Archive for November, 2008


Hi Alex,

well your question is complex for me.  My view is that for the most part, gaming and video games have not contributed much to teaching and learning in the context of formal curriculum, for example, the Massachusetts Curriculum Frameworks.  I am sure that if you google gaming and education you will get lots of hits as there is much hype and enthusiasm for this topic, especially by non-teachers and non-educators.  Gaming is always often good for hypothesizing but when it come down to the work of learning curriculum, developing rational thought, learning to be a good writer and communicator, learning to be a good cooperator and citizen, gaming does not offer a whole lot.  With respect to educational software, it is extremely difficult to get the right balance between gaming and pursuing learning objectives.  people often look to game the game and just focus on the gaming characteristics and ignoring the actual content.  the best research i have seen regarding gaming was at MIT where they had kids developing their own games.  in that context they learned a lot about math, programming, and logic.  there is a built in conflict of interest in educational gaming when for-profit game companies want to suggest that their games are effective but their research is questionable because they stand to profit from selling games to education.  Unfortunately there is a loot of enthusiasm for games and education but the research does not support that they are typically productive.  My view is that games are fun and should remain so and we benefit from recognizing that learning is a complex process of interaction with people and ideas that requires study, work, discipline, and often patience and that complex process cannot be rendered painless through games.
let me know if you want to carry the conversation further.

Developing and evaluating dialogue games for collaborative e–learning

A. Ravenscroft M.P. Matheson 

The Open University
Belief change • Collaboration • Dialogue • Empirical • Modelling • School • Science


Abstract This paper argues that developments in collaborative e-learning dialogue should be based on pedagogically sound principles of discourse, and therefore, by implication, there is a need to develop methodologies which transpose — typically informal — models of educational dialogue into cognitive tools that are suitable for students. A methodology of ‘investigation by design’ is described which has been used to design computer-based dialogue games supporting conceptual change and development in science — based on the findings of empirical studies. An evaluation of two dialogue games for collaborative interaction, a facilitating game and an elicit-inform game, has shown that they produce significant improvements in students conceptual understanding, and they are differentially successful — depending on the nature of the conceptual difficulties experienced by the learners. The implications this study has for the role of collaborative dialogue in learning and designing computer-based and computer–mediated collaborative interaction are discussed.


Re-purposing existing generic games and simulations for e-learning


There is a growing interest among teachers in using games as a part of their lesson plans. A standardised, interoperable approach to the sharing of such game-based lesson plans would allow teachers and educational technologists to compare and contrast Digital Game Based Learning scenarios, allowing best practices and lessons learned to emerge. Although games can be used as ‘add-ons’ in educational contexts, greater benefits can be attained by integrating games more fully into the educational process, i.e. by repurposing existing games to target the specific learning objectives. In this article we analyse this problem. We developed two possible solutions based on the integration and the interaction of games and learning scenarios. The first solution is based on ‘pedagogical wrappers’, where games are linked to e-learning flows but without interaction and communication. The second solution sees a tighter integration which supports ongoing interaction and communication between game and e-learning flow. We applied both solutions to a generic game. This game was firstly programmed in Action Script and later re-used for learning purposes and represented in IMS Learning Design. We analysed the pros and cons of each solution and identify research topics for further research.

More info: