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Learning through "serious games"

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By Euronews
Learning through "serious games"

<p>What are serious games and can they make a difference to educational outcomes? Can game-based learning be used to teach every subject? All of these questions are answered in the latest edition of Learning World.</p> <p><strong>Innovation in France</strong></p> <p><a href="http://www.grenoble-em.com/accueil.aspx" rel="external">Grenoble Ecole de Management</a> is a prestigious French business school that has become an international reference point in “serious games”. Even experts from the United States have travelled to France to take a look at their innovations.</p> <p>Professor Hélène Michel has studied serious games for the past ten years: “A serious game” is a game that has been created with a serious purpose in mind. There is an educational or professional goal. Serious games are useful when you want to convey a complicated message and you don’t want to spend time on it.”</p> <p><span class="caps">GEM</span> has 7000 students from 115 countries studying in nine different campuses in France and abroad. But do management studies need to include “serious games”? The dean believes they are necessary. </p> <p>One of the creators of “serious games” is Laure Dousset. She leads a team of six – two game designers, two game artists, a game master and herself- . </p> <p>“Serious games are very common in training programmes,” says Dousset. </p> <p>More than 200 business people have already visited <span class="caps">GEM</span>’s serious game platform. One of these games, Nanorider, is used regularly by experts in micro and nano technology.</p> <p>Grenoble Ecole de Management doesn’t sell its “serious games” to businesses but does sell the training associated with them. Creating a “serious game” from the scratch is also a “serious” affair. According to Hélène Michel, a boarding game costs around 30.000 euros and between 150.000 and 200.000 euros for a virtual one.</p> <p><strong>Learning how to govern in Thailand</strong></p> <p>Questions about democracy in Thailand have been hitting the headlines recently. Learning World explores how one project aims to help students understand governance. </p> <p>Political changes have made many to have doubts about what democracy is all about.</p> <p>At a school near Bangkok a board game called <a href="http://www.fnfasia.org/gallery/sim-democracy/" rel="external">Sim Democracy</a> was launched with the ambitious aim of teaching children how to run a government in a democratic society. </p> <p>“Democracy is not something you can only learn from books. It’s like a lifestyle, they have to experience it. They can understand it so I started to have an idea of simulating a country under a democratic system and let the students learn to experience it,” explains the game’s creator, Ruttikorn Vuttikorn. </p> <p>The Friedrich Naumann Foundation has teamed up with the Election Commission of Thailand to introduce the Sim Democracy game into educational workshops at over 200 high-schools and universities across the country. </p> <p>In the game, the board represents a country and is divided into four sectors – hospitals, schools, forests and police stations, which represent public health, education, environment and security. </p> <p>To start the game, each of four teams runs a brief election campaign to decide who will govern.</p> <p>After playing the game, students examine their performance. The more they play, the greater the understanding they have of the game. </p> <p>“Sim Democracy” continuously receives interest from educators in the region. It is now adapted for universities in Malaysia and South Asia. </p> <p><strong>Zambian children play with ‘graphogames’</strong></p> <p>In official rankings, Zambia has often scored badly when it comes to literacy. The reasons for this include over-crowding in classrooms and a lack of individual attention. But now, a pilot video game developed in Finland is offering a new way to improve results.</p> <p>At Vera Chiluba primary in Lusaka, grade 1 pupils spend 20 minutes of their class time engrossed in letters, syllables and words one on one with a digital teacher. They follow instructions through a headset and get points for correct answers that accumulate over the school term. </p> <p>In Zambia, students have generally learned to read and write in English. English has over 1000 letter sound combinations while the language spoken in Lusaka – Chinyanja – has no more than 50 letter sounds. This is the language used in <a href="https://graphogame.com/" rel="external">Graphogames</a> making it significantly simpler for children to identify letter combinations and their corresponding sounds. They are just a supplement to conventional teaching methods, but pack in intensive learning in just 20 minutes per day. </p> <p>When children return home after school, and after they have finished their chores, they read. It is an exciting activity they can share with older siblings.</p> <p><a href="http://www.facebook.com/learning.world" rel="external">Learning World on Facebook</a></p> <p><a href="http://twitter.com/euronews_LW" rel="external">Learning World on Twitter</a></p>