The recent book Reality is Broken argues that real life is in crisis
because of the time people now spend playing video games and discusses how education must change to reach a generation of gamers. Teacher Kester Brewin asks if gaming should be central to education
an element of seriousness, but some educationalists are now arguing that games should not only make a return to the curriculum, but should be the governing principle of the curriculum. In her recent book, Reality is Broken – Why games
make us better and how they can change the world, video games designer Jane McGonigal argues that “real” life is in crisis because more and more people are spending more and more time gaming. The raw numbers are astounding: by the age of 21,
the average American will have spent between 2,000 and 3,000 hours reading books, but more than 10,000 hours playing video games. That is equivalent to the total of all the classroom time they will have spent in secondary education. The US boasts more than 183 million “active”
HATEVER HAPPENED to games? My schooling made no mention of “physical education” or “sports science” – we were sent out onto cold fields for “games”. The word lacked
Classroom as playground
gamers who play on average, around 13 hours per week, and five million “extreme” gamers who play for an average of 45 hours per week – the equivalent of a full-time job. Yet this is not simply an American
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phenomenon. There are more than 100 million gamers in Europe, 105 million in India, and more than 200 million in China. Collectively, human beings are spending more than three billion hours a week playing video games. It is clear that any human system that suffers a
withdrawal of three billion human hours each week is facing problems, and McGonigal’s thesis is that these numbers prove that our normal lives are “too easy”, “pointless and unrewarding”, “depressing”, “unproductive”, and “hopeless”. She writes: “In today’s society, computer and video
games are fulfilling genuine human needs that the real world is currently unable to satisfy. Games are providing rewards that reality does not. They are teaching and engaging us in ways that reality is not.” It was this idea of games teaching that caught my
eye. Should we be learning from gaming – an activity that is clearly engaging huge numbers of young people at a very deep level – and introducing gaming elements into lessons? McGonigal is very positive about the potential for
games to transform learning, and feels that traditional schooling is failing those born as “digital natives”. She sees school as one long series of obstacles that produce “negative stress” (in contrast to games, which produce positive stress) and demotivate because of the way that failure is recorded. In contrast, she proposes that the generation brought up on video games needs a different sort of school. She writes: “Their ideal school doesn’t use games to
teach students. Their ideal school is a game, from start to finish: every moment of instruction and assessment would be designed by borrowing key mechanics and participation strategies from the most engaging multiplayer games.” So what are these underlying principles? From
board games to field sports to alternate reality role- plays, games are defined by four traits. First, there has to be a clear goal that the players
work to achieve. Second, there need to be rules – valid ways in which these goals are allowed to be achieved. Third, there is a feedback system by which players can measure how close they are to achieving the goal. Last, the game only functions when players accept these rules and participate voluntarily. These all read positively from an educational
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perspective. One definition of games are that they are “hard work that we enjoy and choose for ourselves”, and who would not want students who accept challenges and enjoy working hard, all within clearly defined boundaries? Yet read in the negative, they can also seem
worryingly familiar, for who has not seen classrooms where there are unclear goals, rules which are flouted, and where there is little feedback? Education is far from voluntary, so is it possible to
square the circle and create learning institutions which do use gaming principles for good? McGonigal refers to the Quest to Learn school in New York, which has pioneered this gaming approach. Their website is quite clear: students will not be spending all day in a dark
room looking at a monitor. The gaming element comes in the challenges that students are set, and the culture of progression that they try to foster. Students may wake up to text messages or other prompts to engage them in “gameful activities” even before they arrive at school. They might find a secret mission hidden in a book in the library, which will have them practising fractions to decode a message. Describing a visit, McGonigal writes: “In English
class, Rai isn’t trying to earn a good grade today. Instead, she’s trying to level up. She’s working her way through a story-telling unit, and she already has five points. That makes her just seven points shy of a ‘master’ storyteller status.” Quest to Learn does sound like a good school, and
their project-based approach seems excellent. The hard evidence suggests that using games as discrete learning activities does not boost attainment by a great deal. In John Hattie’s aggregated study of the impact of different teaching methods, games were found to have only a “weak effect”, as reported in his book Visible Learning. Yet, beyond examinations, Quest to Learn is trying
to help students achieve competency in real-world skills of problem-solving, public communication, synthesis, debate, and systems thinking. The model is highly cross-curricular and designed to encourage students to look outside of the school walls and consider how their learning can enhance civic participation. My concern about it is this: to what extent are
students being taught to appreciate the intrinsic value of knowledge? If they are learning Macbeth, are they doing so because they want to “level up” to master story-teller status, or are they doing so because they appreciate that it is beautiful in itself? This can also be true now, with students caring only for the end grade, but if, as McGonigal says, the whole of education is a game, then does it not risk ending up ranked as entertainment, a distraction from real life rather than an introduction to it? The ancient historian Herodotus tells of the Lydian
peoples who, facing an unprecedented famine, decided to play games and abstain from food one day, then eat and not play games the next. McGonigal posits that we are facing a parallel situation: “Many of us are suffering a vast and primal hunger. But it is not a hunger for food – it is a hunger for more and better engagement from the world around us, a hunger for more satisfying work, for a stronger sense of community, and for a more engaging and meaningful life.” The core question here is what our response to this
hunger should be. At its best, education – in whatever form it takes – should be working to satisfy that hunger for “more and better engagement”. Games can certainly help towards this, but we must beware of using them simply because they are so popular, and where we do use them, carefully critique them to ensure that they do not lead to students valuing the wrong thing.
