Title

How Can Teachers Use Video Games to Teach Their Students Mathematics?

Document Type

Article

Publication Date

2014

Abstract

Imagine a veteran mathematics educator eager to refine her practice. Alternatively, what of the first-year teacher confident in her ability to adapt new technologies to communicate, problem-solve, and share information. How might either identify what makes video games and gameplay effective in a mathematics classroom? What are the advantages of game-based learning in contrast to more traditional instructional strategies, and can pitfalls be avoided, successes recognized, and challenges mitigated? We recommend:

  • Investigating online resources and communities, including GameDesk's Educade , Common Sense Media's Graphite , MinecraftEdu , and Playful Learning to find teacher-recommended games;
  • Playing game demos, envisioning how students' play might meet their learning needs, and planning corresponding units and lessons;
  • Considering how game play supports standards and advances curricula; and
  • Reflecting upon game-based teaching and learning in order to revise and iterate for future mathematics investigations.

Robust mathematics education has never been achieved through the blind adoption of new curricula, tools, or methods devoid of teacher facilitation; video games are not an exception. Teaching mathematics with video games requires teachers to deftly consider trends, limitations, and practitioner insights; make professional judgments relevant to local contexts; and reflect upon the successes and challenges associated with teaching and student learning.