Ramo Games is a startup, whose ambition is to design an education-themed MMO. They have on staff folks from EA, Thomson Learning, and Yahoo!, so it sounds as if they’ve got a lot of the bases covered. You want people who design games with an educational bent to actually have game-design experience, lest you create drill-n-kill type space-invaders clones. As long as a game embodies the learning in the performance of the game (you have to speak appropriate grade-8 French, say, in order to get the npc to let you pass the obstacle), then we should be able to make entertaining games that educate (to our curricular goals) as well. For examples that are truly exceptional, check out what the American Army is doing to try to prepare its soldiers for the aftermath of ‘do I shoot or not?’ type split-second decisions, chronicled on the Escapist this week.
Anyway, Ramo games currently is maintaining a list of free educational games out there, so it might be worth your time to check out. The categorization is a bit idiosyncratic – a game about dinosaurs is classified under history – but I guess it’s still early days. The company’s blog is here, and from the looks of it, they’re thinking hard about how best to design their games when education is the goal.