You may have noticed from previous posts that I’m a big fan of video games that are fun and educational. These types of games make learning almost subliminal because the educational aspects are so closely tied to the game play that you almost don’t notice that you’re learning- it just feels like part of the game. That engagement in the material is what can make video and computer games educational both in and out of the classroom, an idea studied by The Education Arcade.
The Education Arcade is a research partnership between MIT and Microsoft that studies how games can be designed, used, and assessed for use as serious learning tools. Some degree of learning happens in causal game-play, where as a different level of learning occurs in games that are designed for specific content, and video games in general have become so ubiquitous that their social and cultural significance are also becoming more apparent. The Education Arcade is studying all these aspects of gaming, and has also developed several prototypes of games designed to engage players in rich context-based learning experiences.
The Education Arcade website could use a little more description about their projects, visions, and goals, but their Research section does have a lot of links to some very interesting papers and articles.