At YogiPlay, we have a few trusted organizations that we turn to for research on how children learn from digital media and technology. One of our favorite sources for this unique research is the Joan Ganz Cooney Center, located in New York City, NY.
Created by Joan Ganz Cooney, one of the founders of the Children’s Television Workshop (now known as Sesame Workshop), the organization famous for the creation of Sesame Street, the Cooney Center is an independent research and innovation lab that catalyzes and supports research, development and investment in digital media technologies to advance children’s learning. The Cooney Center and their incredible team of 21st Century advocates regularly publishes detailed reports on topics like print books vs. ebooks, analysis of educational apps on iTunes, speech recognition in the classroom and digital media habits of young children. Needless to say, we’re big fans!
In May, the Cooney Center released findings from a recent teacher survey called Games for Change 2012: What Do Teachers Really Think About Using Games In The Classroom, conducted with the well known digital education company BrainPop. The survey was created to “gauge teacher’s attitudes and beliefs about the effect classroom video game use has on student learning, developmental growth and social behavior”.
The survey, which engaged more than 500 teachers on the use of digital games for classroom instruction, indicated that more teachers are becoming comfortable with and/or incorporating more digital games into their curricula and instruction.
And this makes sense.
You see, as the great game designer Jane McGonigal points out in her book Reality Is Broken, games are by nature “learning systems” that help to teach complex ideas through engagement and play. Teachers can attest that children have a tendency to retain more information when they’re having fun learning. So savvy teachers know that leveraging games to reinforce learning is a sure way to keep their students engaged.
For your convenience, we have distilled some of the data points from the survey below:
1) 32% of teachers surveyed use digital games in their classroom 2-4 times a week, while 18% use digital games everyday
2) Games are used more by K-5 teachers (57%) than middle school teachers (38%)
3) 60% of all teachers surveyed found that games had benefits including increased student collaboration and ”time-on-task” or focus on learning exercises.
4) 95% of teachers use games that were created specifically with an educational purpose
5) 50% of teachers use games to teach literacy, while 35% use games to teach math
6) Only 18% of teachers surveyed use commercial games for learning instruction
7) 46% of teachers learn about games via professional development, while 35% find games on their own
8) 66% of teachers find out about games via another teacher in their school district.
One of things that we’re committed to at YogiPlay is researching to keep informed about the latest trends related to kids, digital content and mobile learning.
Check out the YogiPlay blog for regular updates!
– Tim D