Video Games

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Video games are an important, large, and growing part of the Information Age.

For many years, people have argued about and studied television’s influence on children. Now, for many children and young adults, solo or group interaction with video games and social networking have overtaken solo or group television watching. Both video games and television have a significant impact on children and young adults and their education. Many people argue that the impact is more negative than positive.

Many people have suggested, "if you can't beat them, join them." Thus, it is not surprising that educationally-oriented video games continue to enter the market. Moreover, ideas from video games are often incorporated into computer-assisted learning materials.

By and large, such edutainment has proven to be a poor merger of entertainment and education. However, there are some notable exceptions in various computer simulations.

Free IAE Book: Introduction to Using Games in Education

The following IAE book is available under a Creative Commons license:

Moursund, D.G. (2008). Introduction to Using Games in Education: A Guide for Teachers and Parents. PDF version. Microsoft Word version.

Preface to the new book: Introduction to Using Games in Education

All the world’s a game,
And all the men and women active players:
They have their exits and their entrances;
And all people in their time play many parts…
(Dave Moursund—Adapted from Shakespeare)

The term game means different things to different people. In this book, I explore a variety of board games, card games, dice games, word games, and puzzles that many children and adults play. Many of these games come in both non-electronic and electronic formats. This book places special emphasis on electronic games and the electronic versions of games originally developed in non-electronic formats.

This book does not explore many types of games. For example, I do not explore sports games, such as baseball, basketball, football, and soccer, or any of the sports in the summer and winter Olympic Games.

Since my early childhood, I have enjoyed playing a wide variety of games. Indeed, at times I have had a reasonable level of addiction to various games. In retrospect, I feel I learned a great deal from the board games, card games, puzzles, and other types of games I played as I was growing up.

In recent years, a number of educators and educational researchers have come to realize that games can be an important component of both informal and formal education. This has become a legitimate area of study and research.

Oodles of games are now available in electronic format. While many are distributed commercially, many others are available for free play on the Web, and some can be downloaded at no cost. In this book, I am especially interested in games available at little or no cost that have significant educational value.

Some electronic games are merely computerized versions of games that existed long before computers. Others only exist in an electronic format. Computer networks have made possible games that allow many thousands of players to be participating simultaneously. (The largest is World of Warcraft.) The computerized animation and interaction in the electronic versions of these games bring a previously unknown dimension to games.

Learning Through Game Playing

This book is written for people who are interested in helping children and young adults to learn through games and learn about games. The intended audience includes teachers, parents and grandparents, and all others who want to learn more about how games effectively can be used in education. Roles of games suitable for a formal school setting receive special emphasis.

As you know, education has many goals, most informed by a huge amount of research and practitioner knowledge about teaching and learning. This book is well rooted in this research and practitioner knowledge. Five important ideas stressed are:

  • Learning to learn.
  • Learning about one’s strengths and weaknesses as a learner.
  • Becoming better at solving challenging problems and accomplishing challenging tasks. Learning some general strategies for problem solving is a unifying theme in this book.
  • Transfer of learning from game-playing environments to other environments.
  • Intrinsic motivation—students being engaged because they want to be engaged. This idea is illustrated by the following quote from Yasmin Kafai, a world leader in uses of games in education.
If someone were to write the intellectual history of childhood—the ideas, the practices, and the activities that engage the minds of children—it is evident that the chapter on the late 20th century in America would give a prominent place to the phenomenon of the video game. The number of hours spent in front of these screens could surely reach the hundreds of billions. And what is remarkable about this time spent is much more than just quantity. Psychologists, sociologists, and parents are struck by a quality of engagement that stands in stark contrast to the half-bored watching of many television programs and the bored performance exhibited with school homework. Like it or not, the phenomenon of video games is clearly a highly significant component of contemporary American children's culture and a highly significant indicator of something (though we may not fully understand what this is) about its role in the energizing of behavior (Kafai, 2001).

Computational Thinking

Your mind/brain learns by developing and storing patterns. As you work to solve a problem or accomplish a task, (as you think) you draw upon these stored patterns of skill sets, data, information, knowledge, and wisdom.

Beginning more than 5,000 years ago, reading and writing have become more and more important as a mind/brain aid. In the past few decades, computers have contributed substantially to mind/brain processes by providing improved access to information, improved communication, and aids to automating certain types of human “thinking” processes.

