Meta Analysis Summary: Video Games
Video games are very popular and often sell millions of copies on their opening weekend. For years, the aviation industry (McClernon, McCauley, O'Connor, & Warm, 2011) and military (Prensky, 2003) have used games to help prepare both pilots and combat troops. Educational games have been around for a while, but it was not until recently that researchers, educators, and corporations began to explore their educational potential (Gee, 2003; Prensky, 2007; Steinkuehler, Alagoz, King, & Martin, in press). Provided the right planning and environment (Gee, 2005; Squire, 2006), video games appear to have a positive impact on learning (Connolly, Boyle, MacArthur, Hainey, & Boyle, 2012; Ke, 2009; Randel, Morris, Wetzel, & Whitehill, 1992; Wouters, van Nimwegen, van Oostendorp, van der Spek, 2013; Vogel et al., 2006; Yong et al., 2012). However, much of the data on games and education are self-report and case studies. Therefore, while overall the literature supports the use of video games for educational purposes, there is very little experimental research that is supportive. For example, a New York school's (Quest to Learn) entire curricula is centered on gaming (Corbett, 2010). While, both teachers and students report that they enjoy using games to learn (self-reported and case study), the test data (i.e., standardized test scores) suggest that students are struggling to keep up with traditional schools in some subjects (New York City Department of Education, 2013; Sutter, 2012). Nonetheless, some of the most promising video game research is from intelligent tutoring games/programs, which are being studied experimentally and show promising results (Aleven & Koedinger, 2002; Rutherford et al., 2010).
- Do not use video games that lack experimental data supporting their effectiveness.
- Generally, intelligent tutoring games/programs have a positive impact on learning and can easily be integrated into the curriculum.
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McClernon, C. K., McCauley, M. E., O'Connor, P. E., & Warm, J. S. (2011). Stress training improves performance during a stressful flight. Human Factors: The Journal of the Human Factors and Ergonomics Society, 53(3), 207-218.
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Rutherford, T., Kibrick, M., Burchinal, M., Richland, L., Conley, A., Osborne, K., … Martinez, M. E. (2010). Spatial temporal mathematics at scale: An innovative and fully developed paradigm to boost math achievement among all learners. Paper presented at American Educational Research Association (AERA), Denver, CO.
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Steinkuehler, C., Alagoz, E., King, E., & Martin, C. (in press). A cross case analysis of two out of school programs based on virtual worlds. To appear in the International Journal of Gaming and Computer Mediated Simulations (IJGCMS).
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Wouters, P., van Nimwegen, C., van Oostendorp, H., & van der Spek, E. D. (2013). A meta-analysis of the cognitive and motivational effects of serious games. Journal of Educational Psychology, 105(2), 249-265.
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Last updated: 06/02/2015