Sports and leisure, either together or separately, play an important role in the life of teenagers. Here, we show a research carried out in the Secondary Education classrooms with sports video games that, due to their close connection to the immediate reality of professional sports and to the identification of the players with their favourite teams or sportsmen, represent an attractive learning tool.
Two key questions gave us the guidelines to define what we wanted to achieve:
This research was conducted throughout the 2008/2009 school year with students from Secondary Education within the P.E. class. In this context, we used the sports video games FIFA and NBA Live.
Although at the beginning teachers’ expectations from the video game were related to working on specific curriculum aspects, once the experience was underway the initial premises were transformed and adapted to the setting and the group’s particularities.
In this way, the class worked not just on typical P.E. objectives, but also on digital literacy implied by the introduction of the video game in the classroom and the possibility of these tools becoming learning devices was revealed.
The building of the teenager’s personality through sports video games is three-fold: Individual, in the case of identifying with a player, collective, in the case of doing so with the team and cultural, in the case of doing so with a country. In the development of this virtual identity, the player has to make “real” choices which make him or her commit fully with his or her new role.
Sports video games combine two types of rules: internal video game rules and the rules of the sport itself. Taking into account the connection between them, the video game offers the possibility of exceptionally modifying the real rules, building a new space designed by the player in accordance with his or her specific goals and needs.
Agreement of collaboration between the University of Alcalá and the video game company Electronic Arts (EA), within its Corporate Social Responsibility Plan. Date: June 2009.