Consoles for Classrooms

I think that every classroom should have a console.

That is basically what this blog post is proposing, you can read on and find out why I think that, but that is it in a nutshell. You could stop reading right now, but please take away that first sentence, those first 9 words and consider them carefully if you do.

I have made the most of games based learning in my classes over the last 3 years and I passionately believe in the impact on learning it has. We have explored the world of Myst, done stealth written subtraction using Wii Sports Golf and even driven a whole curriculum topic with the sheer joy that is Endless Ocean. I have seen our whole Year 4 year group working with their Nintendo DS consoles and using Maths Training everyday. Besides my own use I am always amazed and inspired by the cadre of great innovators using games based learning.

The children become excited, engaged and wrapped up in their learning. They want to do well, they want to find out more, sometimes they don’t even realise the learning that is taking place because they are so immersed in the places we can take them. They invest in the learning that is going on because the return is something they understand and appreciate.

Radio Daze by Ian Hayhurst
Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs License

Gaming on consoles falls into the “Home” bracket and not in the “School” bracket. For some people those brackets need to be separate. Boundaries never to cross. In my opinion, as educators, we need to open our eyes to the potential gaming can have and merge these two realms. We need to leverage the children’s natural engagement and use it to their learning advantage.

Six years ago we installed SMARTBoards throughout the school and I also installed video players. In those six years DVD players have plummeted in price. We wouldn’t be without access to a DVD player now. Broadband in UK schools has become a standard, cheaper, faster and for some countries a basic human right. We wouldn’t be without internet access.

The internet, the DVD player, the class computer are all platforms to deliver content that makes learning fun or more engaging. So why do we not consider a console in that same bracket? They often do a better job.

In many ways I think that console games like Endless Ocean deliver even richer content because it provides a space that can be defined by the learner. The platform that they are delivered on is cheaper – a class Nintendo Wii can be less than £150 (with games). I think it provides amazing value for money in the right hands.

I hope that the Building Schools of the Future project in the UK has found that small amount of money to equip classrooms with consoles. Seems a small drop in the millions that have been invested. Yet that small drop can lead to an endless ocean (sic) of learning. (I nearly deleted that one but it is so cheesy it is staying in!)

Is it suddenly some big surprise that games based learning is engaging our learners? Not to me. If not then why is this type of learning still such a niche. I am going to say it again, I think that every classroom should have a console.

You can take away the first 9 words or the last 3, it is up to you.

Consoles For Classrooms

6 Comments

  1. What evidence do you have for supporting your statement:

    ' I passionately believe in the impact on learning it has'.

    What I mean is are there any studies which show that the learning of the pupils has improved over time? Besides the observed engagment of the pupils and a more 'enjoyable' learning atmosphere do pupils actually show an improved understanding of the curriculum?

  2. Couldn't agree more. Personally I think the reason gaming is seen as less valid than the other areas you mention because it has not being pushed hard in the same was as IWBs. More importantly, there is a general lack of understanding about how a console or gaming in general can fulfil clear objectives and success criteria. (I know I'm generalising there). Which is weird as foundation stage seems to be ever growing in momentum in its play focused learning.

  3. I'm a big fan of your Endless Ocean lesson – I thought it was really great way to teach students about ocean life . I like where you say (in this post), “The children become excited, engaged and wrapped up in their learning.” Isn't that what it's all about? Getting them excited to LEARN? I think so!

    Great post!
    Thanks for sharing,
    Elizabeth @SimpleK12

  4. What evidence do you have for supporting your statement:

    ' I passionately believe in the impact on learning it has'.

    What I mean is are there any studies which show that the learning of the pupils has improved over time? Besides the observed engagment of the pupils and a more 'enjoyable' learning atmosphere do pupils actually show an improved understanding of the curriculum?

  5. Couldn't agree more. Personally I think the reason gaming is seen as less valid than the other areas you mention because it has not being pushed hard in the same was as IWBs. More importantly, there is a general lack of understanding about how a console or gaming in general can fulfil clear objectives and success criteria. (I know I'm generalising there). Which is weird as foundation stage seems to be ever growing in momentum in its play focused learning.

  6. I'm a big fan of your Endless Ocean lesson – I thought it was really great way to teach students about ocean life . I like where you say (in this post), “The children become excited, engaged and wrapped up in their learning.” Isn't that what it's all about? Getting them excited to LEARN? I think so!

    Great post!
    Thanks for sharing,
    Elizabeth @SimpleK12

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