Teachers often believe that the children don’t learn anything from playing these games, but that’s usually because the teacher hasn’t played an active role in the games.
(Photo: Colourbox) But even though the games may improve the children’s English language skills, this potential often overlooked in schools.
She heads the ‘Serious Games in a Global Marketplace’ research project, which is funded by the Danish Council for Strategic Research.
Teachers need to join in the fun if computer games are to be used effectively as educational tools.
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“It was the computer games that mattered to them because here English was a means of coping rather than an end in itself as it is at school.
In the classroom they never bothered to look up words, but when they came across new words in the games, they simply couldn’t progress if they didn’t understand what was being said.” The researcher believes there is a great educational potential in computer games, provided that schools get better at recognising the skills that the pupils have attained outside of the school environment, and get better at putting those skills into active use at school.
”The children looked at us in open-mouthed surprise when we asked them whether the games had improved their English language skills.
They said they didn’t get very good grades in their English courses because there they didn’t really make themselves noticed,” she says.