The use of COTS (Commercial off-the-shelf) games in the classroom has grown in popularity in the UK over the last few years and their potential impact is well documented in the Futurelab report, ‘The impact of console games in the classroom’. The findings of this particular report suggest that well structured and planned gamebased approaches to learning can provide excellent opportunities to engage students in activities which can enhance learning and produce a wider range of educational benefits.

As well as Kinect™ Adventures, some other Xbox 360 game titles and their broad themes that could be used as contextual hubs for learning are shown in the table below. There are also lots of other games that could be used... you just need to use your imagination!

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Other uses for COTS games in the classroom

Projects that use games as contextual hubs tend to span several weeks or even terms of work. It is important that playing the game is not seen as a reward but that it is part of the learning experience.

Another use for COTS games is to compliment and reinforce existing education outcomes. For example, games produce data in the form of high scores, leader boards and times. The challenge for the classroom teacher is to use the data generated from the game as a stimulus to reinforce mathematical concepts. Many young people buy into this methodology as they have generated the data themselves by playing the game. This means that it is authentic and not contrived like in many traditional settings.

An example of this in practice might be the use of the data generated from a hurdles race in Kinect Sports to drive questions around adding, subtraction, distances, speed and averages.

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