(A national inquiry by the Joan Ganz Cooney Center and E-Line Media, generously supported by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation)
Game-based learning has emerged as a promising area of innovation in making rigorous academic content and professional practices more engaging, relevant and effective for America’s youth. Recently the National Academy of Sciences and the Federation of American Scientists have issued statements identifying the potential benefits of more robust experimentation and integration of digital games and simulations in K-12 education.
Philanthropic organizations, government agencies and academic institutions are now investing significant funds and intellectual resources in promising game-based-learning research and development efforts. Unfortunately, very few of these initiatives have successfully crossed over from small scale innovations to sustainable products or scalable models in either formal or informal learning markets. As a result, private sector investors have been reluctant to help capitalize the sector. This has resulted in a funding gap that is constraining the growth of a new ecosystem of game-based learning products and services.
The Publishing Council
Now entering the second phase of its activities, the Games and Learning Publishing Council aims to understand the market dynamics and areas of innovation that are ready for scaling within the game-based education field. The Council, which is made up of a multi-sector leadership group of industry, research, philanthropic, policy and practice leaders will develop analytical tools, convene experts and disseminate periodic reports to help “raise the sector.” In the next two and a half years, the Council’s next phase of activities will include analyses of game-based learning assessments, convening learning institutes for teachers on games, conducting surveys and studies of how teachers use video games, and developing an online community that will make research and market information freely available.
Major activities of the first year included:
- iLearn II: An Analysis of the Education Category of Apple’s App Store
An examination of nearly 200 top-selling education category apps for Apple’s iPad and iPhone with the goal of understanding this market’s dynamics and trends, iLearn II highlights industry best practices and future opportunities for developers, educators and researchers to influence this important, but under‐scrutinized category by closely examining the content of children’s apps within the education category. An Addendum was published separately, highlighting the importance of understanding the Games market in terms of leveraging Apps to further children’s learning.
- National Survey and Video Case Studies: Teacher Attitudes about Digital Games in the Classroom
Combining the breadth of a national survey with the depth that case studies can provide, the Joan Ganz Cooney Center and BrainPop used these two research tools to gauge teacher’s attitudes and beliefs about the effect classroom video game use has on student learning, developmental growth and social behavior. This national survey of 505 teachers on video game use in the classroom surfaced recommendations for future educational game development and advocacy. The overall goal of this research is to connect the documented experiences of teachers with other research about video games and learning, and to provide media-rich illustrations about innovative classroom practice that can be made available to a variety of audiences.
- Edutainment Case Study & Timeline
Our research has indicated that developers and others in the current game industry often attribute the industry downfall either to lack of market demand or a near impossibility in creating great products, but in reality neither of these assertions is correct. This short case study attempts to debunk some of the misconceptions around what happened to edutainment in the ‘90s, and hopefully shift perception around products that both educate and entertain while simultaneously sharing valuable lessons learned from one of the most important periods in the history of games and learning.
- Games for a Digital Age: K-12 Market Map and Investment Analysis
This report includes a sector analysis and market map of game-based learning initiatives with an analysis of relevant trends in education and digital technology that are likely to impact development of a robust game-based learning market segment. By formulating a new framework for understanding the changing dynamics of purchase decisions at the school, extended learning, and consumer levels including a “follow the money” analysis, this report will guide efficient use of existing capital and examine where new investment would be most productive.
- Chairman, Milton Chen, Senior Fellow and Executive Director, Emeritus, The George Lucas Educational Foundation
- Michael Angst, Co-Founder and CEO, E-Line Media
- Sujata Bhatt, Master Teacher, Los Angeles Unified School District/Future is Now Schools
- Dee Chambliss, Program Officer, Texas High School Project at Communities Foundation of Texas
- Christopher L. Curran, Co-Founder and Managing Partner, Education Growth Partners
- Alex Chisholm, Executive Director, Learning Games Network, MIT
- Virginia Edwards, Editor in Chief, EducationWeek
- Erik Huey, Senior Vice President, Entertainment Software Association (ESA)
- Din Heiman, COO and General Manager, BrainPOP
- Robert M. Lippincott, Senior Vice President, Education, PBS
- Laird Malamed, Adjunct Professor, USC School of Cinematic Arts
- Deborah McGriff, Partner, New School Venture Fund
- Mark Nieker, President, Pearson Foundation
- Linda Burch, Co-Founder, Common Sense Media
- Leslie Redd, Director of Educational Programs, Valve
- Constance Steinkuehler, Associate Professor, University of Wisconsin
- Brian Waniewski, Managing Director, Institute of Play
Updated January 2013