I love games. I really really do. I love learning new games, playing them, reading about games... and I'm especially interested in how playing games can improve our lives. So much so that I've decided that what I want to do is research and design structured around the use of games in education. I've recently began a new branch in my career path as a doctoral student. Today I've decided to share an excerpt from my "Letter of Intent" that I wrote as part of my doctoral admissions process. This is a peek into my motivations and goals for the future, and explains the basic premise I am basing my dissertation research on:
Looking forward into the future of education, I am excited about the possibilities. I imagine a classroom in which students are engaged, motivated, and academically successful regardless of background. I believe that this is an achievable vision, and I think that what students need to accomplish this is to play more games. Research studies are consistently showing the intellectual and social benefits of gaming, and demonstrating how games can help us learn to become motivated problem-solvers and creative thinkers. Games research has shown that games can help close the achievement gap, promote engagement in academic material, motivate students to stay in school, and enhance social and intellectual skill development.
During my Masters of Education program, I took a class entitled Action Research. Throughout this course, we were challenged to think about problem solving through research and taught how a methodological approach to answering important questions in education practice could result in improved classroom results. As I learned about this approach, I began to consider what question I would most want to answer. My conclusion was that my question was bigger than a single classroom. What I want to know is how can a teacher, who is excited about the possibilities a games-based learning approach can offer, implement games into the classroom in a way that will help enhance learning and increase student outcomes? In other words, how can we implement games-based learning as a core curriculum component? How can I work towards contributing to this vision of the future? It’s not like a “good idea” is enough; I need evidence based best practices to back up my ideas, and a solid understanding of both curriculum theory and leadership techniques for implementing positive institutional change. I decided to pursue a doctoral degree in Educational Leadership and Curriculum/Instruction, with hopes of diving into and becoming a part of the research I am so excited about. I intend to devote my energy and attention to researching, developing, implementing, and sharing solutions to this challenge.
The teacher in me is elated about the educational possibilities and the gamer in me is stoked for another excuse to play more games. Win-win! I'm planning to occassionally post about my progress, interesting artciles I come across, and new ideas relating to using games in education, so I wanted to start of explaining where I'm coming from and what I'm hoping to accomplish. As always, feel free to leave comments, ask questions, or chime in with your thoughts!