Some research-based articles related to games, simulations and learning in K-12:
Barab, S., Scott, B., Siyahhan, S., Goldstone, R., Ingram-Goble, A., Zuiker, S., et al. (2009). Transformational play as a curricular scaffold: Using videogames to support science education. Journal of Science Education and Technology.
Barab, S., Thomas, M., Dodge, T., Carteaux, R., & Tuzun, H. (2005). Making learning fun: Quest Atlantis, a game without guns. Educational Technology Research & Development.
Barab, S., Zuiker, S., Warren, S. J., Hickey, D., Ingram-Goble, A., Kwon, E.-J., et al. (2007). Situationally embodied curriculum: Relating formalisms and contexts. Science Education, 91(5), 750-782.
Dede, C. (Producer). (2006, 3/11/2006) MUVEEs Project. retrieved from http://www.gse.harvard.edu/~dedech/muvees/
Dede, C., Ketelhut, D., & Ruess, K. (2006). Designing for motivation and usability in a museum-based multi-user virtual environment. Retrieved 3/11/2006, 2006, from http://www.gse.harvard.edu/~dedech/muvees/documents/AELppr.pdf
Dodge, T., Barab, S., Stuckey, B., Warren, S. J., Heiselt, C., & Stein, R. (2008). Children’s sense of self: Learning and meaning in the Digital Age. Journal of Interactive Learning Research, 19(2), 225-249.
Warren, S. J., Barab, S., & Dondlinger, M. (2008). A MUVE towards PBL writing: Effects of a digital learning environment designed to improve elementary student writing. Journal of Research on Technology in Education, 41(1), 113-140.
Warren, S. J., Dondlinger, M., Stein, R., & Barab, S. (2009). Educational game as supplemental learning tool: Benefits, challenges, and tensions arising from use in an elementary school classroom. Journal of Interactive Learning Research, 20(4), 487-505.
Warren, S. J., Stein, R., Dondlinger, M., & Barab, S. (2009). A look inside a design process: Blending instructional design and game principles to target writing skills. Journal of Educational Computing Research, 40(3), 295-301.