1. Melissa Gresalfi
  2. Associate Professor, Learning Sciences
  3. Feedback as an Element of Designed Environment: An Exploration of Structure and Context
  4. Vanderbilt
  1. Sasha Barab
  2. http://www.sashabarab.com/
  3. Professor & Pinnacle West Presidential Chair in Teacher Education
  4. Feedback as an Element of Designed Environment: An Exploration of Structure and Context
  5. Arizona State University, Center for Games and Impact
Presenters’
Choice
Public Discussion
  • Icon for: Amie Patchen

    Amie Patchen

    Facilitator
    May 11, 2015 | 04:12 p.m.

    This was great— I loved hearing the student discussions about the choices. The game looks like fun! I’m curious about the student outcomes you’re aiming for. Are you interested in attitudes towards math and problem solving or particular content and skills? Or both? Also what are your plans for scaling out the final game, and where do you envision it being played (school, home, other)? Thanks for sharing!

  • Icon for: Melissa Gresalfi

    Melissa Gresalfi

    Presenter
    May 12, 2015 | 03:56 p.m.

    These are all great questions! Sorry for the delay—we’ve been in schools collecting data. We are collecting a ridiculous amount of data, including kids’ conversations while playing the game, understanding of ratio, interest, and, as well as we can, problem solving. The latter is the one that we have struggled with the most, but we are continuing to pilot new items. Attitude is a more proximal measure, focusing on enjoyment of the experience. In interviews we ask kids about whether they think this resembles the kind of math they usually do, and of course the answer is no. However, I am not sure if we are just capturing the effect of the videogame, or whether the kids are really attuned to the problem solving experience.

    The game is part of a larger platform that is already being scaled to schools around the country (part of the Atlantis Remixed platform), and although this one is not ready to be scaled, we expect that once it is, it will be available through that format. Other games we have made through an earlier version of this platform (Quest Atlantis) were used by thousands of kids. However, there are still questions to be asked about how to support teachers to use these kinds of games in classrooms (kids generally play this game for at least three class periods), so the question about how to scale is an important one.

    Finally, we really see this as being a school game. Understanding ratio is hard, and games are not ideal for teaching kids this content; rather, we see this game as creating an opportunity to explore the application of these ideas in a space that can be responsive to their thinking. But the teacher’s attention and insight into students’ understanding is really key to the overall experience.

  • Icon for: Rosi Andrade

    Rosi Andrade

    Associate Research Professor
    May 11, 2015 | 07:55 p.m.

    Would like to hear your response to Amie Patchen’s questions above. Excellent!

  • Icon for: Philip Vahey

    Philip Vahey

    Director of Mathematics Learning Systems
    May 11, 2015 | 09:12 p.m.

    Very nice video, and an exciting project! I’d love to hear about how you are thinking about designing games that are aligned with different standards, and aligned with standards across years.

  • Icon for: Beth Sanzenbacher

    Beth Sanzenbacher

    Facilitator
    May 12, 2015 | 01:41 a.m.

    What a great game – I would love to play! Situating math in problem-based game is essential for students to understand the purpose of math beyond needing it for entrance exams and testing.

    I have a question about the planning screen where the students are doing the bulk of their calculations. Do you think it would be possible to make this more fluid or open-ended? It is important for students to be able to use a variety of mathematical strategies to solve a problem. I wonder it the boxes to fill in limits how the students can think about the math in the problem? Have you observed this in your testing?

  • Icon for: Melissa Gresalfi

    Melissa Gresalfi

    Presenter
    May 12, 2015 | 04:00 p.m.

    Hi Beth,
    You have found one of the big issues that we CONSTANTLY struggle with—the amount of structure a game or tool should supply. In fact, the subtitle of the grant is: “an exploration of structure and context,” because we are just not sure how to do this best and it is one of the things that we are intentionally playing with and studying.

    I think the boxes DO limit how kids think about the problem, particularly the fact that we force kids to write answers in fractions instead of decimals really impacts their approach to the problem. We do that for a reason (we don’t want kids randomly dividing using calculators, which hides what about ratio they are trying to figure out). However, earlier versions of the game included no problem solving tool at all, which also seemed to have its own challenges. All I can say at this point is that I share your question, and I am hoping that at the end of round 2 (or more likely, round 3), I will have a more nuanced answer.

  • Icon for: Beth Sanzenbacher

    Beth Sanzenbacher

    Facilitator
    May 13, 2015 | 11:04 p.m.

    This is a tough nut to crack for everyone. Whenever I cover for a colleague’s math class I am amazed at the difference and variety of techniques and strategies that students use to answer the same problem. Very different to the way I learned math! Please keep me posted of your findings!

  • May 12, 2015 | 01:51 a.m.

    Cool! I love this Jasper problem, and now you’ve put it into a game!
    Are you doing any contrasts between how students engage and learn with the version that was originally developed, and how they engage and learn with the interactive game-based problem and use the scaffolded solution tool? If so, what are you seeing??
    More generally, what measures are you capturing and analyzing and what have they been telling you?

