David Williamson Schaffer’s book (available at Amazon) has provided valuable research on this subject that concerns practically every parent. Here are some reviews of this terrific book:
"You may have asked yourself if computer games are destroying the minds of our nation’s children. How Computer Games Help Children Learn 1 shows that the exact opposite is true. Parents, educators, and computer game makers take note: by combining years of research and his front-line classroom experiences, Shaffer makes a cogent and compelling argument for the educational power of intelligently crafted games that can serve as tools to help children think and learn about real world problems and their solutions."—Michael McCormick, Senior Designer, Backbone Entertainment, and Lead Designer of SimCity™
“In this book, Shaffer takes the conversation about games and their relevance to society in general, and for children's learning in particular, to a new level. In a world where standardized thinking is rapidly being encapsulated in machines or outsourced, he says, education ought to be about providing young people with opportunities to learn innovative ways of thinking. Which is where computer games come in: these games "are significant because they let us think in new ways" (p.191)”
“A must read for anyone who cares about learning. Game designers depend on having millions of people voluntarily learn more than anyone would dare put into a school curriculum. So studying games--how they are designed and how they are played--is one of the best sources of insight about learning, and Shaffer is an excellent guide to making the most of it."--Seymour Papert, Professor Emeritus, Media and Education Technology, MIT Media Lab
It is to be noted that Shaffer mentioned that not just any game will do. For best results, the game should be “epistemic.” Epistemic games are reflective, knowledge-generating activities that can be used in any classroom, and can be created for any knowledge domain.
Once students begin the process of building knowledge structures that visually illustrate the rules of the domain, they start to consider education as fun and enjoyable rather than a mindless chore, and learning inevitably follows.
1Author - David Williamson Schaffer - Published Palgrave Macmillan - © 2006