Video Games and the Future of Learning (Jan Plass and Bruce Homer)





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Published on Jun 7, 2011

Google Tech Talk (more info below)
June 3, 2011

Presented by Jan Plass and Bruce Homer.


Digital Games are pervasive, constantly evolving in their complexity and features, and are heralded by many as an agent for education reform. Arguably, digital games are also among the least understood tools in education, particularly in K-12 settings. Proponents have made a strong case for the potential of games to engage students in meaningful learning activities that are highly motivating, engaging, and fun. However, research has only slowly been able to gather evidence for the effectiveness of games for learning. In the first half of this presentation we will provide a brief summary of the case of using games for learning and will review empirical research studies we conducted over the past 15 years that investigated a variety of cognitive, social, and emotional design patterns to make games and game-like environments effective learning tools. In the second half of the talk we will discuss a series of questions and challenges related to the study of games. These issues include the design of learning mechanics and assessment mechanics for games for learning, the approaches to embedded assessment, and questions related to data mining of the rich log files of game events and user logs as well as biometric data such as posture data, EKG, GSR, and EMG that these assessments generate.

Speaker Info:

Jan L. Plass is Professor of Educational Communication and Technology in the Steinhardt School of Culture, Education, and Human Development at New York University, where he co-directs the Games for Learning Institute. He is the founding director of the CREATE Consortium for Research and Evaluation of Advanced Technology in Education. His research is at the intersection of cognitive science, learning sciences, and design, and seeks to enhance the design of visual environments. His current focus is on cognitive and emotional aspects of information design and interaction design of simulations and educational games for math and science education. He has received funding for his research from the IES, the NSF, the NIH and, most recently, from Microsoft Research, the Motorola Foundation, and the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. Dr. Plass serves on the editorial review boards of some of the most highly ranked journals in his field, including the Journal of Educational Psychology, Educational Technology Research and Development, Computers in Human Behavior, Journal of Computing in Higher Education, and the Journal of Research on Technology in Education.

Dr. Plass received his MA in Mathematics and Physics Education and his Ph.D. in Educational Technologies from Erfurt University (PH Erfurt, Germany).

Bruce D. Homer is an Associate Professor of Educational Psychology in the Learning, Development and Instruction subprogram at the Graduate Center, City University of New York. He is director of the Child Interactive Learning and Development (CHILD) Lab. He is also training director for the Interdisciplinary Postdoctoral Research Training (IPoRT) program, and Director of Research at the Consortium for Research and Evaluation of Advanced Technologies in Education (CREATE). Dr. Homer's research examines the ways in which children acquire and use cultural tools to store and transmit knowledge (e.g., language, literacy, and information technologies), and how these tools
transform developmental and learning processes. Of particular interest is how development and learning affect the ways in which mental representations are formed. Dr. Homer's current research includes work on multimedia learning environments, videogames for learning, and language, cognition and symbolic understanding in children. He has served as consultant for a number of educational projects, including his current work with project UMIGO, which is funded by a US Department of Education Ready to Learn Grant to developing a transmedia curriculum to support young children's acquisition of math skills.

Dr. Homer's research has been funded by the NSF, the IES, the NIH and Microsoft Research. He completed a B.Sc. in Psychology at Dalhousie University, and a M.A. and Ph.D. in Human Development and Applied Psychology at the Ontario Institute for Studies of Education at the University of Toronto.


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