• Kester Brewin is deputy head of maths at Sydenham High School for Girls in south London.
SecEd • January 12 2012
awards and grants PRIMARY/SECONDARY Kelloggs Active Living Fund
The Kelloggs Active Living Fund will give small grants to projects and activities that directly lead to people taking part in sustained physical activity. The aim of the fund is to help remove the barriers which stop people being active.
Award criteria The Kelloggs Active Living Fund is keen to fund activities that enable adults and children to exercise together. The fund is open to applications from charities and other voluntary and community organisations. Schools can apply but the fund will only consider contributing towards extra-curricular activities that promote sustained physical activities.
Kelloggs will make a grant of up to £1,000, but will only fund activities or projects where the grant makes a signifi cant impact. For example, Kelloggs would consider a grant of £1,000 for a £2,000 project, but would not consider a grant of £1,000 for a £10,000 project.
Applications will be judged against two key criteria: Project type and benefi ciaries.
You are more likely to receive funding if your project meets the top priority in both criteria. These are, (a) innovative ways of getting non-active individuals active, and (b) family units, children and adults, undertaking physical activity together.
Three good examples of high priority applications are: n A project that establishes exercise classes where mums and kids exercise together.
n A walking project designed for adults and families.
n A project which enables adults and children to learn to swim together.
The Active Living Fund will not make a grant: n To individual athletes, sportsmen and women.
n For costs associated with salaries or posts.
n To profi t-making organisations. n Towards transport costs, as all projects should be accessible to ensure sustainability.
PRIMARY/SECONDARY The BBC Wildlife Fund
The BBC Wildlife Fund is a grant-giving charity set up in May 2007 to distribute money raised by donations to help support projects protecting the world’s endangered wildlife.
Award criteria The remit of the BBC Wildlife Fund is: n To support projects that are working to protect endangered wildlife and biodiversity – animals, plants and the wild places they need.
n To help protect and improve the natural habitats that wildlife and humans share.
Once the total amount raised from appeals in summer 2007 is known, the fund will work with a wide range of
wildlife charities to assess how and where the money can make the most difference.
The fund will welcome grant applications from groups working internationally and in the UK. However, it can not do so until the total amount raised during the Saving Planet Earth season is known.
BBC Wildlife fund Deadline
Likely to be sometime in December 2007
Amount of award As yet unknown
Contact details BBC Wildlife Fund PO Box 60905 London W12 7UU
Fundraising for Schools September 2007 7
n To applications where the request does not directly support the activity being undertaken, for example the fund will consider a request for equipment, but not for maintenance on a building being used.
n To retrospective applications, where the activity has either taken place or has commenced at the time an application is considered by the Kelloggs panel.
Kelloggs Active Living Fund
Amount of award Up to £1,000
Contact details email: firstname.lastname@example.org
The Ford Britain Trust supports local projects based near its main manufacturing plants, Andrew M
The Ford Britain Trust was created by Trust Deed on 1 April 1975 for the advancement of education and other charitable purposes benefi cial to the community.
In making donations, the trustees pay particular attention to those organisations (including schools) that are located in and operating in areas where the Ford Motor Company Ltd has its present activities and a long standing association with local communities in the UK. Particular consideration is also given to organisations and projects that support the principles embodied in the company’s policies on diversity.
