Monday, November 5, 2012


I've learned a new word this semester: "gamification."  According to the wiki with the same name, it is "the concept of applying game-design thinking to non-game applications to make them more fun and engaging."  In the world of K-12 mathematics education, new apps appear every day that claim to enhance student learning.  Many prove to be "drill and kill" worksheets in an interactive form. Rarely do these elicit sustained student interest or foster new learning.  However, those apps that transform practice into a compelling game can have a significant impact.  "Motion Math" is such an app.  My pre-service mathematics teachers loved playing with it! As the name suggests, Motion Math requires the user to "steer" the iPad as part of the gaming process.  My students and I have explored a number of "math apps" this term.  We find that the rate of gamification decreases as the grade level increases - the result is less student engagement.  Our goal for the rest of the year is to articulate some game-based ideas for apps targeting Algebra specifically.  We plan to forward these to our friends at the Center for Algebraic Thinking, where developers are standing by.

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