De Castell & Jenson (2003)

De Castell, S., & Jenson, J. (2003). OP-ED Serious play. Journal of Curriculum Studies, 35(6), 649-665. doi: 10.1080/0022027032000145552

This piece offers a more than useful mapping of various approaches to thinking about educational gaming (pp. 650-1). This quote neatly captures some important limitations of the scholarly literature and educational games:

The first thing to note about the literature briefly described here is that it is not necessary to play games in order to research and write about them; in fact, most people who do research and write about games do not play them.
The second thing to note, and this is connected to the first, is that this body of work largely overlooks cultural context. These approaches to analysis share in common a failure to situate games and game-playing within a lived culture of gaming. In gaming culture, games are not just played, they are talked about, read about, ‘cheated’, fantasized about, altered, and become models for everyday life and for the formation of subjectivity and intersubjectivity. There is a politics, an economy, a history, social structure and function, and an everyday, lived experience of a game.

The paper explores this course's nemesis question1: what are games good for educationally? While not offering an explicit answer they do offer a couple of insights into thinking about schooling through a gaming lens (p. 662):

The cultural environment of schools today is, in many ways, antithetical to the immersiveness of play—it insists on timed activities (no room for ‘losing track’ of time by being absorbed in reading a book or solving a mathematics problem); curriculum is designed mostly to ‘survey’ a subject area, with little opportunity to study one or two subjects in depth; and goals and immediate feedback (both punishment and rewards) are often held back from students in institutionally sanctioned power struggles between students and teachers.

Some of these points should now be familiar to you in the writings of other scholars in this field.