I came across an interesting article on the egovmonitor.com web site that gives a good introduction to how the UK schools sector is using entertainment computer games to enhance teaching.
An excerpt I particularly like involved an interview with the Head of Educational Research and Analysis at Becta and is below:
Perhaps more surprisingly, there is published evidence that learning outcomes can result from entertainment-oriented games played for fun. Researcher Constance Steinkuehler examined World of Warcraft, a fantasy-based massively multiplayer online game (MMO) in which players work together to complete quests and defeat enemies. She discovered that players were formulating theories about how the game-world worked, and then testing their hypotheses – practicing, in essence, the scientific method. It wasn’t just a small proportion of the players, either: “I visited the game community forums, predicting that 5-10% of the conversations would look like high-end problem solving, and the rest would be banter,” she says. “Instead, 86% of a random sample were about problem solving.”
The full article is online at: http://www.egovmonitor.com/node/24081