Gaming Can Give Troubled Teens Another Shot At Learning

Students who get turned off by education can struggle to see the point of schools, but one project is showing how gaming can give troubled teens another shot at learning.

Games developer Kuato has already won plaudits for its work in schools, where students have to learn basic code to take a robot through an adventure/shoot-em-up game.

To date, the game has proved a hit in schools from Eton to the East End of London, and has been used in more than one million coding sessions in schools across the world, the equivalent of 60,000 hours of teaching code.

But in a new departure, Kuato has gone into a school for students who struggle to engage with mainstream education, to see if coding can give them a reason to learn.

The Pavilion Study Centre in north London caters for teenagers who have been unable to settle in regular schools. Most have poor attendance records, and many have either already been excluded from school or were at serious risk of exclusion.

So it would seem an ideal test-bed to see if coding can succeed where alternative approaches have failed.

And the results suggest that creating games does have the power to switch students back on to education.

The approach is simple, says David Miller, Kuato’s director of learning and a former U.K. teacher of the year. Students can only play the game once they have learned to write a few lines of Javascript.

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