Notice how the thinking of mind/brain and the thinking (information processing) of computers are melded together in the following brief discussion of computational thinking.

Computational thinking builds on the power and limits of computing processes, whether they are executed by a human or by a machine. Computational methods and models give us the courage to solve problems and design systems that no one of us would be capable of tackling alone. Computational thinking confronts the riddle of machine intelligence: What can humans do better than computers, and What can computers do better than humans? Most fundamentally it addresses the question: What is computable? Today, we know only parts of the answer to such questions.
Computational thinking is a fundamental skill for everybody, not just for computer scientists. To reading, writing, and arithmetic, we should add computational thinking to every child’s analytical ability (Wing, 2006).

Games provide an excellent environment to explore ideas of computational thinking. The fact that many games are available in a non-computerized and in computerized form helps to create this excellent learning environment. A modern education prepares students to be productive and responsible adult citizens in a world in which mind/brain and computer working together is a common approach to solving problems and accomplishing tasks.


A puzzle, as a game, challenges one or more persons to work from initial givens to a stated outcome. To better under the purpose of this book, think about some popular puzzles such as crossword puzzles, jigsaw puzzles, and logic puzzles (often called brain teasers). In every case, the solver’s goal is to solve a particular mentally challenging problem or accomplish a particular mentally challenging task.

Many people are hooked on certain types of puzzles. For example, some people routinely start the day by spending time on the crossword puzzle in their morning newspaper. In some sense, they have a type of addiction to crossword puzzles. The fun is in meeting the challenge of the puzzle—making some or a lot of progress in completing the puzzle.

Crossword puzzles draw upon one’s general knowledge, recall of words defined or suggested by short definitions or pieces of information, and spelling ability. Through study and practice, a person learns some useful strategies and can make considerable gains in crossword puzzle-solving expertise. Doing a crossword puzzle is like doing a certain type of brain exercise. In recent years, research has provided evidence that such brain exercises may help stave off Alzheimer’s and other forms of dementia.

From an educational point of view, solving crossword puzzles helps to maintain and improve one’s vocabulary, spelling skills, and knowledge of many miscellaneous tidbits of information. Solving crossword puzzles tends to contribute to one’s self esteem. For many people, expertise in solving crossword puzzles plays a role in social interactions.

Brief Overview of Contents

Each chapter ends with a set of activities for the reader of the book, and a set of activities that might be useful with students of varying backgrounds and interests.

Chapter 1 illustrates the idea of thinking outside the box. This idea, important is solving puzzle problems, is also essential in solving many real-world problems.

Chapter 2 provides some general educational background needed in the rest of the book.

Chapter 3 uses a puzzle called Sudoku to explore some aspects of puzzles and their roles in education.

Chapter 4 explores some additional puzzles and sources of free puzzles on the Web.

Chapter 5 explores solitaire card games that can be played with ordinary decks of 52 playing cards can be played on a computer.

Chapter 6 explores competitive two-person games such as Checkers, Chess, and Backgammon. Nowadays, many people play these games using a computer as an opponent.

Chapter 7 explores games that typically involve more than two players, but only a modest number of players. Examples include Poker, Bridge, and Hearts.

Chapter 8 discusses the development of game-based lesson plans.

Chapter 9 provides very brief introductions to a miscellaneous collection of ideas related to the topic of games in education. Were I writing a longer book, some of these topics would be individual chapters.

Appendix 1 summarizes the problem-solving strategies explored in the book. It also provides additional information about effective ways to use games in education.

Free Play Makes A Comeback

This section was written by Xan Johnson in a 7/3/08 email message. It is reproduced with his permission.

