Outlining a New Agenda
This sample of recent reviews supports the conclusion that there is insufficient and inconclusive evidence that video games have any causal status with respect to academic achievement. However, there are compelling reasons why we should continue to do research to explore whether elements of game play can be exploited for educational gain. In Figure 5.1, I outline several steps for the next phases of such a research agenda. I independently generated many of these critiques and suggestions, but I note when they are consistent with views expressed by others interested in the academic potential of games. Note that the order of steps in Figure 5.1 is somewhat arbitrary. For example, steps 3 through 5 could go in any order. Similarly, the information in steps 2 through 6 should inform the development of high-quality learning games (step 1). However, I will agree with Prensky (2011) that research on the educational effectiveness of a game should come only after the initial research and development steps toward game design have been completed. I will focus on steps 1 through 6 in this chapter. Step 7 is beyond the scope of this chapter and includes many domain-general guidelines for good research, regardless of content area. Specific suggestions with respect to video
Figure 5.1 An outline of the possible next steps for research on video games in science education.
games can be found in Dede (2011), Gee (2011), NRC (2011), Prensky (2011), and Young et al. (2012).