Here is quick overview of electronic games and how it affects learning.
1. Todays learners are different. They have different abilities to absorb info and skills, different concentration spans, familiarity with different tools, different ways of communicating etc etc. The "digital natives" concept is credited to Marc Prensky who then concludes that they've taken the attitude of digital-age learning styles.
2. Much of game playing is learning. Not learning about academics, not learning in a way that many schools have understood or appreciate. But a raw type of learning thru observation, trial-and-error, theorizing, testing theories, in a way that somehow encompasses both the scientific method, cultural literacy, algebraic thinking, spatial reasoning, and common sense. The writer that I'm familiar with on this topic is: James Paul Gee. I'm also influenced by the grade novel, Enders Games. Adn the fact that I spent half a decade on the development side of games.
3. Games can be used to motivate kids to learn. To get to the next level, you must complete the fractions island. Basically, create a learning mgt system which provides game-like motivation for kids to collect powerups, crystals, and complete levels which map to educational benchmarks. I've never seen this done well. I intend to build an educational system in which the navigation system can be changed so that game structures can be tried.
4. Learning activities can be game-like. Shoot the right answer for math facts before it gets you. Provides motivation for boring tasks. If done right, can include nifty help with memorization or concepts.
5. Make tools fun to use like the soon to be launched spelling program.....
All of this is being explored as the next step for Time4Learning, the leading homeschool curriculum that's fun and effective and affordable.