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IOE Learning Technologies Unit


Learning Technology advice, research & consultancy


First-person solvers: Smart video game design for good maths learning

By Eileen Kennedy, on 18 November 2019

When: 12:30 pm to 2:00 pm, 04 December 2019

Where: Large seminar room, UCL Knowledge Lab, 23-29 Emerald Street, London, WC1N 3QS

As part of the UCL Knowledge Lab Seminar Series, Professor Keith Devlin (University of Stanford) talks about his experience of developing and studying maths-learning video games.

The vast majority of mathematics-learning video games provide repetitive practice in one or more basic skills. They take fairly standard repetitive exercises and wrap them in a game with the intention that the engagement with the game will drive persistence in the exercises. There is rarely any real connection between the actions required to move ahead in the game and the mathematical activity targeted.

Alternative (though still fairly rare) approaches are to view video-game technology as:

  1. a simulator to present students with explorative mathematical activities (complex performance tasks) that develop number sense and general problem-solving ability, or
  2. a medium to represent mathematics that circumvents the traditional symbolic language that is known to cause problems for students in the early part of their educational journey.

Since 2012, Professor Devlin and a small number of colleagues have been developing, distributing and studying video games that encompass both approaches. In this seminar, he describes the approach and shares what the team have learned so far.

More about Keith Devlin

Watch the live stream of the event

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