Hi Brain Research Enthusiasts,
Just a quick note and reference for your own FYI. Most of you have heard me go on and on (OK, stamp my feet and pontificate) since the mid-90s about how the loss of free play in childhood plays a major role in the exploding population of troubled, chronically stressed, and often medicated preteens in our schools today. Neuropsychiatry reports an 80% increase in ADHD diagnoses since the 1980s. The American Academy of Pediatrics warned us in the late 1990s that kids were entering Kindergarten with significantly higher levels of cortisol in their blood stream compared to the 1960s.
Translated, this means that children are easily stressed and such anxiety, when constantly activated, has the ability to shut down short term memory, damage the hippocampus, and turn off the immune system. One huge factor is the loss of childhood in our culture today, especially the critical loss of time for free play in a neighborhood that is safe, watched by parents that interact and safeguard from a distance without interfering in the play, and where children between the ages of 4 and 14 play together, learning how to trust, risk, make mistakes, negotiate, and problem solve interpersonal conflicts on their own … the building blocks of human empathy and emotional intelligence.
The AAP are pediatricians, not play theory researchers, which makes this even more interesting that pediatricians see the fallout from a medical perspective. Play researchers would add that free play with more than one child involved breaks into two basic categories of play. Mixed age group play in larger groups where game play dominates … hide and seek, run sheep run, random pick up sport games, on and on … this kind of play generates social intelligence and conflict resolution skills. Same age or close to same age group play in small groups where dramatic play and creative movement play dominate … this kind of play generates creative thought, personal expression, and self reflection (the building blocks of learning) along with social intelligence and conflict resolution skills. But again, FREE PLAY.
Of course, I make the case (but not here) that drama and dance can help fill the gap created by the loss of childhood by providing a self-motivating, brain prioritizing, socially interactive learning medium that balances free play with adult enrichment based learning … but that is another discussion for another time.
After reading the AAP Newsletter brief and the article about free play linked within it, I also recommend you take the time to read the following two new fascinating books:
The Case for Make Believe/Saving Play in a Commercialized World (2008) by Susan Linn (A Harvard psychologist, director of the Campaign for a Commercial Free Childhood.)
Mirroring People: The New Science of How We Connect with Others (2008) by Marco Iacoboni (A neuroscientist that studies mirror neurons using fMRI scan technology.)

Women in Gaming

For an introduction to this topic, see the website Girls in Gaming.

Wong, Wailin (8/5/2010). Women missing from video game development. Tribune Newspapers. Retrieved 8/13/2010 from,0,2857114.story. Quoting from the story:

According to the Entertainment Software Association, 40 percent of video and online game players in the U.S. in 2010 are female, having inched up from 38 percent in 2006. The number of women working as game developers, however, is much smaller. In a 2005 demographic survey by the International Game Developers Association, only 11.5 percent of the respondents were female.

Cconley, Mikaeka (2/1/2011). Quality Time Over Mario Kart May Strengthen Family Ties. ABC News/Health. Retrieved 2/1/2011 from Quoting from the news article:

Parents, and even some researchers, have long blamed video games for such problems as obesity, violence, depression and detachment from family and friends. But Brigham Young University School of Family life researchers stand by a positive notion that could surprise some people: Video games may help strengthen the bond between parents and their daughters.

The article indicates that similar results did not occur for boys playing computer games.

Free Play in the Classroom

Contributed in October, 2008, by Margaret Pettey.

Free play has been an area that I have always been interested in. I feel that teachers and the education world in general, forget how young elementary school children are. So many pressures are put on these students- DIBELS scores, weekly tests, fluency, etc. The word “play” has almost become void in many school curricula. I completely agree that children are lacking the free play during schools. It is a very interesting statistic about the increased ADHD diagnoses and the higher levels of cortisol since the 1980s.

This article also makes me think about the components of AMSTI. So many of the math investigations involve “free play” or what they call “free choice”. As silly as it sounds, I didn’t think my kids would benefit from such a game-oriented system of teaching math. It is quite the contrary. My math instruction is centered on AMSTI math games and free choice activities. Students can choose their group members and play any of the math games they choose. I have seen gains in math comprehensions with all of my students. I feel like they have learned more through free play with math games, than they would have by doing math worksheets and math drills. They have learned to problem solve their conflicts, negotiate which games to play, and have continued learn through their mistakes.

To further incorporate free play into my curriculum, I will be adding a drama center to my station rotation during the reading block. Hopefully the gains I have seen in math free play will carry over to reading.

Games and Brain Exercises for Senior Citizens

This section is a work in progress.

There is a growing amount of research on how to make effective use of computer games or game-like environments to "exercise" one's brain.

Cordis (2009). "Playing for keeps – computerised play helps elderly stay sharp." Retrieved 5/16/09: Includes a nine minute video. Quoting from the article:

European researchers have built a computerised play platform for elderly people. Field testing shows that the system keeps elderly players mentally sharp, stimulates socialisation, and can alert caregivers to developing problems.
Three years ago, researchers at the EU-funded ElderGames project set out to create a high-tech play platform specifically for the elderly – the first designed to provide cognitive and social stimulation, and to allow early detection of cognitive decline.

