1) Theory of fun by Raph Koster
2) Anything by Mark Prensky
3) What video games have to teach us about
4) Anything by David Williamson Shaffer
5) I would also wamrly encourage you to check out: this link and poke around the “research” section.
6) There is also a seriousgames mailing list! click here It’s exceptional.
7) For a very thick book full of game theory (not math-game-theory) read Rules of Play by Salen and Zimmerman, It’s not directly related to your question but it’s sooooo gooood!!!
8) I also love Richard Bartle’s book, Designing Virtual Worlds – again, it’s not particularly targetted to educational gaming, but the ideas which it develops are outstanding.
To this I would add some specific books:
- Digital Game Based Learning (Marc Prensky) – Bill mentions “anything” by Prensky
- Don’t Bother Me, Mom – I’m Learning (Marc Prensky)
- What Video Games Have to Teach Us About Learning and Literacy (James Paul Gee)
- Situated Language and Learning (James Paul Gee)
- Why Video Games are Good For Your Soul (James Paul Gee)
- Simulations and The Future of Learning (Clark Aldrich)
- Learning by Doing (Clark Aldrich)
- Got Game (Beck & Wade)
- Serious Games: Games That Educate Train and Inform (Michael & Chen)
- A Theory of Fun (Raph Koster)
And some related books about e-learning…
- E-Learning Games: Interactive Learning Strategies for Digital Delivery (Iverson)
- Engaging Learning (Quinn)
- Electric Worlds in the Classroom (Slator)
And some books about game design…
- Rules of Play (Salen and Zimmerman) – Bill mentions this.
- Game Design: Theory and Practice (Rouse)
- Creating Emotion in Games (Freeman) – this will be important to future ed games!
- Gender Inclusive Game Design (Graner Ray) – also important for ed games!
And another important book related to gender…
- From Barbie to Mortal Kombat (Cassell & Jenkins, editors)
And perhaps more importantly for the future of computer games, this book about face-to-face paper and pencil games…
- The Fantasy Roll Playing Game (Mackay)
Also these books about pop culture that touch on the benefits of games…
- Popular Culture, New Media and Digital Literacy in Early Childhood (Marsh, Editor)
- Evrything Bad is Good For You (Steven Johnson)
Also, so of the earliest best writing on video games (and the importance of students creating their own games) can be found in Seymour Papert’s work:
- Mindstorms (Papert)
- The Children’s Machine (Papert)
- The Connected Family (Paper)
Finally, in terms of recent journal articles, I too can endorse anything by David Williamson Shaffer, and his UW Madison colleagues, Kurt Squire and Constance Steinkuehler. Also Chris Dede at Harvard is publishing interesting work. There are others, but this should definitely get any researcher or educator interested in this subject off to a good start. :)
Yes, I am studying video games in education for my phd research, and yes part of earning the degree (and becoming something of an expert in your field) is doing a lot of reading.
Note: Bill has also received some nice press attention lately. :)