Games are changing the way children learn, helping them think differently and stimulating new ways people of all ages can use their minds.
James Paul Gee, a professor of reading at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, was among the first to document, from his own experience playing video games with his children, the different way that modern digital learning tools drive not only exploration and discovery but new kinds of challenges and introduce risk taking. And that some of the base values of games lies in their ability to promote a feeling of ownership on the part of the player, introducing lateral thinking and stimulating cross functional team collaboration – as well as (a real surprise) introducing player frustration to the mix.
Research is showing games are a more interactive and participatory way to help people of all ages understand almost anything – from a history lesson to the dramatic change a flood can have on a specific community. They are increasingly used in formal education and at home, but also for vocational training. Games for Learning exit on all platforms and for hundreds of uses.
But, as Katie Salen points out, in her writings for the Institute of Play, researchers know surprisingly little about what makes successful games work. What are the reason certain games are engaging and fun? Digital games are being hailed as a new paradigm for 21st century education, yet we have much to learn more about how they work.
The Serious Games Association is undertaking the collection of a directory of Games for Learning. If you have a created a product for this space, please click here and share your game with us.