James Gee

Gee has a long and distinguished career in literacy education and has more or less naturally moved, following the interests of young people's literacies into the field of video games and learning.

His interview for Edutopia provides a succinct account of his broad research agenda. Some quotes capture it well:

If people are going to survive in a developed country outside of low level service work they are going to have to have innovation and creativity and so the form of schooling we engage in basically privileges people who know a lot of facts but can't solve problems is on its last legs. Next will be schooling that stresses the ability to solve problems but not just to solve problems but to be able to do it collaboratively… and where you can innovate with the tools you've learned and not just do standard solutions to problems.

All a video game is is problem solving… In some weird way, a video game is just an assessment. All you do is get assessed every moment as you try to solve problems… the thing that is the most painful and ludicrous part of schooling but in a game it's a lot of fun because it's handled in a very different way. One thing games don't really do is separate learning and assessment… They are giving you feedback all the time… They are not the only solution to this problem by any means but they are part of the solution of getting kids in schools to learn knowledge not as facts but as something you produce.

He recently wrote a book for the MacArthur Foundation that is well worth getting hold of. The pdf is free:

Gee, J. (2010). New Digital Media and Learning as an Emerging Area and “Worked Examples” as One Way Forward. Cambridge, Massachusetts; London, England: The MIT Press

His book about these issues contains a great collection of important insights.

Gee, J. P. (2003). Power Up: What video games have to teach us about learning and literacy. New York: Palgrave Macmillan.

Most recently, ee gave a webinar on Big G game-based learning.