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Computer and video games - a new tool for learning in the 21st Century

UK computer and video games industry explores education with report into the use of games in learning; Lord Puttnam supports call for debate about games assisting learning

Wednesday 4th October 2006, 8.00am/ ELSPA (the Entertainment and Leisure Software Publishers Association), in association with the Department for Education and Skills' personalised content team, today launched a new report which examines the role computer and video games can play in education.

'Unlimited Learning: The role of computer and video games in the learning landscape' explores the benefits of using games as a teaching tool, and aims to provide a resource for teachers and educationalists, games developers and publishers. It has created a number of exclusive case studies of the benefits of games when used in learning.

A college in Nottinghamshire, for example, has seen achievement in key skills increase dramatically to a 94% success rate, compared to the national benchmark of just 22%, through incorporating commercial game 'Neverwinter Nights' into its teaching plan. Many other teaching institutions across the UK report video games ability to motivate and engage, particularly with younger learners.

Launching the report, Lord Puttnam of Queensgate CBE said: "Increasingly video games are being recognised as a powerful tool for learning. Yes of course they are entertaining and a lot of fun, but they've also the ability to inspire and motivate. They hold out the tantalising prospect of personalised, responsive and thoroughly enjoyable learning experiences, irrespective of age, or our ability. They can promote ideas, they can stimulate conversation, challenge thinking and, critically for the future of our highly skills-dependent economy, they can encourage problem solving.

"Now what we are talking about here is computer games not just as games, but as a whole new learning form or platform of learning and one that has quite literally, unlimited learning potential. Just imagine the opportunities created as a result of bringing all that potential into the classroom."

Professor Stephen Heppell, director of Heppell.net and e-learning expert commented: "I first started researching all this a very long time ago. What we saw was intellectual engagement, absolutely, without exception. What we also saw was a hunger to engage in the process. People didn't just play, they engaged and reflected."

"The curious thing is that we're seeing people playing games and challenging themselves with their computers right across the age range, literally womb to tomb as the current phrase has it," he continued. "What excites me is that on the back of all that play and engagement we're getting learning too."

Michael Rawlinson, managing director of ELSPA commented: "Games are created to be entertaining, engaging and stimulating. They can be educational in the right context, whether for young people developing creative writing in a classroom or hospital staff learning how best to deal with MRSA, and if educationalists believe they can engage people in learning in a positive and constructive way, then we think this can only be positive."

The benefits from using computer and video games are not just limited to the classroom, but span a learners' lifetime.

'Unlimited learning' launches today from ELSPA, in association with the DfES' personalised content team who, until recently, formed part of the

Technology Group.

For a copy of the publication, or for more information, assets or interviews, please contact:

Emma Cowie

Barrington Harvey

e: emma@bhpr.co.uk

t: +44(0)1462 456780

An electronic version of the report is available here

About ELSPA

ELSPA (The Entertainment & Leisure Software Publishers Association) was founded in 1989 to establish a specific and collective identity for the computer and video games industry. Membership includes almost all companies concerned with the publishing and distribution of interactive leisure software in the UK.

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