Bill MacKenty

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Where is the game research?

Posted in Games in education on 26 - September 2006 at 06:30 PM (17 years ago). 241 views.


I just got this great email, and thought I would share my answer here. In short, the researcher is looking for data about games in education at the primary and middle-school levels.

I understand you need data regarding how, when, where, why and who is using games in American Education - especially around primary and secondary school.

I am not aware of any large scale studies which have investigated this. I know of many small schools who are using games in an informal, non-rigorous way, however empirical data may be difficult to come by.

May I suggest you take a look at the following sites:

...and of course…

I’ve included some research sites, but it’s slim!

In my opinion, mainstream adoption of games in the classroom is very far away. You are seeing all the classic signs of a nascent movement, one which I hope grows into mainstream adoption by our public school system.

I believe once the current generation of older teachers have retired, and more technically fluent teachers come into the profession (Kuhn, anyone?), we will see a more emboldened use of technology, which will surely include games as effective teaching tools.

There is a tremendous of interest in the role of games and learning, but I think there are very basic types of questions which haven’t been answered - in fact it was only recently that Salen and Zimmerman released an utterly magnificent book entitled “Rules of Play” that gives us a vocabulary to talk about games, play, and culture. Even asking a simple question like “What is an educational game?” can bring a heated exchange of opinions.

So I encourage your research path, and I would be more than happy to answer any specific questions, but as for now, and please forgive my use of idioms…

This pond doesn’t have a lot of fish.