'Miss, must we really play Tetris again?'

28th July 2006 at 01:00
Games-addicted teachers forcing pupils into playing on computers might seem far-fetched, but a study suggests they could be keener to use them in classes than teenagers.

A poll of 2,300 secondary pupils in England and Wales found students become less convinced of the educational merit of computer games as they grow older. While 66 per cent of 11-year-olds wanted to use them in lessons, only 49 per cent of 15 to 16-year-olds agreed.

In contrast, a poll of 1,000 secondary and primary teachers earlier this year indicated that 59 per cent wanted to use computer games in their classrooms.

Both studies were carried out by Ipsos MORI for the "Teaching with Games" initiative, a project run by Futurelab, an educational research centre in Bristol, with support from companies including Electronic Arts and Microsoft.

Just over half of the pupils who did not want to use computer games in lessons said they "preferred to do other kinds of activities in the classroom".

More than a third suggested that school might take the fun out of the games. Others said they would "prefer to learn, not play games".

Richard Sandford, learning researcher at Futurelab, said the sample size made it difficult to compare teacher and pupil views accurately. But he said the findings suggested that teachers should give more explanation to older pupils when they used computer games in lessons.

"It challenges the stereotype that pupils are constantly-texting PlayStation addicts while their teachers are Luddites," he said.

* eader 16 www.futurelab.org.ukresearchteachingwithgames.htm

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