There’s a lot of research out there! Here are a few great journals/articles:
Bjoerner, T., & Søgaard Hansen, C. (2010). Designing an Educational Game: Design Principles from a Holistic Perspective. International Journal Of Learning, 17(10), 279-289.
Bjoerner and Hansen (2010) in their article, talk about how educational games often lack the learning content or the game content. The authors talk about how it is difficult for educational games to have the perfect balance between challenging the student and providing game mechanisms for the students to be able to solve the tasks given. Bjoerner and Hansen (2010) discuss the three important perspectives that must be taken into consideration when building an educational game. These perspectives would be from the student, the teacher, and the game designer. The authors also found in their study that including the teachers in this process allows them to learn the game as well and how it works. This solves the problem of students focusing on how to play the game instead of helping students with the game. The research done in this article found that it is important to include the three perspectives in creating an education game, but it was never researched into what characteristics are needed in the game itself. My research will take the importance of this article and that the teachers perspective is needed, and take the research further into finding out what game characteristics teachers are looking for in an educational game.
Clark, A. C., & Ernst, J. V. (2009). Gaming in technology education. Technology and Engineering Teacher, 68(5), 21-26. http://search.proquest.com/docview/235292184?accountid=28180
Clark and Ernst (2009) discuss in their article how gaming can impact learning and education in general. Their article is based on the theory that gaming has the ability to teach life skills that employers want such as analytical thinking, team building, multitasking, and problem solving under duress. They also note the evidence that gaming has the ability to making learning fun which increases their motivation to learn and do homework. In their research, Clark and Ernst (2009) discovered that because games utilized stories and characters, a unique experience was being created for the learner and it allowed students to better retain the subject matter. This research will help with the introduction of educational games in my dissertation and how they can successfully impact the classroom and the students.
Couse, L. J., & Chen, D. W. (2010). A tablet computer for young children? Exploring its viability for early childhood education. Journal Of Research On Technology In Education, 43(1), 75-98.
Couse and Chen (2010) investigated the practicability of having tablet computers in early education classrooms. This was done by investigating children’s comfort in adapting to the tablets and its effectiveness in engaging them to draw. The authors were able to gather both quantitative and qualitative data to assess the practicality of a tablet computer as a learning tool. They were also able to examine individual interactions with the computer both during and after instruction. The findings in this article were that the students became more comfortable with the tablet as each class progressed. Teachers reported that there was a high interest and that the drawings were above expectations. The authors also noted that the children quickly developed ease with the stylus for drawing. This article helps attest that tablets have their place in the classroom even though it is a new and unique form of computing. This fits well within my research because educational games no longer have to be just on a computer. Games can now have the characteristic of being touch-capable and allow for much more immersion.
Gunter, G., Kenny, R., & Vick, E. (2008). Taking educational games seriously: using the RETAIN model to design endogenous fantasy into standalone educational games. Educational Technology Research & Development, 56(5/6), 511-537. doi:10.1007/s11423-007-9073-2
In this article, Gunter, Kenny, and Vick (2008) discuss how educational games lack the appropriate content for players/learners. Games are not being built on learning and instructional theories and are therefore allowing students to be entertained, but are at risk of failing to meet their educational goals. Educational games in their research allow for fun but also incorporate challenges, goals, and allow for feedback. Gunter, Kenny, and Vick discuss how creating an educational game is much more than simply making a game fun with academic content. For their study, the authors created a model that scores an educational game based on its content. However, as noted by the authors, not all content listed in the scale should be weighted the same. Currently, their scales weights all game characteristics the same and my research will take some of their characteristics and discover from educators which ones are important/needed and which are not. This will also help with future research so that researchers will have an understanding of what game characteristics educators find important in educational games.