(A Joan Ganz Cooney Center project generously supported by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation)
Game-based learning has emerged as a promising area of innovation in addressing a vital weakness in American educational performance: the need to make academic content more engaging, adaptive, relevant and rigorous for America’s youth. Growing evidence demonstrates that digital games can be used to advance standards-based content mastery in literacy and math, develop a deep understanding of STEM concepts and build critical 21st century skills that are essential for preparing youth for success in a global and digital marketplace.
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.
With generous support from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, the Joan Ganz Cooney Center launched the Games and Learning Publishing Council (GLPC), a multi-sector alliance convened with field leaders and key investors in game-based learning. The GLPC aims to understand the market dynamics and areas of innovation within the game-based education field. It will do so by promoting innovations that are ready for scaling within the GBL field, to develop and disseminate analytical tools, briefs and reports to help “raise the sector,” and to engage policymakers, developers and investors to wisely deploy digital games to advance common core knowledge, and 21st century skills.
Building upon products developed in 2011-2012, the GLPC is currently engaged in the following activities:
- GamesandLearning.org is a new site that aims to present the latest research, market analysis and opinions on the games based learning sector. Its goal is to be a resource for games developers and investors, thereby encouraging more research-based game development and investment
- Level up learning: A national survey on teaching with digital games: The GLPC has conducted a national survey of nearly 700 K-8 teachers throughout the U.S. to better understand the factors driving teachers to use games in the classroom as well as the barriers preventing those teachers who do not use games in the classroom
- Teaching with Games: New Approaches to PD is a video series on how teachers learn to use digital games in the classroom. The first five videos in our case study series showed how early adopter teachers are using games for learning and how games themselves are being integrated into professional development. This focus is a direct response to our first national teacher survey, which showed that only 12% of teachers were exposed to games-based learning at the pre-service level, and that teachers typically provide their own ongoing professional learning regarding games and learning research, practice, and support by reading articles, subscribing to relevant newsletters and online networks, and attending conferences.
- Developing a series of interactive tools, analytical briefs, industry reports and policy analysis/briefs designed to examine various aspects of the game based learning sector. For example, what are key things a game developer should know about developing a game for CCSS. What can policymakers do to enable a greater game based learning environment?
Major activities of the GLPC’s first year included:
- 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, Founder and Lead Teacher, the Incubator School, Los Angeles Unified School District
- Linda Burch, Co-Founder and Chief Education and Strategy Officer, Common Sense Media
- Dee Chambliss, Program Officer, Texas High School Project at Communities Foundation of Texas
- Christopher L. Curran, Co-Founder and Managing Partner, Education Growth Partners
- Sara DeWitt, Vice President, PBS KIDS Digital
- Virginia Edwards, Editor in Chief, Education Week
- Robert Gehorsam, Executive Director, Institute of Play
- Din Heiman, COO and General Manager, BrainPOP
- Erik Huey, Senior Vice President, Entertainment Software Association (ESA)
- Robert M. Lippincott, Senior Vice President, Education Strategy & Partnerships, PBS
- Laird Malamed, Adjunct Professor, USC School of Cinematic Arts
- Deborah McGriff, Managing Director, NewSchools Venture Fund
- Mark Nieker, President, Pearson Foundation
- Scot Osterweil, Creative Director, MIT’s Education Arcade and the Learning Games Network
- Leslie Redd, Chief of Content and Partner Relations,
- Constance Steinkuehler, Associate Professor, University of Wisconsin
- Lucien Vattel, Chief Executive Officer, GameDesk
Updated March 2014