In 2008 and 2009 ISFE cooperated with European Schoolnet to run a major study on the use of games in schools in Europe.
We know that video games are an important part of young people’s lives today, especially in informal environments. But while we also know about the potential of some games to contribute positively to learning, it is often overshadowed by the perception that games are ‘just play’ and have no place in the classroom because they would have a negative impact on children’s behaviour.
It became therefore crucial to know more about how games are effectively and meaningfully used in school education. Although there is a growing body of research into ICT-based games in schools, most studies drew mainly on rather limited pilot projects or case studies and operated on a national level. ISFE entrusted European Schoolnet to carry out a review of the situation at a European level.
The aim of the survey is to draw a picture of the penetration of games in schools across Europe. It looks at issues such as the contextual environment for the integration of games in school education, their current uptake and use by teachers and learners, barriers to their use and examples of good practice. The survey applies a wider definition of games, from commercial games used in a school environment to games developed for the sole purpose of education. This covers mobile and on-line games as well as console and computer games from every genre: adventure games, role plays, strategy, simulations, racing games and puzzles.
The study extended over several months, from spring 2008 to spring 2009, without any preconceptions for or against the use of games as potential teaching tools in the classroom. The investigation was divided into several parts: a review of research, a survey of teachers, case studies, interviews with educational decision-makers, and a community of practice on the Internet. Eight countries were particularly targeted: Austria, Denmark, France, Italy, Lithuania, the Netherlands, Spain (Catalonia) and the United Kingdom