While games and simulations have great potential to address challenges in K-12 science education, the research needed to achieve that potential is limited, says a new report by the National Research Council.
In fact, “when compared with subject areas such as reading and mathematics, there is relatively little research evidence on the effectiveness of simulations and games for learning,” says the report, which came out of a two-day workshop about science education and computer games and simulations.
The report examined games and simulations such as River City, Whyville, SURGE, Savannah, TimeLab, Interactive Physics, ChemLab, and Froguts, among others. The games and simulations were classified by the science learning goal of the game, the duration of the game, the nature of participation in the game, and the primary purpose of the game.
The committee recommended more targeted research in the following areas: the role of simulations and games in learning, using them in formal and informal contexts, using them to assess and support individualized learning, and scaling up simulations and games.
A version of this news article first appeared in the Digital Education blog.