Felt, Susan (6/26/07). New mental exercises, games can keep aging minds fit." The Arizona Republic. Retrieved 5/16/09: http":// Quoting from the article:

A daily routine of crossword puzzles and Sudoku won't be enough to ensure a brawny brain when you're 80. What does appear to beef up the brain is hard work, both physical and mental.
Neuroscientists are finding that what keeps the brain fit and mentally agile as people head into their 50s, 60s and 70s is what keeps their bodies fit: exercise, good nutrition (think antioxidants and omega-3 fatty acids), plenty of water, sleep and reduced stress.
"There's no question that if you maintain sufficient activity of brain cells, the brain cells will function well and even promote regeneration," says neurologist Patricio Reyes, director of Alzheimer's disease and cognitive disorders research at Barrow Neurological Institute at St. Joseph's Hospital and Medical Center in Phoenix. "What we can do for preventive measure is keep the mind active. Use it or lose it is very true."

Dapphane Bavelier: Faster Decision Making

Daphne Bavalier is a cognitive neuroscientist who studies people who play computer games. Here is an article discussing some of her work: "Video games lead to faster decisions that are no less accurate." Science Daily (9/13/2010). Rerieved 2/22/2011 from Quoting from the article:

Cognitive scientists from the University of Rochester have discovered that playing action video games trains people to make the right decisions faster. The researchers found that video game players develop a heightened sensitivity to what is going on around them, and this benefit doesn't just make them better at playing video games, but improves a wide variety of general skills that can help with everyday activities like multitasking, driving, reading small print, keeping track of friends in a crowd, and navigating around town.
"It's not the case that the action game players are trigger-happy and less accurate: They are just as accurate and also faster," Bavelier said. "Action game players make more correct decisions per unit time. If you are a surgeon or you are in the middle of a battlefield, that can make all the difference."
The authors' neural simulations shed light on why action gamers have augmented decision making capabilities. People make decisions based on probabilities that they are constantly calculating and refining in their heads, Bavelier explains. The process is called probabilistic inference. The brain continuously accumulates small pieces of visual or auditory information as a person surveys a scene, eventually gathering enough for the person to make what they perceive to be an accurate decision.

Marc Prensky

Mark Prensky is a prolific writer and game developer. Quoting from

Marc Prensky is a speaker, writer, consultant, futurist, visionary, and inventor in the critical areas of education and learning. His professional focus is on reinventing the learning process to motivate today’s students and to better prepare them for their rapidly evolving future. As a part of this work, he has designed and built more than 50 software games for learning, including most recently games for increasing financial literacy among older teens (MoneyU) and preventing youth depression in 11- to 15-year-old children (Blues Blaster).
In 2000, Prensky was named one of the "New Breed of Visionaries” by Training. He has appeared on MSNBC, CNN/fn, the BBC, CBC, and the Australian Broadcasting Corporation, and his work has been recognized in the New York Times, the Wall Street Journal, Newsweek, Time, and Fortune. Prensky writes columns for On the Horizon, a publication for leaders in academia, and for Educational Technology; he has been published multiple times in Educational Leadership and Edutopia magazines and the Greentree Gazette. He is the author of Digital Game-Based Learning (2001); Don't Bother Me, Mom—I'm Learning (2006), a book for parents about the positive side of computer and video gaming; and the forthcoming Partnering with Your Digital Native Students, a book to help teachers evolve their craft for the 21st century (2009). He is also the author of more than 50 essays, available online at

Digitally-Enhanced Wisdom

The following is quoted from a February/March 2009 article by Prensky available online, published by Innovate: Journal of Online Education.

