Sonic the Hedgehog used as part of educational study: ‘We need to harness the power of games!’
'Sonic the Hedgehog' has been used as part of a study regarding education.
The title character of the classic Sega video game was amongst a host of other gaming favourites incorporated into learning materials given to children aged 7 to 11 to learn how animals are classified into different species as part of a study carried out by Brunel University London's Department of Education.
After five teachers at four London schools trailed the materails in science lessons, feedback of the experiment is said to have been "overwhelmingly positive" about the experiment, especially regarding children who are part of "marginalised groups."
Professor Kate Hoskins, who led the study, told Checkpoint magazine: "The teachers were overwhelmingly positive about the key stage 2 science learning materials. They praised the engagement of children who at times struggle to follow a lesson. And the link to children’s game culture enabled participation across otherwise marginalised groups, including minority ethnic, SEND (special educational needs and disabilityes) and low socioeconomic status children.
"The students’ responses suggest that incorporating gaming culture elements in the classroom can lead to a more enriching learning experience for students across the socioeconomic and cultural spectrum, transforming the way they engage with and understand scientific concepts . Teachers can potentially foster a deeper connection between students and the subject matter when bringing the excitement and challenges of video games into the learning process, ultimately promoting a lasting interest in science education."
One teacher noted how their class had "loved" being able to work with a character who is part of everyday life.
The teacher said: "They loved the fact that it’s something that’s in everyday life. Especially the boys – they realise, okay, yes, that’s different."
Checkpoint founder and editor-in-chief Tamer Asfahani has now called on teachers to "harness the power" of video games for educational purposes.
He said: "Thanks to this study, we have data confirming that teachers and researchers should work together to create innovative instructional strategies that harness the power of gaming culture and facilitate deeper learning for students, in key stage 2 science lessons and beyond. This collaborative effort will not only contribute to the ongoing development of effective teaching practices, but also inspire a new generation of students to become passionate, lifelong learners in the field of science and other subjects, especially for less confident learners."