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Games Find Home in the Classroom
Saturday, January 1, 2005
According to researchers at Futurelab, a British nonprofit investigating how technology can be used for innovative learning, video games have the potential to be highly effective tools for holding students' attention and teaching them about a variety of topics. This sentiment echoes recent findings of the London Institute of Education, which said video games have educational potential. "Games teach life skills such as decision making [and] problem solving," according to Futurelab's Martin Owen. One company, Lateral Visions, saw an opportunity in the educational potential of video games and developed an auto-racing game called Racing Academy. In it, players build and maintain the cars they race, using data to try to improve their performance. The game allows players to use chat rooms to exchange information and ideas, and Owen finds this aspect of the game particularly promising for developing student learning. Futurelab researchers who have been testing the game in two secondary schools have had a positive response from most students, and the researchers have generally been supportive of using the game to enhance learning.