Digital Games are pervasive, constantly evolving in their complexity and features, and heralded by many as agents for education reform. Arguably, digital games are also among the least understood tools in education. In this presentation I will first provide a brief summary of the case of using games for learning in general and will review research studies my colleagues and I conducted over the past 15 years that investigated a variety of cognitive, social, and emotional design patterns to make games effective learning tools. I will then discuss the potential and challenges related to using games for language learning, and challenge the notion that motivation is the most important reason to consider games for learning.
Jan L. Plass
, Ph.D., Paulette Goddard Professor of Digital Media and Learning Sciences in the Steinhardt School of Culture, Education, and Human Development at New York University, 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, and directs the programs in Educational Communication and Technology at NYU MAGNET, which include an MA in Digital Media Design for Learning, a MS in Games for Learning, and a PhD in Educational Communication and Technology. Dr. Plass’ research is at the intersection of cognitive science, learning sciences, and design, and seeks to enhance the effectiveness of interactive visual environments for learning. His current focus is on cognitive and emotional design patterns for simulations and games for math, science and statistics education and cognitive skills development. He frequently serves as advisor to national and international corporations, start-ups, non-profit organizations, and federal, state, and local agencies, helping them make digital media more effective and accessible to a broad range of learners. Dr. Plass received an MA in Mathematics and Physics Education and a Ph.D. in Educational Technologies from Erfurt University (PH Erfurt, Germany). He lives in Manhattan with his wife and two adventurous boys.