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Report highlights surge in games technologies engaging college learners

Colleges are substantially increasing their use of games technologies to improve learners’ attendance, motivation and achievement, according to a report by education charity LSN.

More than 2000 games consoles were being used in colleges and schools in 2008/09, compared with just 300 in 2007/08.

LSN’s report suggests implementing gaming technologies into the classroom can significantly improve levels of achievement, attendance and retention rates. Learners using games technologies, including pocket-sized platforms such as Nintendo DS and Sony PSP, were also found to be more confident, motivated and better behaved.

They were particularly successful in supporting learners who have difficulty with literacy or numeracy or have learning disabilities.

Jill Attewell, research manager at LSN, says: “Not only do digital games support the development of a range of skills, they also help engage and motivate learners. This makes them very effective and flexible teaching and learning tools. Many young people are already very familiar with games technologies and enjoy using them. This removes some of the barriers which might otherwise prevent them succeeding.”

Walsall College, together with local schools, has seen the use of Nintendo DS devices improve literacy and numeracy skills for more than 300 learners studying towards GCSEs, many of whom had previously been categorised as NEET – those not in education, employment or training.

Matthew Boulton College has also reported unprecedented 100 per cent attendance and achievement rates since using Sony PSPs to improve a range of learners’ skills, including problem solving.

Ms Attewell adds: “It is vital that teaching and learning continues to evolve and keeps pace with the latest developments, where these can be shown to have a direct beneficial impact on educational outcomes.

“Digital games and handheld technologies are perfect examples of modern innovations that have fantastic applications in the education sphere and we would urge all education professionals to consider how they could integrate these into their provision.”

The report was published at yesterday’s ‘Games-Based Learning 2010’ conference in London, which showcased the innovative use of gaming platforms in a learning environment.

Jason Rainbow

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