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Learning and Games- Annotated Bibliography

Gee, J. Learning and Games. The Ecology of Games: Connecting Youth, Games, and

Learning. Edited by Katie Salen. The John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation

Series on Digital Media and Learning. Cambridge, MA: The MIT Press, 2008. 21–40.

James Paul Gee discusses the idea that games promote learning. He points out that modern understandings of how humans learn are better suited for the utilization of games for instruction. The fact that video games require individuals to learn and use ideas and skills before they move on to the next level provides a scaffolding effect. The user also benefits from being able to practice the ideas and skills through models which helps students to have more meaningful experiences with the content they are learning.  

This piece provides a thorough explanation of the way games work and how their design and the social structures that often surround them can be used to promote learning experiences. The author of this piece gives a detailed description of how learning games can be designed based on the contemporary learning theory to promote higher order thinking and problem-solving skills. In his descriptions, Gee provides a number of examples that support his reasoning and provides a rationale for using games build around the contemporary learning theory for learning experiences.

Many secondary educators in k-12 struggle with the idea of using games for classroom learning. This piece provides some well researched and well-supported ideas about how this medium could be used to promote real student understanding of concepts. This information can be used for teachers to gain a better understanding of digital games as a learning tool and can help them build confidence in the idea of using the medium in their own classes. It also allows for educators, who intend to use this tool, to be able to understand the different elements that games they choose to use in their classrooms should contain to be successful in their learning goals.