Tag Archives: school

Game-based learning: latest evidence and future directions

In 2013, the National Foundation for Educational Research released this report:

Game-based learning: latest evidence and future directions.

Authors: Carlo Perrotta, Gill Featherstone, Helen Aston and Emily Houghton.

Data examined: 31 works of various types from 2006-13.

Abstract: This review is the first output in the Innovation in Education strand of NFER’s research programme. This strand will provide evidence about new approaches to education, teaching and learning and aims to identify rewarding learning experiences that will inspire, challenge and engage all young people, equipping them with the essential skills and attitudes for life, learning and work in the 21st Century. Interest around the use of video games in education is high, and following the emergence of new trends like ‘gamification’, Futurelab@NFER felt that it was timely to provide educators, industry and researchers with an up-to-date analysis of the literature.

To achieve this, we conducted a rapid review of the latest available evidence, seeking to answer these research questions:

  • What is game-based learning?
  • What is the impact and potential impact of game-based learning on learners’ engagement and attainment?
  • What is the nature and extent of the evidence base?
  • What are the implications for schools?

The research questions are mainly concerned with the notion of ‘gameplay’ (playing games) rather than ‘making games’ (how the prospect of creating original video games can be used to interest young people in complex activities like software programming).

Excerpt: Despite some promising results, the current literature does not evidence adequately the presumed link between motivation, attitudes to learning and learning outcomes. Overall, the strength of the evidence has been affected by the research design or lack of information about the research design.

My notes: This recent work is a less academically-analytical work, and more wider in remit, than a typical meta-review of evidence. The content and format are, in addition, designed for a more non-academic readership. However, it does not suffer because of this and there is much here of interest to both academics and practitioners. The appendices pleasingly includes thorough details of the search strategy, review process and the evidence base for the review.

More information at:

Minecraft in Northern Ireland schools

BBC News has a short piece today on the use of this particular software in schools:

“Fifty-thousand schoolchildren in Northern Ireland could soon be playing one of the world’s most popular video games in class. Minecraft will be made available to every post-primary school as part of an innovative technology project.”

The Guardian follows up with a piece: Minecraft free for every secondary school in Northern Ireland:

“Minecraft will be given to secondary schools in Northern Ireland as part of a project organised by the annual CultureTECH festival and funded by the Department of Culture, Arts and Leisure.

The hugely popular building-block game will be supplied to 200 schools and 30 libraries and community organisations, which will all receive download codes for MinecraftEdu, the educational version of the game.”

(Update: August 2015)

More from BBC News: Northern Ireland teachers to attend training school in Stranmillis:

“Topics covered in the camp include classroom leadership, e-safety, helping pupils with dyslexia, using Minecraft in teaching, pastoral care and effective science teaching.”