N.C. State, local school test computer games as teaching tool

Posted August 11, 2008 4:26 p.m. EDT

— North Carolina State University and a Raleigh elementary school are playing games with federal funds.

The National Science Foundation has granted $2.5 million for a study on how computer games can be used as a teaching tool.

Fifth-graders at A.B. Combs Elementary will learn scientific concepts while playing a game called Crystal Island and researchers will test how well the game serves as a learning tool.

Dr. James Lester, associate professor of computer science at N.C. State, said various technologies and conditions will be tested to see which contributes to the most learning.

“We know that games are extremely engaging and have captured the imagination and time of young people globally. The research team is interested in harnessing the power of games for educational gains,” Dr. Hiller Spires, senior research fellow at State’s Friday Institute for Educational Innovation, said.