As the weather seems to be taking on a distinctly autumnal feel and we prepare for the start of term there is opportunity to reflect on an event I attended in the summer. One of these was the ’Applied Minds – Looking to the future’ workshop, hosted by Mounts Bay School in the lovely settings of Tregenna Castle. The Applied Minds workshop provided ET with an opportunity to engage with teachers, from local primary and secondary schools who were meeting to share best practice and discuss the future of education.
I hosted two 20 minute round table discussions on the topic of games based learning (GBL) each of which started with an introduction to games based learning. Participants were particularly interested in successful examples of games being used for learning elsewhere, a couple of those that we looked at were:
A location based game simulating lion behaviour. Designed by Futurelab with the BBC National History Unit it enabled young children to role play the life of lions – players work together to carry out a series of ‘Lion Missions’ (such as marking territory, hiding cubs and hunting)
An East Lothian secondary school used Guitar hero for a whole term using the game as a basis for a personal research project on a rock star; a starting point for discussion regarding cultural and economic factors in different countries; to consider instruments used in different religions; looking at design and marketing merchandise; to build on geography lessons (planning tour etc).
What followed were some really interesting conversations about how games can be incorporated into teaching, with some participants already having experience of this. There were many perceived benefits expressed by the teachers using GBL, the two most common being increasing pupil motivation and being able to allow students (or players) to draw upon and develop a wide range of skills. We over-ran our 20 minute slot on both occasions, often drawing the interest of other workshop delegates passing by. It’s safe to say the enthusiasm for GBL is healthy, and given the time and resources we will see GBL increasingly present in mainstream education.