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European Schoolnet held its first national coordinators' meeting in Paris on the 8th of October 2008, in the context of the 'Games in School' study it is carrying out, on the uptake of electronic games in schools and the facilitators and obstacles involved, financed by the Interactive Software Federation of Europe (ISFE). The meeting was a great success, bringing together 36 participants, including five of the eight national coordinators from the study's focus countries (representing Austria, Denmark, France, Italy and Spain), as well as French and Danish teachers, education inspectors, researchers, and games industry experts.The rich mix of participants enabled some very lively and interesting discussions, more details of which can be found in the article about the meeting below. An important aim of the study, which this meeting contributed to, is to facilitate communication between representatives of education systems and games editors, as at present the great potential for collaborative work between these two spheres has not yet been fully exploited.
Adventure games, role plays, arcade, strategy games, simulations, driving games, puzzles, brain gym… We hear more and more about computer games and they are getting more and more sophisticated, but what is their place in school? In which ways are they useful or not? Opinions among teachers seem to be divided with some enthusiastic teachers using them effectively, some skeptical and some hostile. Electronic games are increasingly played and enjoyed by many young people in their spare time. Research now tells us that they are not only fun, but also have great pedagogical potential, by bringing a significant amount of motivation to a learning environment (1).
Today's students live in a world which is ever more embedded in virtual communication, requiring them to develop their e-literacy skills and critical awareness; a task in which schools could have an important role. European Schoolnet is interested in exploring the present and potential place of electronic games in schools across Europe. The articles in this thematic dossier are intended to contribute to this task, by fueling our knowledge-building in the area of games-based learning.
(1): Ferdig, R.E. (2007), 'Learning and Teaching With Electronic Games', Journal of Educational Multimedia and Hypermedia, Volume 16 (3), pp. 217-223