For many years, gaming and its influence on children has been a highly debated and controversial topic. Some still see video games as the root of all evil, pointing out the dangers of game addiction and even blaming mass school shootings on them.
However, computer games have also become an increasingly popular tool for education in recent years, and the British education system is no exception. According to one study conducted in 2021, nearly half of the teachers in the UK were using games in lockdown. The majority of teachers surveyed said that the use of games has helped them better engage students in learning a wide array of subjects, from maths and science to history and language.
One of the main advantages of using computer games in education is that they offer a more immersive and interactive learning experience. Games can help students to develop technical competence, problem-solving, creative thinking, and increase confidence, as well as improving their memory, attention span, and hand-eye coordination. By using games, teachers can present complex ideas in a fun and engaging way, making learning more accessible and enjoyable for students of all ages.
Some Examples of Games Used in British Education
There are many games that are currently being used in British education, ranging from simple educational apps to complex simulations and virtual reality experiences. Here are some examples:
Minecraft Education Edition
Minecraft is a popular sandbox game that allows players to build and create their own virtual worlds. Teachers can use Minecraft to teach a range of subjects, such as history, maths, and geography. For example, students can build historical structures, explore different environments, and solve puzzles using Minecraft.
Just recently, the entries have been closed for the 2023 Design Future London Schools Challenge that invited primary and secondary pupils, as well as college and university students, to reimagine Croydon town centre in Minecraft, making it a greener, safer, and more prosperous place for everyone, through a partnership between City Hall, Microsoft’s Minecraft Education and C40 Cities (a group of 96 cities around the world that represents one-twelfth of the world's population and one-quarter of the global economy). The aim of the challenge, open to all students across London, is to inspire young people to develop an interest in designing beautiful, affordable and sustainable places to live, work and visit.
Kerbal Space Program
Kerbal Space Program is a complicated space flight simulation game that allows players to design, build, and launch their own rockets and spacecraft. It is beloved by space and astrophysics enthusiasts, and some players have later gone on to careers in physics, engineering and aeronautics. In education, Kerbal Space Program is being used to teach students of all ages physics, engineering, and space exploration. The game allows to demonstrate physics concepts and engineer creative solutions through experimentation. Students can learn about the laws of physics, the principles of rocket propulsion, and the challenges of space travel by designing and launching their own spacecraft in the game.