August 2008

A Research Agenda

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Research is needed into the relation between computer games and development as educational use, play and production grow

Introduction

Tens of millions of people in developing countries play computer games on a regular basis. Computer games companies in developing countries employ tens of thousands and earn tens of millions of US dollars annually. Yet you would hardly know it from the research literature, which seems to have almost wilfully ignored this area. We can characterise the relation between games and development through the following diagram. Each element will be discussed in turn, covering key background, questions, and frameworks for research:

A: Learning through games

As the ICT infrastructure in developing countries grows, and as exposure to and engagement with leisure gaming grows, then so too will the use of computer games for educational purposes.  We see this most obviously in schools for teaching basic literacy/numeracy skills (e.g. Pawar et al 2006) and for knowledge-building in other areas (e.g. biology

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