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Gove: Games offer "huge potential for maths and science teaching"

British secretary for education expresses support for games in speech at the Royal Society

The British secretary for education Michael Gove spoke in praise of video games as a tool for learning at the Royal Society last week.

In a comprehensive speech on the future of education, Gove highlighted games developed by the noted mathetmetician Marcus Du Sautoy as an example of the medium's potential.

"When children need to solve equations in order to get more ammo to shoot the aliens, it is amazing how quickly they can learn," he said.

"I am sure that this field of educational games has huge potential for maths and science teaching and I know that Marcus himself has been thinking about how he might be able to create games to introduce advanced concepts, such as non-Euclidean geometry, to children at a much earlier stage than normal in schools."

When children need to solve equations in order to get more ammo to shoot the aliens, it is amazing how quickly they can learn

Michael Gove, MP

Interactive experiences as a tool for learning is hardly a new concept, but Gove has rarely shown his support for the idea in the past. His failure to attend the Learning Without Frontiers conference in January was widely seen as representative of his thoughts on the matter.

Eidos life president Ian Livingstone expressed his surprise at Gove's comments via Twitter, saying, "Michael Gove in favour of technology AND computer games in the classroom as a learning tool for maths! WOW. Art next?"

Livingstone was involved in a review of education for game developers in Britain earlier this year, which criticised the government's "worrying lack of awareness" of the industry and its needs.

Gove's comments arrive in the wake of a special parliamentary debate on government support for the UK games industry.

The debate was led by Jim McGovern, MP for Dundee West, who emphasised the threat posed by increasing international competition, and spoke in favour of tax breaks for the UK industry.

"I was delighted to have secured this debate in parliament. This has been a long running campaign, and one that deserves to be taken seriously by this Government," McGovern said.

"They must introduce specific solutions to the specific problems faced by the computer games industry as a matter of priority."

"I received a great deal of cross party support in this debate. This is a campaign that will continue. The government persists in failing to see that we are being outwitted by our international competitors. I will go on pressing them to introduce the policies that the computer games industry needs in order to succeed for the benefit of Dundee and the wider UK economy."

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Matthew Handrahan avatar

Matthew Handrahan


Matthew Handrahan joined GamesIndustry in 2011, bringing long-form feature-writing experience to the team as well as a deep understanding of the video game development business. He previously spent more than five years at award-winning magazine gamesTM.