If you’re in education and you’ve ever wondered whether games for learning actually live up to the hype and honestly deliver the learning outcomes they claim – then read on and/ or watch the video at the end of this blog.

As a company that designs and develops games for learning, we're convinced of the effectiveness of using games in the classroom, but we haven’t always found it easy to convince busy teachers that they won’t cause chaos and waste precious time – understandable concerns!

Let's take the example of our business game (see images below) which aims to support business studies teaching and encourage enterprise in young people.

We have seen the game in action when Prince’s Trust charity Mosaic Network use it in their annual Enterprise Challenge competition, in which over 100 teams of students compete to make the most net profit by making strategic business decisions within the simulation.

We’ve witnessed first-hand the absolute focus of the students, the energy in the room, the teamwork, negotiation, peer learning and problem solving. Students are visibly exhilarated when they’ve figured out how to make better business decisions and therefore improve their scores.

We have often thought “if only we could teleport every teacher into those sessions to see how powerful the game is!"

That’s where Sam Lockyer came in. Sam’s business ‘Iconic Productions’ creates short films for business, cultural and educational institutions. Sam recently created a promo for Small Heath School with the help of their students.

Small Heath School is based in a deprived inner city Birmingham area and yet has received Outstanding status:  

“Progress is exceptionally good because of the consistency of high quality teaching and innovative approaches to the curriculum.” Ofsted 2010

It is this innovation, links with industry (Birmingham Airport, Citroen, Aston Villa), and encouragement in enterprise that so excited us at Totem about working with Small Heath, so Sam made the introduction.

We decided to run a workshop for about 20 business studies students to get to know the game, followed by a live competition like the Enterprise Challenge. Because entrepreneurialism is close to our hearts we also tied the event in to Global Entrepreneurship Week.

The event was a real success. There were both GCSE and ALevel students in the group but all students were totally absorbed in the game – some not wanting to take their break!  It was great to see students grasping concepts and testing out theories about pricing, supply, demand etc– all with very little guidance needed from the teachers.

Sam filmed the event for us and took some footage of students giving us feedback afterwards. The students say it better than I could – so do watch the video – but I was left with one lasting feelgood story which was this:

One student who had been on the winning team when Small Heath School were in the Mosaic Enterprise Challenge three years ago, came back to help mentor at our event.

A very articulate and intelligent young woman, she is now at University as well as running her own wholesale business – and she believes that The Business Game played an important part in her journey and gave her confidence in her business skills.

If you'd like to know more about the business game please visit our partner Tribal Group's website by clicking here.

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