Digital technology, I believe, can be used to make us not just smarter but truly wiser. Digital wisdom is a twofold concept, referring both to wisdom arising from the use of digital technology to access cognitive power beyond our innate capacity and to wisdom in the prudent use of technology to enhance our capabilities. Because of technology, wisdom seekers in the future will benefit from unprecedented, instant access to ongoing worldwide discussions, all of recorded history, everything ever written, massive libraries of case studies and collected data, and highly realistic simulated experiences equivalent to years or even centuries of actual experience. How and how much they make use of these resources, how they filter through them to find what they need, and how technology aids them will certainly play an important role in determining the wisdom of their decisions and judgments. Technology alone will not replace intuition, good judgment, problem-solving abilities, and a clear moral compass. But in an unimaginably complex future, the digitally unenhanced person, however wise, will not be able to access the tools of wisdom that will be available to even the least wise digitally enhanced human.
Moreover, given that the brain is now generally understood to be highly plastic, continually adapting to the input it receives, it is possible that the brains of those who interact with technology frequently will be restructured by that interaction. The brains of wisdom seekers of the future will be fundamentally different, in organization and in structure, than our brains are today. Future wisdom seekers will be able to achieve today's level of wisdom without the cognitive enhancements offered by increasingly sophisticated digital technology, but that wisdom will not be sufficient, either in quality or in nature, to navigate a complex, technologically advanced world.

Additional Resources

Center for Computer Games & Virtual Worlds, University of California, Irvine. Retrieved 12/13/09 from Quoting from the website:

The center’s goal is to expand campuswide research activities that draw upon UCI’s strengths spanning the social and technological aspects of games and virtual worlds. More than 20 faculty members from computer science, arts, humanities, social science and education will collaborate in the center.
UCI was among the first major research universities to establish educational and research programs in computer game culture and technology. The UCI Game Culture & Technology Lab, launched in 2001, has attracted nearly $5 million in external funding.

Debolt, David (10/24/08). "How Video Games Can Help in the Classroom, and in the World." The Chronicle of Higher Education: Information Technology. Retrieved 10/21/08 from

This is a short interview of Mary Flanagan, the first holder of the digital humanities chair at Dartmouth College. Quoting from the article:
Q. You started out as a designer of mainstream computer games. What prompted you to begin working on your own?
A. When I was developing commercial software, one of the things that kept coming to mind was questions about the kinds of products we were making. I was thinking to myself, 'How do we know this game is really educational? What are the ways you measure something like that? How do we know we are addressing diverse audiences?' I developed this real sense of curiosity about the various ways that things I was making were being used. Sometimes you have a real push to get your product out the door, and you fail to have the time to ask important questions about what games are doing socially and culturally.

Devaney, L. (8/18 2014). Games: The new learning experience. eSchool News. Retrieved 8/18/2014 from

Quoting from the article:

True game-based learning uses intrinsic experiences and moves away from a more simple extrinsic rewards-based system where students play the game in pursuit of a reward or achievement and are disconnected from the fundamental content.
Games combine just the right degree of challenge with just the right amount of engagement, said Lucien Vattel, CEO of GameDesk, a nonprofit focusing on research and development around game-based learning. GameDesk recently launched Educade, an online portal that links students, teachers, and parents to an online resource library full of apps, games, and hands-on activities.

eSchool News (9/17/08). "Survey: Nearly every kid a video gamer. Pew study reveals that gaming is a social activity for students." Retrieved 9/17/08 from Quoting from the article:

The survey, released Sept. 16, combined the telephone responses from a nationally representative sample of 1,102 young people, ages 12 to 17, and their parents. Performed from November 2007 through February of this year, and partly funded by the MacArthur Foundation, it had a margin of error of three percentage points.
Ninety-seven percent of young respondents play video games. That's 99 percent of boys and 94 percent of girls, with little difference in the percentages among various racial and ethnic groups and incomes. In fact, 7 percent of those surveyed said they didn't have a computer at home, but they did have a game console--such as Sony Corp.'s PlayStation, Microsoft Corp.'s Xbox, or Nintendo Co.'s Wii.

Gee, James Paul (2005). "Good video games and good learning." Retrieved 6/15/09 from Quoting from the article:

Before I talk about learning in games, I must deal with the “content” question. People are prone to say, in a dismissive way, “What you learn when you learn to play a video game is just how to play the game”. Ironically, we actually find here our first good learning principle. Some people think of learning in school—for example, learning biology—as all about learning “facts” that can be repeated on a written test. Decades of research, however, have shown, that students taught under such a regime, though they may be able to pass tests, cannot actually apply their knowledge to solve problems or understand the conceptual lay of the land in the area they are learning (e.g., Gardner 1985).
A science like biology is not a set of facts. In reality, it is a “game” certain types of people “play”. These people engage in characteristic sorts of activities, use characteristic sorts of tools and language, and hold certain values; that is, they play by a certain set of “rules”. The do biology. Of course, they learn, use, and retain lots and lots of facts—even produce them—but the facts come from and with the doing. Left out of the context of biology as activity, biological facts are trivia.

