Hands Up! It’s game on in the classroom


Hands Up! It’s game on in the classroom

Digital New Zealand report finds 7 out of 10 parents use computer and video games as an educational tool

Auckland, New Zealand – 30 April 2012 – New Zealand parents are increasingly embracing computer and video games as an educational tool, according to the latest research commissioned by the Interactive Games & Entertainment Association (iGEA).

Conducted by Bond University, the Digital New Zealand 2012 report found 79 per cent of parents with children under the age of 18 play video games, and a further 90 per cent of this group do so together with their children. This report shows an increase from 2010, when these figures were 63 per cent and 59 per cent, respectively.[1]

Furthermore, the report found 92 per cent of parents believe video games are educational, with three-in-four actively using games as an educational tool with their children.  This shows an increase from the Interactive New Zealand 2010 study, which found 64 per cent of parents use video games as an education tool.[i]

The report found that parents believe some video games may help their children better understand technology, maths, science, planning, language, work, life and society in general.

Mark Goodacre, Director of the iGEA, says video games are increasingly embraced as teaching tools not only by parents but by school teachers and university lecturers too.

“Educational games bring the fun, engaging and challenging elements of video games together with a learning or informative component.  Whether it’s at home or in the classroom, we’re seeing a lot more people use the appeal of video games to make learning fun,” said Goodacre.

Edwin McRae, English Teacher at Garin College in Nelson has seen numerous benefits in using computer and video games with his students aged 13-14 years.  “Not only do I see literacy and vocabulary improving, my students are far more engaged when we are using games.

“I have seen students gain a much deeper understanding of the topic they are studying as games usually encourage them to repeat exercises numerous times in order to be rewarded, earn more points or progress to further levels.  This reinforces that knowledge so much more as they repeat the skills, rather than just reading it in a book once.”

“It is great to see the students earn the knowledge, which in turn seems to make them value it so much more.”

Many educational or ‘serious games’ have already been developed locally.  Stephen Knightly, Chairman of the NZ Game Developers Association says the design skills used to make a game entertaining already include many teaching strategies.

“At their core, all video games are about meeting a challenge. Games continually test you and give fast feedback. That’s what makes them challenging and so well suited for teaching.

“Local studios have made games that help teenagers manage depression, teach autistic children to respond to emotions, let medical students practice diagnosis and help stroke victims regain mobility.”Other key findings of the Digital New Zealand report include:

  • 86 per cent of parents are always or most of the time present when buying video games for their children
  • New Zealand gamers are playing video games moderately with 58 per cent playing either daily or every day
  • 69 per cent of New Zealand gamers play up to an hour at one time and only 3 per cent play for five hours or more in one sitting
  • The average New Zealand gamer is 33 years old.

Digital New Zealand 2012 is the 2nd report in a series conducted in NewZealand by Dr Jeff Brand at Bond University, based on a random sample of over 800 New Zealand households. It provides data on computer and video game use and attitudes, as well as the broader consumption of digital media.

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About the iGEA

Interactive Gaming & Entertainment Association proactively represents companies that publish, market and/or distribute interactive games and entertainment content.  iGEA aims to further advance the industry and the business interests of its members through informing and fostering relationships with the public, the business community, government and other industry stakeholders.  iGEA is administered by a Board of Directors and supported by the CEO, Ron Curry.  iGEA was formerly known as the Interactive Entertainment Association of Australia (IEAA).

For more information, please visit www.igea.net.


To arrange media interviews or photo opportunities with any of the following spokespeople below, please contact
Grace Gabriel on +61 419 526 848 or grace@espressocomms.com.au

  • Mark Goodacre, Director of iGEA
  • Dr Jeffrey Brand, Bond University
  • EdwinMcRae, Junior English Teacher, Garin College
  • StephenKnightly, NZ Game Developers Association

[1] Interactive New Zealand (INZ10) report


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