Football Manager – number cruncher, sport simulator and … school teacher?

25 Nov 2014

Computer games such as Minecraft and Football Manager have been proposed as teaching aides for PE in Scotland.

Football Manager does what it says – it’s a simulation game whereby you manage a football team. It involves stats, scrolling numbers, terms such as ‘not needed by club’ and a heavy dose of addiction.

And now a school teacher in Scotland has claimed that video games, such as Football Manager, could be introduced to PE classes in schools.

The European Schoolnet Academy (ESA) has been proposing the use of computer games in the teaching of pupils for number of years. Three years ago, it ran a course for teachers in Europe around the subject.

“Educators and educational institutions are becoming increasingly interested in the potential role of video games to support young people’s learning,” according to the Interactive Software Federation of Europe, which supports the ESA.

“Games have become a very popular subject of study, not only in computer science departments but in media and cultural studies, psychology and literacy studies, and education departments.

“Whereas before, the majority of the research on young people’s use of games focused on informal, out-of-school contexts, recent studies explore how games may be used or adapted for use in schools.”

As reported by the Evening Express, the potential plans in Scotland “were discussed during a meeting of the Scottish Association of Teachers of Physical Education”.

Len Almond, former foundation director of the British Heart Foundation National Centre, proposed an idea that could see games such as Football Manager and Just Dance being introduced into lessons.

“Games such as Football Manager are a very good way to get people to understand football and the role it has in our society,” said Almond.

Iain Stanger, PE teacher in Aberdeen and president of the association, said other games, such as Minecraft and Wii Fit, could enhance learning for pupils. 

“I know some schools using fantasy role games and others such as Minecraft which have the potential to enhance people’s learning. Games such as Just Dance and Wii Fit also have the potential to do this.”

The potential variations behind this idea are endless, if you think about it. Safe cross code? Frogger. Driving test? Mario Kart. Family planning? Sims. But really, any proposal which has a basis behind increasing pupils’ attention in school can’t be a bad thing.

Gordon Hunt was a journalist with Silicon Republic