Video games have the potential to improve teaching in schools across the globe. With their new game, Ugly Duckling Games makes it easy to realise the potential.
Sponsored: This article is made in collaboration with Ghost Ship Games.
The research project “Sæt Skolen i Spil” already showed it five years ago: using commercial computer games as a vessel for teaching helps students learn – across ages, abilities and gender. But the project also proved it challenging to unleash the potential:
“It is difficult to help teachers use and understand commercial games well enough to use them directly in their teaching – despite the opportunities,” Tore Neergaard Kjellow, who is one of the people behind the research project, says.
For that reason, he joined forces with Lars Kroll Kristensen and Pelle Sølvkjær Christensen and founded the game studio Ugly Duckling Games, which develops games that remove those barriers and make it easy to integrate the computer games into teaching.
More than digital math
The first game from Ugly Duckling Games – Drama Studio – is a virtual theatre where students create 3D animated stories together. This way, it works just as much as a creative tool powered by game mechanics.
“The children must find the gaming experience so captivating, that they want to go play it in their free time as well. At the same time, it has to be useful enough for the teachers to start using it in their teaching right away,” Neergaard Kjellow explains.
During the last four months, the young company has sold 26,000 Drama Studio licenses to Danish schools. Their goal, however, is much bigger: to engrain their new game as a standard tool across the education system.
“Traditionally, educational games address a certain skill in a certain subject in a certain grade. Drama Studio is relevant throughout students’ education because it is a creative, collaborative tool. And then, of course, it is used for something else in kindergarten than in high school,” Neergaard Kjellow says.