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The BIG education issue: Computer gaming

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Could computer games help to transform the way we learn? Education research and development centre, Futurelab, believes so

Boy playing a computer game © Gooddenka/www.istockphoto.com

Can you imagine a time when, instead of reading about city planning in geography textbooks, children play Sim City? When, instead of sitting in a language lab, they play online games in Spanish with children from other countries?

Some people argue that this is precisely what children are already doing when they play computer games – developing skills and understanding far beyond that acquired in the classroom. And, not only that, they are loving it! This, say commentators, is the ‘gaming generation’ and, unless formal education catches up, it will, in the words of Professor of Education at Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Henry Jenkins, miss out on exploiting ‘the most powerful learning technology of our age’.

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