Game Based Learning in Mathematics: Teachers' Support by a Flexible Tool

Research areas:
Type of Publication:
In Proceedings
2D game based learning, primary education, mathematics
Book/Proc. title:
7th European Conference on Games Based Learning – ECGBL 2013
The inherent difficulty of the core subject of Mathematics makes it hard for students of all ages to fully and sufficiently grasp its concepts and engage with it. With such an important matter still being unresolved, in this context, we propose a Game-Based Learning approach in order to assist the educational process. The main purpose of this paper is the presentation of the design and development of the configurable online two-dimensional (2D) game "Volcanic Riddles". This particular game was designed in cooperation with educators, in order to support the teaching of Mathematics in primary school and the first grades of secondary school. The game is configurable in the sense that the (non-programmer) educator can easily alter several of its parameters, such as the content and total number of the game's questions or images, via an administration website. Furthermore, the educator can choose which of the game's specific challenges wants to adapt according to the students' needs and level, and thus reuse the game in various educational contexts throughout the school year. Special attention was given so that the administration website is user-friendly and does not require any programming or scripting knowledge from the user. Regarding the game, basic features of educational games were incorporated in order to enhance its educational value and effectiveness. More specifically, this paper presents the steps followed for the implementation of the game, its technical aspects, as well as the first impressions and evaluation results after it was piloted in the field using real pupils and teachers. The assessment was focused on its usability, effectiveness and motivational appeal. In the pilot study, pupils of various nationalities aged 10-12 (6th Grade), participated. The results are encouraging and suggest that the game can be used as an effective and motivational learning tool. Finally, some corresponding conclusions and suggestions for further improvement and research are being discussed concisely.

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