A diverse group of teachers from the South West of England and across the whole of India have recently finished a pioneering research project into digital game-based learning, and a handful of Mounts Bay students were lucky enough to be involved.
Mounts Bay Academy’s Andy Troup initially spent a week in Bristol where the Science Learning Centre hosted the visiting Indian teachers and the Unbox21 project was launched. After a week of brainstorming and sharing of ideas, the initially sceptical group of teachers returned to their respective schools, both in India and the UK, to test the selected games in the science classroom. Andy was then lucky enough to follow this up, spending time in New Dehli to compare responses to the trial.
In the UK and India, the results were far beyond what anyone had expected to see. In most cases teachers found that students were more enthused by their lessons, more engaged with the activities and took more ownership of their own learning. Of the Academy students involved, all said they would like to use computer games more in Science lessons, with most agreeing that the computer game ‘Machinarium’ helped them develop their own practical ideas, and encouraged them to work with others, developing 21st Century Skills.
Mounts Bay Academy’s Paris Thomas said: “I think the Machinarium game is great. It is scientific and challenges your mind with puzzles. The science lessons were really good, as we based them on the game. I learnt a lot about combining several elements of Science to end up with a clear outcome. It was a new way of learning and was much more interesting than writing and looking at textbooks. It was a hands-on project, so everybody got really into it and loved getting involved.”
Indian teachers reported similar experiences amongst their pupils. Mansi Marwah, a Year 8 student from St. Mark’s School, New Delhi, said: “I would like these games to continue because we learned through a different and enjoyable way. They have helped us a lot to understand the concepts.”
Following the overall success experienced in both countries, all involved hope that by increasing awareness of the Unbox21 Project and the potential of digital gaming within the classroom, more teachers in all curriculum areas will consider using them to help engage their students and develop the key skills that the wider world increasingly demands.