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Where is the game research?
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…
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.