VIDEOGAMES AND EDUCATION
University of the Basque Country (SPAIN)
About this paper:
Appears in: INTED2009 Proceedings
Publication year: 2009
Conference name: 3rd International Technology, Education and Development Conference
Dates: 9-11 March, 2009
Location: Valencia, Spain
Abstract:In this paper we will present the main results of a research project about “videogames and education” carried out in the Basque Country in 2007-2008.
In the first part of the paper, we present a theoretical frame-work that will help us to put the subject. There we can understand that videogames have become a very important cultural, social and economical phenomenon of our time. Recently, people spend more money on video games than what they spend on all the other cultural activities for leisure together (cinema, DVDs, books and music). As far as the users are concerned, it seems that most young people in Spain play videogames (60% of youngsters between 14 and 18). This first part of the paper also analyzes what the academic world has said about the subject, with a review of the most important studies and focusing on two main matters: 1) the risks of videogames (such as increasing counter values- violence, sexism, racism, negligence, too much competitivity, impatience, etc…-; addiction risks; being influenced by leisure and cultural, industrial, economical and business factors…) and the positive potential of videogames, above all in relation with education (they may be useful to get the digital literacy indispensable in the society of information, they can be used as helpful material for different subjects, they can also be used to learn how to read the screen reflexively and critically…).
The second part of the paper shows the results taken from the first research project carried out in the Basque Country in order to analyze the use of videogames. 435 teenagers from six different schools between 11 and 18 took part in the survey in June 2008. The most relevant outcames are: 79% of Basque teenagers uses videogames, 97% of the boys and 62% of the girls. In terms of age, the younger you are the more likely you are to play videogames (100% of 11 years-old youngsters say that they play, and %69,5 of youngsters between 17 and 18). In terms of frequency, the distribution is quite different and regular: the distribution of those who play once a month, once a week, two-three times a week and everyday is quite similar (but, boys play more than girls). If we ask them how much they play, the great majority (96%) says they spend 0-2 hours on school days. However, a big group (29%) has answered that they spend between two and four hours on holidays, and a small but significant group (10%) estimates more than four hours (90% of the members of this group are boys). The highest valued type is “action and adventure”, and on second position “sports and races”. Pro Evolution Soccer is the favourite videogame (a football simulator), and after this we find Grand Theft Auto (GTA), Mario Bross, Sims, FIFA… In the second part of the survey we have analyzed the differences between players and non players in terms of school results, leisure, and interest in new technologies.
In the third and last part of the study we put forward a suggestion to work with videogames at school. We have tested this suggestion in autumn 2008 in two schools from the Basque Country. We have worked on a few games (GTA-Vice City, Bully, GTA-San Andreas and Contra viento y marea) with two main aims: to show teenagers to do a reflexive-critical reading of the screens that have become so important in their everyday life, and to explore the positive potential of videogames (especially serious ones). This paper also present the outcomes of these experiments.
Keywords: videogames, education, research project, basque country.