Education Secretary backs serious games for science and maths!

In the wake of a debate led by Jim McGovern, MP for Dundee West, emphasising the threat posed by increasing international competition, and to review tax breaks for the UK industry, Michael Gove, British secretary for education made a surprising move when he spoke in praise of video games as tools for learning at the Royal Society last week. Gove has on many occasions failed to display… his support for interactive experiences in the classroom, with his failure to attend the Learning Without Frontiers conference in January most notable.

In a comprehensive speech on the future of education, Gove highlighted games developed by the noted mathematician Marcus Du Sautoy as an example of the medium’s potential.

“When children need to solve equations in order to get more ammo to shoot the aliens, it is amazing how quickly they can learn.” Michael Gove, MP

Eidos life president Ian Livingstone expressed his surprise at Gove’s comments via Twitter, saying, “Michael Gove in favour of technology AND computer games in the classroom as a learning tool for maths! WOW. Art next?”

Livingstone criticised the government’s “worrying lack of awareness” of the industry and its needs. in a review of education for game developers in Britain earlier this year.

The speech has been seen as a positive move by most in the industry and Goves comments have been welcomed. However there are some who believe Gove is still missing a trick…

Mary Matthews of Blitz Games commented;

“…Great to see Michael Gove actually talking about games, but sad that he still thinks their best use is carrot and stick – do the equation and get ammo to shoot the aliens – eat the brussel sprouts and then you can have the Christmas pudding. Using games for motivation is only one facet, let’s get him thinking about exploration, experimentation, team building, problem solving and independent, personalised, differentiated experiences – then we’ll really be tapping into the full potential games can offer for learning… “


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