Unbox21: Preparing school for 21st century learning

  • Rudd, Tim (PI)
  • Singh, Baldev (PI)
  • Berry, Bryan (PI)

Project Details


Education in the twenty-first century is about providing experiences that are relevant to students' lives, connected with the world beyond the classroom and recognise that technology is, and will continue to be, a driving force in workplaces, communities, and personal lives.

Unbox21 explored the potential of commercial off-the-shelf computer games to support learning in both Indian and English classrooms. The project received funding of £40,000 from the British Council.

The project involved 40 schools and specifically sought to explore the potential for computer games to support learning and teaching in science and to enhance twenty-first century learning skills. The project included a full programme of support and professional development activities for teachers to support their use of games and approaches to developing twenty-first century skills. Integrating gaming technologies into learning provoked interest and stimulated thought, discussion and debate.
The overarching goal of the project is to develop teacher capacity to embed digital game-based learning into the classroom to support twenty-first century skill development and enhance student engagement. To ensure the impact of the project could be measured, a strategy was developed to keep the focus in the pilot phase to the secondary science curriculum.
The specific objectives of the project were to:
> develop and deepen capacity of teachers in understanding the role of digital games in teaching and learning and development of twenty-first century skills in the secondary science curriculum> improve the ability of science teachers to create learning frameworks to embed games into learning and teaching and develop innovative teaching practices.> evaluate the impact of digital game-based activities on teaching and learning> develop strategy for disseminating and scaling the project outcome.

Key findings

The research offers insights into the impacts, what worked well, the varied contexts and approaches, and the challenges faced by teachers in utilising such games in the classroom. The findings also reflect on the particular affordances of the games, but as importantly, highlight the wider project design approach and emphases, which might help inform the development of similar projects in the future and the nature of wider professional development approaches more generally.

The project had significant impact on learning and teaching in classrooms and the professional development of teachers. The findings suggest that there was an impact on teacher’s pedagogy and organisation of teaching and learning beyond the project. Teachers presented at conferences in Delhi and Reading, as well as disseminating their experiences to peers. The project also produced various resources, including a forthcoming short course for teachers who wish to understand more about the use of commercial computer games in the classroom.

In addition, the British Council has used the findings of this project to develop a course to help educators, school leaders and policy makers implement new approaches to support teaching and learning fit for the twenty-first century.
Effective start/end date1/09/1231/08/13


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