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New research shows benefits of playing computer games

Press release issued: 22 March 2002

New research shows benefits of playing computer games

The games playing habits of 700 7- to 16-year-olds is the subject of new research carried out by directors, Professor Angela McFarlane, who holds a Chair in Education at Bristol University, Ysanne Heald and Anne Sparrowhawk, of Teachers Evaluating Educational Multimedia (TEEM) on behalf of the DfES.

The report reveals the many important benefits that children acquire as a result of playing computer games.

The research, which gathered information from teachers, parents and pupils, shows that children learn a range of strategic thinking and planning skills that teachers find beneficial to their pupils' learning.

Rather than games playing being a solitary, male-orientated activity, the report demonstrates that children prefer to play in pairs and small groups, and are excited and motivated with the challenges that games provide.

Teachers are particularly excited by the negotiation and exploration skills that games playing develops.

One teacher said in the report: "The main advantage, in educational terms, of this type software is the problem solving and co-operative skills that it demands if used in a paired/group situation. I observed a number of strong, useful discussions between groups of children, in which individuals were required to listen to other and to justify their ideas in ways that would encourage others to accept them."

Parents reported that they see valuable learning outcomes, such as computer literacy, logical thinking, creative arts and hand-eye co-ordination.

Parents saw maths, spelling and reading skills being developed through play. Girls also use computer games but by the age of 14-16, more sparingly than boys, preferring games only when they were bored with other activities.

The report demonstrates that children learn important thinking, strategic and negotiated skills via games that are not necessarily encouraged as easily through other mediums.

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Copyright: 2001 The University of Bristol, UK
Updated: Friday, 22-Mar-2002 11:54:42 GMT

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