Even the broadest reading about games, from the field of education, shows that games are good for learning and learners. Educational research isn’t interested in the kind of experimental science methods used by psychology. It’s not that education dispels concerns about video games, but more that it never really looks into it. The result is that games (and gamification) has become educationally-trendy, just like learning analyics. Except, games are unique and even though I’m an ‘educator’ I wouldn’t attempt to talk about games from this perspective alone.
The Horizon report has been listing games for a while now. It used to list virtual worlds like Second Life. In addition, the rise in consumer sales of devices is often used to attempt to suggest that popularity of games and growth of devices is going to finally make the Horizon Report true. This won’t happen. The Horizon Report is by it’s nature a product of technological determinism which ignores the day to day practice of rank and file educators, broader shifts in media culture, global political markets and the employment trends of teachers.
So yes, games teach many things, but this is not representative of an imminent shift in the way education delivers it’s product into the marketplace. Among educators, the largest group are the “Second Lifers” who have working with virtual worlds for over a decade — and this is a tiny group, most of whom are not interested in video games and game culture. If they make a serious game (simulation) then it’s not going to carry any of the characteristics which power today’s games such as Destiny, Dragon Age, Halo or even Minecraft.
Games are complicated and while taking about them gets a few people excited, the funding which has been given to games in the last ten years in schools and higher education is pennies in comparison to millions spent on tools like IWB, LMS etc., Ultimately, if people want to know or learn about games, they would have downloaded one from Steam or bought a console by now.
My thesis is that what makes games exiting to educators is the discussion itself. Over time, discussions move and merge as they become simplified though language and right now games are being discussed at levels which educational culture can engage with, but anyone who’s playing a next-gen game or followed a series such as Mass Effect will know … the terms ‘games’ is like saying ‘car’ when one is talking about a 1972 Datsun Sunny and the other is driving an Audi RS8.