Increasingly, digital games are cropping up everywhere in education. And that’s stimulated a flurry of activity leading to the expectation that no longer are learning games only likely to come from traditional education companies, but a wide variety of sources.
The expectation-setting stats and statements, at least, are straightforward. Both the New Media Consortium’s 2012 Horizon Report on higher education and its 2011 Horizon Report for K-12 put game-based learning in the mainstream (defined as adopted by about 20% of institutions) in the next two-to-three years. “The greatest potential of games for learning lie in their ability to foster collaboration and engage students deeply in the process of learning,” noted the 2012 higher ed collaborative effort of NMC educators and research centers.
Then there’s the expectation of the “demand” side: students. An Educause survey last October found 37% of college students use educational games or simulations – and 15% wished their instructors used them more often. Project Tomorrow’s national Speak Up report released in April found that 52% of middle school students wanted their “ultimate” school to have games and simulations.
Now, it appears, the “supply” side is responding, building on a base of learning game research from this century – or simply taking advantage of heightened expectations. No matter what the motivation, it provides evidence a perceived K-20 trend toward games may actually be real and is spurring activity from places not always thought as hotbeds of hard-core learning game development.
Consumer and learning game worlds have long been separate, with some notable crossovers (Where in the World is Carmen Sandiego and SimCity are two early standouts). But motivated companies are trying to make consumer crossovers more common and even more structured. Continue reading