deHaan, J. (2020). Game-based language teaching is vaporware (Part 2 of 2): It’s time to ship or shut down




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These papers explore the idea of academic research as an “industry” that can create useful knowledge and “products” for teachers. This paper (Part 2) contextualizes game-based language teaching “vaporware” reports in educational technology “hype cycles,” as problems for both novice and expert teachers, and in relation to certain prior constraints of academic research and publishing. I argue that researchers have created an academic niche; we have not created a field based on real differences for students and teachers in real classrooms. It’s “crunch time,” and researchers have two options. (1) We can acknowledge and wrestle with our failings and foundations. Researchers can re-focus on teaching-heavy praxis that results in shipping our product: a mature field with numerous reports of normalized uses of games that result in consistent learning outcomes. A simple model and other resources are shared to help with this path. I will argue that our field needs people with many different roles to want to and learn to play well together. (2) Or, we can give up. Researchers can write a group postmortem report, shut down, go our separate ways, and stop contributing to the hype about games in language education.