Videogames and learning: The power of education with entertainment and technology
Jack Wilbur McLaughlin, Teachers College, Columbia University, United States
Teachers College, Columbia University . Awarded
Is it possible to combine the power of education with the fun and excitement of entertainment and technology? What type of educational content can be added to entertainment in a videogame to avoid the "kiss of death" for sales and become "a good learning strategy" for teachers and parents in homes and schools? Can schools help?
Fifty-one senior executives in the videogame industry were asked to explore the feasibility of creating a new learning dynamic in videogame design, where active elements of education are blended with passive entertainment to both make money and an educational difference.
Goldilock's proposition. Dale Mann of Teachers College, Columbia University explains the challenge videogame developers face while attempting to add education in game design: too much or too little can make the difference in financial success as well as learning achievement. Senior executives in the videogame industry identified "mystery/adventure" games as having the most potential as money makers and educational values. They also perceived that a videogame can support almost 50% education added to entertainment and sustain profit potential. Is this supported by existing products in the public consumer marketplace?
The "nag" factor. Investment in the videogame industry will continue to rise as the American teenage population grows to 35 million in 2010. Teenagers have more purchase power with videogames than with shoes or clothes. Senior executives with major responsibilities in research and development perceive investment in the education and entertainment (edutainment) videogame market as unlikely, due to distribution problems and crowded markets in both home and school markets, despite the fact they perceive home platform and delivery channels as supportive of edutainment.
Schools were perceived by the survey group as a last dollar investment because of the market size (too small) and uncertain technology. However, senior executives with major responsibilities in marketing and distribution perceive schools helping through teacher development teams, product endorsement and beta test-sites.
Conclusion. Who will lead the way to "edutopia", where a new learning dynamic can be developed for the child's first teachers (parents) in America's smallest schools (homes) to combine the power of learning with entertainment and technology?
McLaughlin, J.W. Videogames and learning: The power of education with entertainment and technology. Ph.D. thesis, Teachers College, Columbia University.
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