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IES Contract

Title: Project NumberShire: A Game-Based Integrated Learning and Assessment System to Target Whole Number Concepts
Center: NCSER Year: 2011
Principal Investigator: Gause, Marshall Awardee: Thought Cycle, Inc.
Program: Small Business Innovation Research in Special Education      [Program Details]
Award Period: 2.5 years Award Amount: $1,049,954
Type: Fast Track Award Number: EDIES11C0026

Phase I Amount: $149,994
Phase I Period: 6 months

Phase II Amount: $899,960
Phase II Period: 2 years

Product Video Demonstration:

Purpose: Prior research points to several features of technology-based math games that may be important for supporting the learning needs of students with or at-risk for disabilities. These include games that engage students in highly motivating narratives, provide focused foundational knowledge and scaffolding of learning whole numbers concepts, and provide performance monitoring capabilities. This project will develop an integrated learning and assessment gaming system to assess and teach whole number concepts to 1st grade students with or at risk for mathematics disabilities.

Project Activities: Prototypes will be iteratively developed through four stages, including preproduction, production, alpha, and beta. In the preproduction stage, content is created, design documents are mocked-up, and simple prototypes are built. In the production stage, game assets and source code are added. In the alpha stage, all features are playable but not yet finalized. In the beta stage, the product is finalized and piloted by users. Research to test the implementation feasibility, the usability of the technology, and the promise of the product to assess and then improve learning will include a matched comparison of the lowest performing students in 1st grade classrooms in several schools. It is anticipated that 120 students will be part of the pilot research. Half of the students will be randomly selected to play the game as a supplement to classroom learning whereas the other half will not have access. Analyses will compare pre and post math scores.

Product: The web-based product, Numbershire, will include narrative based mini-games to support 1st grade students with or at-risk for disabilities in understanding whole numbers. Gaming content will be aligned to relevant standards. In the game, students will build an idyllic fairytale village by applying math concepts. Tasks will include setting goals, advancing to more challenging levels, and engaging in competition. The system will provide individualized formative assessment scaffolding when students do not know the answer to a question. A teacher management system will support professional development and will produce reports to guide instruction.