Eric Klopfer

Eric Klopfer is Professor and Director of the Scheller Teacher Education Program and the Education Arcade at MIT, and author of Augmented Learning: Research and Design of Mobile Educational Games (MIT Press).

  • Resonant Games

    Resonant Games

    Design Principles for Learning Games that Connect Hearts, Minds, and the Everyday

    Eric Klopfer, Jason Haas, Scot Osterweil, and Louisa Rosenheck

    Principles for designing educational games that integrate content and play and create learning experiences connecting to many areas of learners' lives.

    Too often educational videogames are narrowly focused on specific learning outcomes dictated by school curricula and fail to engage young learners. This book suggests another approach, offering a guide to designing games that integrates content and play and creates learning experiences that connect to many areas of learners' lives. These games are not gamified workbooks but are embedded in a long-form experience of exploration, discovery, and collaboration that takes into consideration the learning environment. Resonant Games describes twenty essential principles for designing games that offer this kind of deeper learning experience, presenting them in connection with five games or collections of games developed at MIT's educational game research lab, the Education Arcade.

    Each of the games—which range from Vanished, an alternate reality game for middle schoolers promoting STEM careers, to Ubiquitous Bio, a series of casual mobile games for high school biology students—has a different story, but all spring from these fundamental assumptions: honor the whole learner, as a full human being, not an empty vessel awaiting a fill-up; honor the sociality of learning and play; honor a deep connection between the content and the game; and honor the learning context—most often the public school classroom, but also beyond the classroom.

  • The More We Know

    The More We Know

    NBC News, Educational Innovation, and Learning from Failure

    Eric Klopfer and Jason Haas

    The rise and fall of iCue: lessons about new media, old media, and education from an NBC-MIT joint venture into interactive learning.

    In 2006, young people were flocking to MySpace, discovering the joys of watching videos of cute animals on YouTube, and playing online games. Not many of them were watching network news on television; they got most of their information online. So when NBC and MIT launched iCue, an interactive learning venture that combined social networking, online video, and gaming in one multimedia educational site, it was perfectly in tune with the times. iCue was a surefire way for NBC to reach younger viewers and for MIT to test innovative educational methods in the real world. But iCue was a failure: it never developed an audience and was canceled as if it were a sitcom with bad ratings. In The More We Know, Eric Klopfer and Jason Haas, both part of the MIT development team, describe the rise and fall of iCue and what it can teach us about new media, old media, education, and the challenges of innovating in educational media.

    Klopfer and Haas show that iCue was hampered by, among other things, an educational establishment focused on “teaching to the test,” television producers uncomfortable with participatory media, and confusion about the market. But this is not just a cautionary tale; sometimes more can be learned from an interesting failure than a string of successes. Today's educational technology visionaries (iPads for everyone!) might keep this lesson in mind.

  • Augmented Learning

    Augmented Learning

    Research and Design of Mobile Educational Games

    Eric Klopfer

    An overview of mobile learning games that argues for the educational advantages of handheld games over their big-screen counterparts.

    New technology has brought with it new tools for learning, and research has shown that the educational potential of video games resonates with scholars, teachers, and students alike. In Augmented Learning, Eric Klopfer describes the largely untapped potential of mobile learning games—games played on such handheld devices as cell phones, Game Boys, and Sony PSPs—to make a substantial impact on learning. Examining mobile games from both educational and gaming perspectives, Klopfer argues that the strengths of the mobile platform—its portability, context sensitivity, connectivity, and ubiquity—make it ideal for learning games in elementary, secondary, university, and lifelong education. Klopfer begins by exploring the past and present of education, educational technology, “edutainment,” and mobile games, and then offers a series of case studies of mobile educational games that have been developed and implemented in recent years. These games—either participatory (which require interaction with other players) or augmented reality (which augment the real world with virtual information)—can be produced at lower cost than PC or full-size console games. They use social dynamics and real-world context to enhance game play, they can be integrated into the natural flow of instruction more easily than their big-screen counterparts, and they can create compelling educational and engaging environments for learners. They are especially well-suited for helping learners at every level develop twenty-first century skills—including the ability to tackle complex problems and acquire information in “just-in-time” fashion. All of this, Klopfer argues, puts mobile learning games in a unique and powerful position within educational technology.

    • Hardcover $8.75
    • Paperback $25.00