Review of the Research on Gaming in K-12 Education!

Dear Commons Community,

For those interested in gaming in K-12 education, the Review of Education Research has an article by Young et al entitled,  Our Princess Is in Another Castle, A Review of Trends in Serious Gaming for Education.  The purpose of the review was to determine whether or not the technology had reached enough of a “tipping point” in the past 30 years to support the claim that video games can enhance classroom learning.   

The title comes from the authors’ experience that “the answers we sought concerning the impact of video games on academic achievement might be addressing the wrong question and suggested that our princess might be beckoning from another castle on the distant horizon”.  As an example, the issue of definitions became apparent:

“Educators and researchers have not clearly identified and catalogued the differences between video games of various types and simulations, particularly regarding the instructional affordances of discrete game mechanics. Although the research seems to support immersive software in the medical, military, and language fields, there are few labels that assist in differentiating among the various types of available programs or the continua along which they lie. Setting criteria for gaming, including overarching narratives, engaging characters, the presence of avatars, badges, and achievement reward systems, and/or multiplayer functionality, would go far in explicitly describing what type of software is being utilized in each study. For the purposes of maintaining generalizability between content and research areas, we highly recommend that the game-based learning community investigate ways in which they may develop consistent definitions for game- and simulation-related interventions.”

The authors examined gaming applications in a number of subject areas including mathematics, history, science, and language learning. It concluded with nine substantive recommendations.  For those interested in catching up on the research on gaming, this article is an excellent place to start.


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