Games in Education: Serious Games
‘Serious games’ are not new in the area of education. The term dates back to late 60’s and first appears in Clark Abt’s book (1968) entitled ‘Serious Games’. Neither then nor now, definitions for serious games illuminate the aspect of ‘entertainment’. In fact, literature shows that researchers and practitioners in the area of serious games have not come to agreement regarding the ‘entertainment’ aspect within the definition of serious games. Ulicsak and Wright's report bring these issues into light. Apart from the reflection upon varying definitions, the discussion revolves around the relation between games, serious games, simulations, virtual worlds.
The pedagogy embedded in the gaming environments is also discussed. To what extend the underlying pedagogy impacts on learning and places the game to the one category/generation or the other? (i.e the first generation of games is linked to behaviourist learning models; the second generation is based on the theories of constructivism; the third generation of games brings together different learning models: constructionism, experiential learning, reflective approaches to learning, problem- based learning and more.
Mechanisms for assessment are also brought into focus in an attempt to address an answer to the question: 'How learning can be assessed through games?' The report then has an overview of games that are used in various domains and settings: military, health, vocational and formal/informal educational settings.
A thoroughly- researched report on gaming environments in the area of education written by Ulicsak and Wright that is worth our attention: http://media.futurelab.org.uk/resources/documents/lit_reviews/Serious-Games_Review.pdf