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Last updated: 30.09.13

Computer games have a place in education

'Gamification' in education has soared in popularity over recent years, with popular titles like Angry Birds being used to enhance learning in schools.

The creator of this particular game Rovio has so far rolled out an initiative in Finland that uses Angry Birds to engage with schoolchildren and advance their development, reports the BBC.

Now, the company has introduced a similar practice in China, and is using characters from the game to provide a "full 360-degree approach to learning" that incorporates other digital devices, teachers and books as well.

Analysts have been debating for some time just what it is that makes computer games beneficial to education, with one expert, professor Constance Steinkuehler, a former White House analyst, claiming they have a bigger impact on certain areas of learning compared to traditional resources, including social studies, science and mathematics.

She added: "It's not just making the game, it's then about going back and assessing it - is it having the impact and educating in the way you hoped?"

Even games like Minecraft are being brought into the classroom and used in all sorts of creative ways - for example, at Reykjavik University it serves as a 3D graphical interface helping students to understand how to give instructions to a computer.

As a result, tech firms have viewed the idea of blending computer games with education as inevitable.

Sally Plumridge, international marketing director of LeapFrog, an educational entertainment company, said the world that children habit is much more interactive than it used to be and bringing gaming into their lives allows them to develop their cognitive skills.

"The way that traditional learning extends into new technologies just gives a different dimension to education and a more practical dimension," she remarked.

According to research carried out earlier in 2013 by academics at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, the average young person spent 10,000 hours gaming before turning 21 - equivalent to five years of working full-time.

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