’s perspective, over-exposure to gaming and excessive screen time has been an ongoing concern for many. Likewise, many schools have been slow to introduce play-based learning into traditional classroom-based lesson structures due to fears that it could distract and damage concentration. 

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