Greenberg, Karl (4/29/2011). "Kids Are Multi-tasking Technology at Younger Ages." MediaPost News. Retrieved 4/29/2011 from

Quoting from the article:

It's hard to believe there was a time, not terribly long ago, when the idea of 6-year-olds having media habits -- much less media habits requiring them to multitask -- would have seemed absurd. Now, however, kids are using a range of media platforms from smartphones to console games -- and starting younger. And they are engaging far more than in the past with content and platforms designed for older kids and even adults.
By age 6, kids are playing video games, using social media, watching videos and seeing movies meant for older people. But their parents are exercising the caveat that if they do so, they -- the parents -- have to participate. The third annual study on the media habits of kids from Ipsos OTX MediaCT suggests that such activities now make up more than a quarter of a 6- to-12-year-old's waking life.

Halverson, Richard. See Quoting from his website:

Rich Halverson is an Associate Professor in the Educational Leadership and Policy Analysis department at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. Rich is a co-founder of the Games, Learning and Society Research Group and the Learning Sciences Program at UW-Madison, and has appointments in the Educational Psychology and Curriculum and Instruction Departments.

'Immersive Education' Submerges Students in Online Worlds Made for Learning. The Chronicle of Higher Education. Retrieved 12/18/07 from Quoting from the article:

At the meeting, Aaron E. Walsh, founder of the nonprofit endeavor and an instructor at Boston College, and two other researchers showed a gathering of about 40 people how virtual spaces can do more than entertain.
Their goal is to build three-dimensional, interactive lessons that will grab students' attention in the same way that popular computer games like World of Warcraft do — but without the violence and titillation associated with many online games.
"It's important to allow educators to mix and match media types to construct a virtual learning environment that's right for their students," said Mr. Walsh.

Klopfer, Osterweil Salen (2009). "Moving learning games forward: obstacles, opportunities, and openness." The Education Arcade, MIT Press. Retrieved 7/19/09 from (58 page retport.)

Klopfer, Osterweil, Groff, and Haas (2009). "The Instructional Power of Games and How Teachers Can Leverage Them." The Education Arcade. MIT. Retrieved 7/19/09: page report.)

Knop, David (11/12/07). "Brandeis IBS Gets Serious About Games." Retrieved 11/13/07 from Quoting from the article:

IBM is working with Brandeis International Business School (IBS) to test "serious games," video games designed to help students build combined business and IT skills often required in today's work environments.
The video and computer games are gaining traction in the enterprise and educational arenas as a means to teach new skills to a generation of young adults raised on video games. According to marketing consultancy The Apply Group, between 100 and 135 of the Global Fortune 500 will use gaming for instructional applications by 2012.

Mindshift. Retrieved 6/28/2013 from

NCTM (n.d.). "Communicating about Mathematics Using Games: Playing Fraction Track." Retrieved 10/18/08 from Quoting from the website:

Mathematical games can foster mathematical communication as students explain and justify their moves to one another. In addition, games can motivate students and engage them in thinking about and applying concepts and skills. This first part, Playing Fraction Track, contains an interactive version of a game (based on the work of Akers, Tierney, Evans, and Murray [1998]) that can be used in the grades 3–5 classroom to support students' learning about fractions. By working on this activity, students have opportunities to think about how fractions are related to a unit whole, compare fractional parts of a whole, and find equivalent fractions, as discussed in the Number and Operations Standard.

O'Brien, Ciara 7/5/07). "Teens using M-rated games to vent anger." The Register. Retrieved 7/5/07 from Quoting from the article:

Teenagers are using violent video games to vent their stress, a new study has found. According to the Massachusetts General Hospital's (MGH) Centre for Mental Health and Media, many young people play video games to manage their feelings, such as stress and anger, and those who play violent video games are among those more likely to play to deal with their anger.
The study found that almost all young teenagers play video games, with only six per cent not playing any in the six months prior to the survey.
"Contrary to the stereotype of the solitary gamer with no social skills, we found that children who play M-rated games are actually more likely to play in groups - in the same room, or over the internet," Cheryl Olson, ScD, co-director of the Centre for Mental Health and Media and lead author of the study, said.