The trust makes donations to undertakings concerned with the advancement of education and other charitable purposes. Preference is given to registered charities (or similar) located and working in areas in close proximity to the company’s locations in the UK. These are Essex (East London), South Wales, Southampton, Daventry and Leamington Spa (although this latter plant is closing).
Special attention is given to projects concerned with education, environment, children, the disabled, youth activities, and projects that will provide clear benefi ts to local communities. Applications coming from, or relating to, projects based outside these geographical areas are generally not considered.
National charities are assisted rarely, and then only when the purpose of their application has specifi c benefi t to communities located in close proximity to Ford locations. An example of one support that could also be relevant to schools is contained in the sidebox.
Applications for sponsorship, individuals, research, overseas projects, travel, religious or political projects are not eligible.
Grants made by the trust are usually: n One-off donations for a specifi c capital project.
n Funding for part of a project, typically items of furniture and equipment.
Applications are rarely considered for:
n Core funding and / or salaries. n Revenue expenses. n Major building projects.
Grants usually range between £100 and £5,000. Applications for funding for new Ford vehicles are considered when two- thirds of the purchase price is available from other sources. Any subsequent grant is unlikely to exceed £2,000, but in the case of registered charities, it may also be possible to arrange a reduction from the recommended retail price. Grants are not available for the purchase of second-hand vehicles.
The trustees meet in June and November each year. Applications are considered in order of receipt and therefore it often takes several months, for an application to be processed. Although each application is considered carefully, the number of applications the trust receives far outstrip its resources and, because of this, the number of applicants that it is able to h limited. The decision of the trustees is
The following guidelines should be considered when making an appli to the trust:
n Applications should be by let is no application form) to th below, setting forth the pur project; whom it is intende and how; why the project and necessary (how were done before?); how it is the project will be carri it will start and fi nish; of the project; how mu raised so far towards
the sources o and expecte activities by project; an are applyi
n A brief ré the char
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Fundraising for Schools
December 2007 Issue 84 Your practical guide to raising money
On the agenda: Creating chances
arning about the arts is part of a good education. We want all children to e the chance to develop their creativity,’ said culture secretary James Purnell.
urse there is absolutely nothing l in this. It is well-known that and the arts are important for ping social skills, self-confi dence, y, empathy, imagination... and the d go on ad infi nitum.
ignifi cant is the huge cash Government has committed to cation (page 2). This funding local authorities to provide music tuition. It will also be
s brand new instruments, – a programme led by Youth ned to get primary-aged ing regularly.
he largest sum of money nt has put towards music atives. It is a positive ers are listening to t the arts are fi rmly at
the top of the educational agenda, where they belong.
Carrying on with this theme, pages 4, 6 and 7 contain information on funding for arts education. On pages 10 and 11, Shari Baker looks at some ways schools can access quality provision from creative industries. She examines what support there is – in terms of both funding and training – to help schools increase creativity within their curriculum.
In keeping with this, Fundraising for Schools is offering readers the chance to win a Literacy Software pack, designed to develop creativity and encourage story- telling skills. Turn to page 3 for more details...
3 4 5
Also in this issue... In the latest instalment of his series on Gift Aid, Barry Gower takes a detailed look at how it can be gained successfully from charity auctions (pages 14-15). He fl ags up some of the pitfalls to be avoided and considers a few of the best items to put up for sale.
And finally... As the winter term gradually draws to a close, many schools will be holding Christmas fairs. If your school has a fundraising event planned, please write and tell us about it: amy.g@ markallengroup.com
. Therewill b for themost inte id
All about Fundraising for Schools
Fundraising for Schools is a monthly (11 issues per year) newsletter which keeps the school fundraiser up-to-date with possible extra sources for funding. A subscription will save hours of research at the library and on the phone.
Subscription details: One year £49.50. Two years £89.00. Please complete and return the subscription formon page 16 or call freephone 0800 137 201 and ask for the subscriptions department.
Fundraising for Schools is the leading source of information on grants. It will help you apply for money to the appropriate places at the appropriate times. You can be sure that the content will be: n Relevant to schools. n Useful for schools. n Benefi cial to schools.
Fundraising for Schools is written for the head or deputy with delegated responsibility for fundraising, school development offi cers and interested chairs of governors and PTAs.
Whether your school is seeking funding for a specifi c project or just raising funds to aid its development then Fundraising for Schools is for you.
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