Whether you’re a game-based learning aficionado seeking the most up-to-date news and research or a total noob attempting to wrap your head around the basics, there are a wealth of free online resources to help guide you on your path to game-based learning enlightenment. However, no blog post or article will ever quite match the comfort, convenience, and simplicity of reading a physical, printed book – which is why we’ve compiled a list of our most highly recommended game-based learning texts (just for you, of course!) Peruse our picks, and let us know what you think of our list on Facebook or Twitter:
What Video Games Have to Teach Us About Learning and Literacy
James Paul Gee
Considered by many to be the seminal game-based learning text, Dr. James Paul Gee’s What Video Games Have to Teach Us About Learning and Literacy is the perfect starting point for those who wish to explore the concept of video games as a learning tool. Through critical analysis and discussion of popular games like World of Warcraft and Half-Life 2, Dr. Gee details the possibilities of video games serving as the instructional tools of the future.
Handbook of Game-based Learning (MIT Press)
Jan L. Plass (Editor), Richard E. Mayer (Editor), Bruce D. Homer (Editor)
Edited by Jan L. Plass, Richard E. Mayer, and Bruce D. Homer, the Handbook of Game-based Learning (MIT Press) aims to offer a comprehensive introduction to the latest research on learning and instruction with computer games. With an emphasis on empirical findings and grounded in psychological and learning sciences theory, this book provides a range of perspectives that cover the cognitive, motivational, affective, and sociocultural aspects of educational game design.
The Game Believes in You: How Digital Play Can Make Our Kids Smarter
Written by Inside Higher Ed Senior Editor Greg Toppo, The Game Believes in You: How Digital Play Can Make Our Kids Smarter tells the stories of several game-based learning visionaries and their quest to create revolutionary new digital learning experiences. Written to excite and inspire educators and parents, The Game Believes in You serves as a thoughtful introduction to exploring the power of digital games to teach subjects like math, music, language arts, and more.
Hear more about the book from Greg Toppo himself on the Filament Games Podcast!
Resonant Games: Design Principles for Learning Games that Connect Hearts, Minds, and the Everyday (The John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation Series on Digital Media and Learning)
Eric Klopfer (Author), Jason Haas (Author), Scot Osterweil (Author), Louisa Rosenheck (Author), Colleen Macklin (Foreword)
Written by our friends and collaborators Eric Klopfer, Louisa Rosenheck, and Scot Osterweil, Resonant Games: Design Principles for Learning Games that Connect Hearts, Minds, and the Everyday offers a guide to designing games that integrate content and play, creating learning experiences that connect to many areas of learners’ lives. Designers will field informed strategies with the aim of creating games that provide a long-form experience of exploration, discovery, and collaboration that takes into consideration the learning environment. Resonant Games describes twenty essential principles for designing games that offer this kind of deeper learning experience, presenting them in connection with five games or collections of games developed at MIT’s educational game research lab, the Education Arcade.
Doing Things with Games, Social Impact through Play
Written by friend of Filament and Game-based Learning Luminary Lindsay Grace, Doing Things with Games, Social Impact Through Play provides a contemporary foundation in designing social impact games. With a 3 part structure focusing on understanding, application, and implementation, the book serves as a guide to designing social impact games, particularly focused on the needs of media professionals, indie game designers and college students. Aspiring education game designers need look no further for a turnkey guide about creating social impact play, informed by heuristics in game design.
Actionable Gamification – Beyond Points, Badges, and Leaderboards
While game-based learning is the focus of all the other books on this list, we thought we’d throw in a gamification pick as well – namely, Yu-kai Chou’s Actionable Gamification – Beyond Points, Badges, and Leaderboards. An in-depth guide to merging game mechanics and behavioral psychology concepts to create motivating and engaging experiences, Yu-kai Chou’s well-reviewed book explores his 12 years of gamification research, culminating in the creation of the Octalysis Framework.
Video Games and Learning: Teaching and Participatory Culture in the Digital Age
Written by friend of Filament Dr. Kurt Squire, Video Games and Learning: Teaching and Participatory Culture in the Digital Age builds on over 10 years of game-based learning research, describing how educators and institutions can harness the power of digital games to teach valuable social and academic skills.
Game-Based Learning in Action: How an Expert Affinity Group Teaches With Games
Following up his previous work Gamify Your Classroom: A Field Guide to Game-Based Learning, Dr. Matthew Farber’s latest book Game-Based Learning in Action: How an Expert Affinity Group Teaches With Games attempts to answer one important question: how exactly are educators using games in their classroom? Through observing the work of an expert affinity group nicknamed “The Tribe,” Farber details precisely how their classrooms function, including how they integrate games into their curriculum and strategies for assessing learning outcomes.
Don’t Bother Me Mom–I’m Learning!
Written by Marc Prensky – who famously coined the term “Digital Native” in 2001 – Don’t Bother Me Mom–I’m Learning! argues that video game play might be beneficial for today’s children, as they teach important 21st century concepts like collaboration, strategy formulation and execution, and more. Prensky’s book hopes to help readers – particularly parents – gain a better understanding and appreciation of the positive learning outcomes of digital game play.
Play to Learn: Everything You Need to Know About Designing Effective Learning Games
Sharon Boller, Karl M. Kapp
Want to design your own learning game, but unsure where to start? Look no further than Sharon Boller and Karl M. Kapp’s Play to Learn: Everything You Need to Know About Designing Effective Learning Games. Designed to help readers bridge the gap between instructional design and game design principles, the book is intended to help readers expand their game design literacy and practice the art of making engaging learning games.