Prabhu, Maya (6/26/09). "Digital games: Playing for learning and health." eschool news. Retrieved 7/2/09 from Quoting from the article:

Video game researchers gathered June 23 to discuss ways gaming can help address the gaps in U.S. students' educational performance, while also helping to improve their health.
The forum was held the day the Joan Ganz Cooney Center at Sesame Workshop released a report that specifies how increased national investment in research-based digital games can play a cost-effective and transformative role in children's health and education.
"On an average day, children as young as eight spend as many hours engaged in media activity as they spend in school; three-quarters of American children play computer and video games," states the report, titled Game Changer: Investing in Digital Play to Advance Children's Learning and Health.
The report, based on interviews with 24 experts, aims to offer a framework for using digital games to help children learn healthy behaviors, traditional skills such as reading and math, and 21st-century skills such as critical thinking, global learning, and programming design.

Royle, Karl (2008). "Game-based learning: A different perspective." Journal of Online Learning. Retrieved 4/13/08 from Quoting from the beginning of the article:

Video game use in education has focused on the application of games within the existing education system and on their inherent potential for producing learning (Gee 2003). However, research has revealed a fundamental mismatch between the goals of games and the object of school-based learning (Sandford et al. 2006; Squire 2005; Becta 2002). As a result, efforts to integrate games into the curriculum have frequently fallen flat despite the best intentions of teachers and the gaming industry. Such efforts have failed either because games designed to educate do not engage their intended audience, or because truly engaging games do not provide enough educational value.
In part, this failure has been because games are fundamentally incompatible with the school environment (Exhibit 1). From the student's point of view, integrating games into the school culture dilutes the experience of game playing. From the teacher's point of view, games are too long, too immersive, and focused on the wrong outcomes, motivating students to achieve defined win states rather than to seek knowledge. The problem is that educational game designers have approached the problem backward: Rather than striving to get games into education, educators should be investigating ways to get education into games.
This article suggests ways to accomplish this via a new genre of video game that engages gamers outside of formal schooling. This approach is contextualized by a brief outline of the shortcomings of video game usage within education. The article then illustrates how curriculum-related learning material can be integrated into commercial-quality video games.

Steenhuysen, Julie (7/5/07). "Video games rob reading, homework time: U.S. study." Retrieved 7/5/07 from Quoting from the article:

CHICAGO (Reuters) - Boys who play video games on school days spend 30 percent less time reading and girls spend 34 percent less time doing homework than those who do not play such games, U.S. researchers said on Monday. Newsletter. Retrieved 9/8/08 from

Some Additional References Contributed by Michael W. Hurst

Clark, D. (2004). "ADDIE-1975." Retrieved 3/25/08 from

Crawford, C. (1997). "The art of computer game design." Reprinted by Washington State University. (Original work published 1982). Retrieved 3/25/08 from

GamaNetwork (2004). "The Art & Science of Making Games." Retrieved 3/25/08 from

Massachusetts Institute of Technology (1990). "Nintendo to support learning research." Tech Talk. Retrieved 3/25/08 from

Min, R. (2004). "Simulation and discovery learning in an age of zapping and searching." Retrieved 3/25/08 from

NPD Group (2007). "Amount of time kids spend playing video games in on the rise." Retrieved 3/25/08 from

Prensky, M. (2002a) "What Kids Learn That’s POSITIVE from Playing Video Games." Marc Prensky – Writing. Retrieved 3/25/08 from

Prensky, M. (2004a) "Digital Game Based Learning." Chapter 10 in True Believers: Digital Game-Based Learning in the Military Marc Prensky – Writing. Retrieved 3/25/08 from

Prensky, M. (2004b) "What Can Educators Learn from Computer Games about Engagement and Children?" Retrieved 3/25/08 from

Spectre, M., & Prensky, M. (2004). "Theoretical underpinnings of Games2Training’s approach." Retrieved 3/25/08 from

YoYo Games. (2007). "Gamemaker 7.0." Retrieved 3/25/08 from

Sources of Games

For more than a thousand "old" Apple games see An emulator is available for both Mac and PC.

"Our Courts." Retrieved 11/5/09 from

Some free games for children. Retrieved 11/5/09 from


David Moursund and Michael Hurst