Part I | Educational Games Potential

Part I | Educational Games Potential

Part I of Dissertation Research Series

Playing video games has become nearly ubiquitous in modern culture, with 97% of teens aged 12-17 playing video games (Lenhart et al., 2008). These include computer, web, mobile, or console games. In a survey by Lenhart et al. (2008), 50% of teens surveyed reported that they played a game “yesterday,” and those that play daily spend at least one hour per day with video games. Students spend their time outside of school playing games and being empowered with digital media, only to be told in school to disconnect and disengage from media and not use the digital literacies they have grown up with as digital natives (Prensky, 2012).

Prensky (2001) argued that the changes in technology since the 1970s have changed the way the youngest generation thinks, learns, and processes information. This generation requires to not just be told the information and facts they must learn, but to learn the information themselves through constructing the information, through questions, discovery, and having fun. Despite these massive changes in technology, education has made few changes (Prensky, 2001).

Therefore, the idea that educational games present an opportunity to engage students has become popular in recent years. James Paul Gee, one of the primary experts in the field of learning with video games, stated that video games “situate meaning in a multimodal space through embodied experiences to solve problems” (Gee, 2007, p. 40). Research supports this use of well-designed educational games for learning, with studies finding increased performance in multiple subjects (such as math, geography, and language) as well as increased or maintained motivation (as compared to a control group with lowered motivation) (Bai, Pan, Hirumi, & Kebritchi, 2012; Liu & Chu, 2010; Tüzün, Yılmaz-Soylu, Karakuş, İnal, & Kızılkaya, 2009).



Bai, H., Pan, W., Hirumi, A., & Kebritchi, M. (2012). Assessing the effectiveness of a 3-D instructional game on improving mathematics achievement and motivation of middle school students. British Journal of Educational Technology43(6), 993–1003. doi:10.1111/j.1467-8535.2011.01269.x

Gee, J. P. (2007). What Video Games Have to Teach us About Learning and Literacy. New York, NY: Palgrave MacMillan.

Lenhart, A., Kahne, J., Middaugh, E., Macgill, A. R., Evans, C., & Vitak, J. (2008). Teens, video games and civics: Teens’ gaming experiences are diverse and include significant social interaction and civic engagement.

Liu, T.-Y., & Chu, Y.-L. (2010). Using ubiquitous games in an English listening and speaking course: Impact on learning outcomes and motivation. Computers & Education55(2), 630–643. doi:10.1016/j.compedu.2010.02.023

Prensky, M. (2001). Digital game-based learning. New York : McGraw-Hill.

Prensky, M. (2012). From Digital Natives to Digital Wisdom: Hopeful Essays for 21st Century Learning. Corwin Press.

Tüzün, H., Yılmaz-Soylu, M., Karakuş, T., İnal, Y., & Kızılkaya, G. (2009). The effects of computer games on primary school students’ achievement and motivation in geography learning. Computers & Education52(1), 68–77. doi:10.1016/j.compedu.2008.06.008


Lindsey Tropf

Lindsey Tropf

Founder & CEO of @immersedgames // School psychology doctoral candidate interested in #edtech, game-based learning, and using data.

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