Saturday, May 16, 2015

Exploring Algebra Games

Maria Andersen had a nice blog article with a nicely-made Prezi video showing an overview of some of the existing games out there in the market for learning elementary algebra.

Many of these existing algebra games are commercial and they seem to have good and catchy graphics. The game design however seems to be essentially quiz-based. There are also a few puzzle-like ones that require players to develop a playing strategy. It will be interesting to think of different game design for learning algebra. 

It is important to observe that many of these games are mobile apps (that run on smartphones or tablets). Imagine the ease of purchasing them off-the-shelf from Google Play and Apple stores. Mobile app platforms have thus made it so much easier for these games to reach out to young players. 

One wonders the possibility of deploying these apps in real classroom setting. In this case, how often and how do such games actually get deployed in real primary schools for teaching elementary algebra?

I'd imagine that for these games to penetrate the schools, the teachers have to vet and select some eventually. However, it is kind of hard to get real statistics on how effective these selected games can be used as teaching aids in real classroom setting.

Quiz-based games in a certain sense "digitize" the paper-and-pencil approach to working on a quiz, and thus perhaps emphasize more on the drilling aspect. 

Then, what game design can be more efficient in motivating young children to learn algebra as compared to quiz-based games? 

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