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Research Wanted: Gaming in the Classroom

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According to this press release, sent out by the University of California, Los Angeles, the university will be launching a new technology research center, which will focus, at least initially, on the relationship between gaming and students' math skills.

As someone who has written a number of stories about gaming in education, I've heard quite a bit of anecdotal evidence about how including video and computer games in classroom lessons can boost motivation and achievement levels, but hard-hitting research on whether that's actually true is pretty thin, although new organizations designed to provide just that seem to be cropping up more and more often.

I'll definitely be keeping my eye on this center to see what it finds.

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I recently completed a mixed methodology study for my doctoral dissertation at Capella University on:
"The Effect of Computer Mathematics Games on Elementary and Middle School Students'
Mathematics Motivation and Achievement."

A brief summary of my findings are as follows:

This study investigated the effect on the mathematics achievement and motivation of 33 urban elementary and middle school students as a result of their having played topical computer games prior to receiving direct instruction.

The participants in the study were required to attend an extended day period twice a week because they were below their grade standards in mathematics or reading.

The experimental students’ mathematics achievement was measured by comparing pre- and post-unit test results with students in a control group. Teachers and parents of the experimental students supplied the researcher with supplemental information through responses from pre- and post-study questionnaires.

Statistical tests did not support playing computer games for enhancing students' achievement.

Parents and teachers commented that the games did not teach the procedures and strategies students needed to pass the traditional pencil and paper math tests.

However, an analysis of frequencies and percentages conducted on student, teacher, and parent responses on pre- and post-study questionnaires supported playing computer games for motivating students to learn mathematics, improving students’ self efficacy for learning mathematics, improving students ability to receive mathematics instruction, and improving their interest in mathematical activities.

This study now challenges classroom teachers to capture this motivation and incorporate computer games into their lessons in ways that will add a new dimension to their instruction, and contribute to better student comprehension of mathematics.

I freely offer my study to anyone interested in the topic and/or my research. I received my Ph.D from Capella University in March, 2008. My study can be downloaded from:

User Name: public
Password Capella

It can also be researched on the UMI database

Thank you!
Louise Abrams, Ph.D
Technology Coordinator, P.S. 47Q
9 Power Road
Broad Channel, N.Y. 11693

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