A recent review of studies that involved game-based learning found that most of the games used in the studies involved drill and practice. In drill and practice type games, students only receive feedback on if answers are correct or incorrect and do not receive support for conceptual understanding. These types of games also emphasize that mathematics is about speed and focus on memorization of ideas instead of conceptual understanding. Game based learning for mathematics should move beyond drill and practice.
My principles for technology game-based learning ensure that games are selected and implemented with best practices for teaching mathematics in mind. First, the technology integration should allow for significant task redesign or the creation of new tasks that would not be possible without the technology. Second, the tasks used should be worthwhile tasks. These tasks have no prescribed rules or methods and there is no perception that there is a specific “correct” solution method. Third, the tasks should be aligned with grade-level standards. Fourth, the tasks should enable students to work with multiple representations. Fifth, the technology should provide students feedback. Finally, the tasks should be open-ended and allow for discussion and multiple solutions (Stohlmann, 2019). When structured well, technology-based mathematics games can engage students in mathematics and help develop their conceptual understanding.
Stohlmann, M. (2019). Integrated steM education through open-ended game based learning. Journal of Mathematics Education, 12(1), 16-30.
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Christian, author, and professor of mathematics education.