Not Just Fun and Games

This month we explore a trend that suddenly seems to be the subject of articles, books, Webcasts, blogs, and conferences everywhere you look. Yes, that would be the g word: games.

Why the focus on games? To quote "Video Games and the Future of Learning," one source for this month's cover feature ("Game Plan"), "Games encourage exploration, personalized meaning-making, individual expression, and playful experimentation with social boundaries—all of which cut against the grain of the social mores valued in school."

Read "Game Plan" to find out what the latest research is saying and what experts flag as the primary issues and challenges to integrating this new instructional genre into schools. Stay tuned for part two of the series in November, in which we'll examine what students learn when they create their own games.

Continuing in the game vein, Managing Editor Mark Smith evaluates the new Muzzy Lane simulation, Making History: The Calm and the Storm, in our Reviews department. Games will also be among the hot topics addressed at our New York Tech Forum conference on Oct. 19.

This month T&L also covers what Thomas Friedman (The World is Flat) and others are calling "self-organizing collaborative communities"—see Will Richardson's Emerging Tech column on blogs.

Finally, the staff of T& L extends its deepest sympathies to the victims of Hurricane Katrina. Those of us more fortunate can help out by visiting The Department of Education has also established Hurricane Help for Schools at A special section of will also be dedicated to education-related resources and opportunities for those affected.