Computer games have attracted much attention over the years, mostly attention of the less flattering kind. This has been true for computer games focused on entertainment, but also for what for years seemed a sure winner, edutainment. This dissertation aims to be a modest contribution to understanding educational use of computer games by building a framework that goes beyond edutainment. A framework that doesn't rely on a narrow perception of computer games in education.
Part one of the dissertation outlines the background for building an inclusive and solid framework for educational use of computer games. Such a foundation includes a variety of different perspectives for example educational media and non-electronic games. It is concluded that for years educational use of computer games has been strongly influenced by educational media leading to the domination of edutainment.
The second part takes up the challenges posed in part 1 looking to especially educational theory and computer games research to present alternatives. By drawing on previous research three generations of educational computer games are identified.
In the third part the main empirical study is laid out with the purpose of examining the actual use of computer games in an educational setting from a 3rd generation perspective. The empirical study was conducted at a Danish high-school involving 72 students and two teachers. The study examined the use of a commercial historical strategy game Europa Universalis II in a 21⁄2 month history course where the computer game played a significant role.
The last part presents the general framework for understanding educational use of computer games, where the ends from the three previous parts are tied together The theory extends from an experiential learning approach, where concrete experiences are the starting point that can be transformed through reflection, instruction and active experimentation.
It is concluded that computer games provide rich concrete experience that can be manipulated in the game universe providing more handles for the student compared to other media.
Exploring the Educational Potential of Computer Games
Publication date: 14/01/2011
An empirical based framework for educational use of computer games
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