Games and Learning/Topics/Epistemology/Overview

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Rebetez, C. & Betrancourt, M. (2007), 'Video Game Research in cognitive and educational sciences', Cognition, Brain, Behaviour, v11 (1), p131-142.

This work reviews several aspects of the growing research field interested in video games. First, the evolution of this media in the educational field is discussed. Three different fields interested in the cognitive impact playing of video games are reviewed: abilities and skills, attitudes and motivation, knowledge and content learning. However, most studies used video games as new experimental materials and tasks to contribute to their specific field i.e. attention and perception, and not as a scientific object of interest per se. We claim that the research on video games is in need of a conceptual and methodological framework in which results and effects could be compared, interpreted and generalized. We argue that video games can have multiple effects on players and that these effects can be used as educational potentials. An empirically-based classification of games, depending on their potential effects for an educational purpose, is strongly needed. Likewise, a unified research paradigm and methodologies to carry on reliable research on video games has to be developed.

Kafai, Y. B. (2006), 'Playing and Making Games for Learning: Instructionist and Constructionist Perspectives for Game Studies', Games and Culture 1 (1), 36-40. /

This article presents an overview of what we know about two perspectives, coined instructionistand constructionist, to games for learning. The instructionists, accustomed to thinking in terms of making instructional educational materials, turn naturally to the concept of designing instructional games. Far fewer people have sought to turn the tables: by making games for learning instead of playing games for learning. Rather than embedding "lessons" directly in games, constructionists have focused their efforts on providing students with greater opportunities to construct their own games—and to construct new relationships with knowledge in the process. Research has only begun to build a body of experience that willmake us believe in the value of playing and making games for learning.