Gaming gets trialled in the classroom

A lottery funded project into the uses of commercial computer games in the classroom has reached three schools near Brighton

Three UK secondary schools are piloting the use of computer games in the classroom.

The research project 'Teaching with Games', which is to begin in September, will explore whether consumer computer games, such as combat simulation 'Medal of Honour', are beneficial to student learning.

Annika Small, managing director of NESTA Futurelab, the lottery-funded organisation behind the scheme, said it had not yet decided which games to use in the classroom.

She said: "That's the $64,000 question. We are going to look across the range at role playing games and first-person shoot 'em ups, although I'm not convinced of that. We are going to look at three or four games so as not to spread it too thinly.

"It will be games already on the market. The main thrust of this is to see if there is a need for pure entertainment games. By involving the teachers we are hoping they will involve the game developers so [games] will have a greater place in the classroom."

A group of European educationalists, including representatives from Brussels, is monitoring the progress of the scheme.

The UK schools are situated near Brighton (near Futurelab), with a fourth school in Germany being tested.

In a statement, Futurelab said that the study will look at what children can learn from games, how to introduce them in the classroom and what changes might be required to make them relevant in education

The project, also backed by games publisher Electronic Arts, will investigate attitudes of teachers and students towards computer games.

Results of the trial are expected in August 2006.