…asks Shaaron Ainsworth

Let me start by answering the question as posed – are digital games a valuable tool for learning? Valuable could mean a number of things; for example, are students more likely to come to school on days when digital games are used to teach? Do students become interested in history because they play Civilization? Does playing digital games motivate the desire to create such games and to develop a range of creative and computational skills? However, the most straightforward way to interpret “valuable” is to ask whether students can develop new skills or knowledge through interacting with digital games? A number of reviews and meta-analyses (which combine statistical results from different studies) have been conducted to answer this question. Research published in 1992[1] found 67 studies in the preceding 28 years of which the majority showed games to be equally effective as conventional instruction and a third to find games more effective. Two recent meta-analyses[2][3] with more developed criteria for inclusion have concluded that games are significantly more effective for learning and retention than conventional instruction. Clearly, it would seem the research has spoken and it has shown that games are indeed valuable.

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