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National Center for Education Research


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An Empirical Approach to Developing Web-based Math Learning Games to Improve Elementary School Student Outcomes

Year: 2009
Name of Institution:
Virtual Learning Technologies
Principal Investigator:
Patel, Snehal
Award Amount: $849,960
Award Period: 2 1/2 years

Description:

Product Video Demonstration: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3d1kG2DKeFk

Purpose: Recent reports assert that the education system of the United States is failing to produce enough mathematically skilled workers necessary for the country to remain globally competitive. A key problem in the current system, as reported by the National Mathematics Advisory Panel, is that students are not learning the foundational math skills they need during the elementary school years. This project will develop a platform with a series of web-based math learning games that incorporate research-based pedagogy, communal learning, and adaptive standards-based content in an engaging environment. Game play will offer guided discovery-based progression using relevant applications of math skills.

Project Activities: The project will develop web-based math learning games that cover the National Council for the Teaching of Mathematics curriculum focal points for elementary school students. The games are intended to supplement existing in-class curricular materials and will address topics including fractions, place value and estimation, numeric operations, algebra functions and operations, measurement geometry, and statistics data analysis and probability. After prototypes of the software platform and games are developed, a series of iterative pilot studies will be conducted to gather feedback from students and teachers. Results from this research will be used to refine the components and features of the program. Six games will be developed and each will include multiplayer and progress monitoring functionality. A final pilot study will be carried out in 12 classrooms over a 6-week period to assess the feasibility and usability of the platform, and the promise of the six games to improve learning. Students will be given pre and post assessments. Teachers will be observed and will provide surveys to determine the fidelity of implementation.

Product: The final product will include the fully developed and tested software platform and six mathematics games. The platform will incorporate tools that will allow teachers and parents to access data on student performance. A video and manual for teachers will also be produced to support the use of the product.