Thinking of the game as a part of a bigger educational process is really in the core mind-set that this project wants to promote. Games can do many things very well, but they certainly cannot do everything at once. Especially not without solid supporting structures around them. Throughout the project and the case studies we built this was true. As each teacher build her or his story these processes were discussed and reflected upon and we will be referring to these and link back to them.
This project aimed as much at using alternative and innovative methods to teach through coding digital games and playing games as part of learning, as at developing the skills of teachers in extending academic goals to understand, support and include the whole child: not only their academic subject skills but also social, emotional and behavioural skills.
Some key factors have been identified which have enabled the teachers at the schools we saw to take steps towards better embedding games into their lessons. Many of these factors have been highlighted as the factors needed to bring about teacher change.
- Senior management leaders team provided teachers with time to learn to use and play with technologies: this is helping to improve teachers’ self-efficacy and confidence.
- Giving support to guide the use of technology and help build confidence.
- Giving teachers freedom and trust thus enabling teachers to take risks and experiment with ICT.
- Encouraging teachers to meet and support one another through sharing ideas and knowledge.
- Providing technical support.
- Recognising and valuing teachers as professionals by giving more responsibility to enable CPD and career progression.
- Creating a culture of shared responsibility at all levels of the school, including the Headteacher, class teachers and support staff.
- Making funds available to purchase ICT.
- Encouraging teachers to use online spaces (Blogs, School websites) to share ideas and scale up.
The examples in our project support these important points.
RISK AND SUPPORT: Games, as other ICT tools, should be used when the learning of the content is supported, when teachers feel at ease using them and are confident, ready to risk having a few ‘failed’ sessions till they get it right.
EMBED AND PLAN: Game choice should involve careful consideration of related theoretical context relevant to curriculum and learning outcomes. There should be clear tangible learning objectives with tasks suitable in supporting students in developing specific skills and knowledge.
NURTURE and TRUST: These innovative pedagogies should be part of the school plan for developing teachers’ skills and make happier students.