only issue more worrisome than the agonizingly slow improvement in the math
achievement of American students is what to do about it. Abandoned solutions to
this decades-old challenge litter the educational roadmap like so many wrecks. Remember
“New Math” in the 1960s?
experts aren’t necessarily running short of ideas, but, like many experiments
for improving education, new schemes often work best in small, intensive
classroom situations then fall apart when they leave the hothouse for
latest idea gaining traction is using computer video games to teach
mathematics. Educational technology companies are pushing specially developed
games. But popular and big-name gaming staples like “World of Warcraft” may be effective research
templates for teaching math concepts to elementary and secondary students. For
the ignorant, like me, this hugely popular computer video game is played online
and involves many players at once, with each player controlling a character
that explores the landscape, fights monsters, completes quests, and interacts with other players. Some
teachers have been experimenting with the game in math classes for the last
four or five years and there are websites designed to help teachers adapt the
game (see here).
University mathematician Keith Devlin is a “World of Warcraft” believer. America
now has the know-how to develop computer games and puzzles to teach math, as
well as other subjects, he believes....