  • Icon for: Melissa Gresalfi

    Melissa Gresalfi

    Presenter
    May 12, 2015 | 04:06 p.m.

    HI Kathy,

    We did a comparison study several years ago, funded by the Spencer Foundation, and found a lot of differences in student engagement although no significant difference in learning. However, that was with one teacher who had 15 years of experience as a PBL teacher, so it was best case scenario all around. Mostly that study told us that the version of the game we used in that study didn’t support kids’ mathematical reasoning OR their problem solving in the ways we envisioned, which led to us wanting to study the design of this game more systematically.

    So far what we know is that all kids learn about ratio from playing the game, even kids who have already completed a unit on ratio. What has surprised us is that we aren’t finding an effect yet for the form of feedback that they receive. Having been in these classrooms for the entirety of game play (we worked with 12 classes this year), we think that this is because of the huge impact the teacher has on how the game plays out (which we think is pretty cool). So we are spending the summer looking more closely at the teacher during these implementations, and also beefing up our feedback and our overall game experience so the difference might be a bit more salient.

  • May 12, 2015 | 09:21 a.m.

    Melissa and Sasha, Is the game development environment a derivative of what you have used for QuestAtlantis. I would really like to hear (or be pointed to) where i could learn more about the aspects of the development environment. Very nice!!

  • Icon for: Karen Trujillo

    Karen Trujillo

    Math Snacks Outreach Director
    May 12, 2015 | 12:43 p.m.

    This game sounds very interesting, I would love to look at it. I love the idea that the game requires students to engage with the math instead of being tricked into it. It is an integral part of the game.

    I would also encourage you to look at www.mathsnacks.org We approached our game development using the same idea of the math being an integral part of the game and not an aside. Our presentation is included in the showcase as well. It would be great to collaborate.

  • Icon for: Beth Sanzenbacher

    Beth Sanzenbacher

    Facilitator
    May 12, 2015 | 01:07 p.m.

    From two of my 8th grade students:

    1. “I get it! I want to play it!”

    2. “This game would annoy me because I just like to work out the math. And if I get to the answer quickly and the game takes a long time to finish then I would be frustrated. But it looks like a great game for kids who don’t enjoy math.”

  • Icon for: Karen Trujillo

    Karen Trujillo

    Math Snacks Outreach Director
    May 12, 2015 | 01:57 p.m.

    If they want to try out a few more games, have them go to www.mathsnacks.org and try Game Over Gopher. It is a tower defense game and focuses on the coordinate grid. Probably more like 6th or 7th grade level, but even kids who like math seem to like it.

  • Icon for: Beth Sanzenbacher

    Beth Sanzenbacher

    Facilitator
    May 13, 2015 | 11:06 p.m.

    Thanks for the link!

  • Icon for: Tammy Pirmann

    Tammy Pirmann

    Facilitator
    May 12, 2015 | 02:40 p.m.

    I am also very interested in the answers to Amie’s initial post!

  • Icon for: Joanne Lobato

    Joanne Lobato

    Professor, Dept. of Mathematics & Statistics
    May 12, 2015 | 10:37 p.m.

    Melissa & Sasha, I love how you built upon the Jasper Woodbury resource of many years ago but have modernized and enhanced the experience! Is your gaming environment available to play around with? I’d love to see the scaffolding tool more closely.

  • Icon for: Melissa Gresalfi

    Melissa Gresalfi

    Presenter
    May 14, 2015 | 09:36 a.m.

    Hi Joanne,
    A version is available now, but there is a BETTER version (we hope) that will be available in a month or two. I would love to get your feedback—we have been glued to your NCTM book on ratio and proportion throughout this project!

  • Icon for: Joanne Lobato

    Joanne Lobato

    Professor, Dept. of Mathematics & Statistics
    May 15, 2015 | 01:25 p.m.

    I would love to see the new version this summer. Whenever you are ready to share, just let me know (jlobato@mail.sdsu.edu). So glad the Essential Understandings book was helpful! We are doing a proportional reasoning unit as one of the two proof-of-concept units for our new video-based online learning project and would be interested in anything you are learning from yours about kids’ ratio development, especially in contexts like speed, fuel efficiency, etc.

  • Icon for: Gregory Moore

    Gregory Moore

    Doctoral student
    May 14, 2015 | 06:10 p.m.

    Watching the video, I noticed that it seems like most of the math/problem solving is being done in drop-down menus and text boxes. This type of interface can still be fun and encourage learning. I am just wondering if math/problem solving is involved in some of the more “flashy” aspects of the game (i.e., flying the plane, navigating the 3D environment) or if those aspects of the game are more of a benefit to motivation or engagement. What’s the relationship between the different modes in the game? The game looks cool and I’m curious to see how it turns out and what you find.

  • Further posting is closed as the showcase has ended.