More on games

More on the potential of games in education, from James L. Morrison, Editor-in-Chief, Innovate:

The August/September 2005 of Innovate’s special issue on the role of video game technology in educational settings is now available at

Innovate is a peer-reviewed, bimonthly e-journal published as a public service by the Fischler School of Education and Human Services at Nova Southeastern University. It features creative practices and cutting-edge research on the use of information technology to enhance education.

Jim Gee opens the issue with a key question: “What would a state of the art instructional video game look like?” Gee’s response focuses on the commercial game Full Spectrum Warrior in order to reveal the “good theory of learning” that should inform the design of video games produced specifically for instructional purposes. In turn, David Shaffer elaborates a similar theory of situated and action-based learning with the concept of an “epistemic game,” whose design integrates player interests, domain knowledge, valued professional practices, and assessment to generate motivation and deep learning. In the following article, Richard Halverson reinforces the argument that valid learning principles inform successful video games, and describes how they might be integrated in educational contexts.

Melanie Zibit and David Gibson report the work in progress on simSchool–a video game that prepares teachers for the complexities of classroom management by offering a “simulated apprenticeship” that prepares teachers to practice the kind of informed decision making required for success in their profession.

Kurt Squire’s findings about the benefits of and obstacles to the implementation of video games in the classroom are based on his own attempt to use Civilization III in high school history classes. He argues that, rather than thinking about how to design good games for the existing K-12 educational system, we should focus our energies on how to design an educational system flexible enough to accommodate video games. In contrast, Michael Begg, David Dewhurst, and Hamish Macleod advocate a “game-informed learning” approach that would make conventional learning activities more game-like. The two medical simulations they describe immerse students in a professional identity and generate highly motivated constructivist learning.

In a provocative glimpse into the future learning landscape, Joel Foreman, this issue’s guest editor, interviews Clark Aldrich, described by Fortune magazine as one of the top three e-learning gurus. The interview begins with the distinction between games and simulations and concludes with Aldrich’s “20 simulations” approach to the reformation of education.

Stephen Downes wraps up the issue with his review of Apolyton, an exemplar site that provides both fodder for resourceful students and models for educators who want to cultivate new online learning communities.

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Many thanks.

Jim —

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