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As a fourth year doctoral candidate, in addition to having completed comprehensive examinations and prospectus and working on the dissertation, my thoughts are also turning towards the job market and securing that first academic position. This purpose of this blog is to chronicle the trials and tribulations of completing my Ph.D. and finding that first job.

Friday, April 01, 2005

Gaming in education

I notice that Bethany Smith has posted an entry about video games and education (see - Video Gaming and Education). This is a topic that has interested me for some time. As an instructor for a course entitled an introduction to technology for pre-service teachers, I regularly have students create Powerpoint Games in my course. I have also been involved in a couple of development projects where I have witnessed K-12 students create their own games using the Powerpoint template (a grade five Mathematics class and a virtual high school Advanced Placement History class).

The process has fascinated me. How students will become so interested in something that is essentially an electronic board game. While I understand the theoretical ideas behind why students enjoy games (see Lloyd Rieber's ETR&D article on The Value of Serious Play). However, this makes more sense for video games than it does for something like Powerpoint Games.

The problem that I see with much of this is that there is little research testing these theories. There seem to be more written each month, but much of it is based upon journalistics style reporting, as opposed to sound research design (see The Chronicle of Higher Education or Gee's chapter in Situated language and learning: A critique of traditional schooling).

So, what is it about gaming that gets kids going? And how can we go about designing research that gets at what is going on here so that we can figure out ways to do more of it?

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