video games and math anxiety

Essential Questions

          I love video games! I find them to be challenging, frustrating, fun, rewarding, and engaging. Is that not what I want my students to experience in my math classroom? I have wondered how video game designers purposefully implement features into video games to make them challenging, fun, rewarding, and engaging, because I no longer want any student to be bored or find my math class meaningless. I have had enough of students fixating on what they got wrong instead of reflecting on whether they can consistently demonstrate understanding of a specific skill. As I have been reflecting on my strengths, interests, students' social-emotional and academic progress, I had a wild thought: “What if my classroom was designed like a video game?” Can I reduce student math anxiety and increase meaningful engagement in my math class by implementing classroom structures and protocols based on the principles of platform video game design?

Guiding Principles

          I started researching video game design and potential principals in my masters program. After reading many articles, a few books, and watching many youtube videos I have come-up with ten guiding principles for platform video game design that I could, potentially, use in my classroom:

Principle 1: Active & Critical Learning

Principle 2: Semiotic Interaction

Principle 3: Input Amplification

Principle 4: Identify Adaptation

Principle 5: Low-Risk

Principle 6: Actuated Difficulty

Principle 7: Storyline

Principle 8: Materia Conservation

Principle 9: Forked Pathways

Principle 10: Scaffolded Training

While the provided principles are not exhaustive, I do believe the list to be succinct. I owe a lot of my  progress to Dr. James Paul Gee because his work laid a foundation and helped me feel confident to pursue this research. However, I did put this research on hold during my first few years of teaching and have only continued this it during last school year (2017-2018) through my work with the Boston Teachers Union (BTU) Inquiry Project.

Learnings

          Below are a few documents that will be helpful in providing you with more background on my research, reasoning, and reality of implementation. I consider this work to be on-going and apologize for any grammatical errors, lack of clarity, or 'roughness' that may come across as you read.

 

"Principles of Video Games"

This document is my research behind the principles listed above.

"Intentional Platform Video Game Design And

Its Implication in Classroom Structure and Curricular Design"

This document is my research and implementation during the 2017-2018 school year.

 

Next Steps

          Well, I will continue to implement some ideas related to the principles and track progress during this school year, but my goal is to form a partnership with a local college/university in the greater-Boston area to take this research to the next level. Perhaps write a book in two or three years. I'll keep you posted on this work using this very website.

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