UNC Wilmington Faculty to Study Effects of Educational Video Games on Student Mathematical Achievement

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Academic researchers at the University of North Carolina Wilmington's Watson School of Education will implement a comprehensive study designed to learn more about the direct effects of educational video games on student mathematical achievement using Tabula Digita's DimensionM video games.

We hope our research will serve to explain further how playing serious, high quality, interactive games influences mathematics achievement and self-efficacy in math

The rapid growth of educational video games as a viable instructional tool has prompted academic researchers at the University of North Carolina Wilmington's Watson School of Education to implement a comprehensive study designed to learn more about the direct effects of educational video games on student mathematical achievement.

Initiated earlier this month, the research effort, led by Albert Ritzhaupt, assistant professor in the Watson School of Education, will observe nearly 500 middle school students and 15 teachers, technology trainers and administrators using Tabula Digita's DimensionMâ„¢ standards-based educational video games. The participating middle schools in the eastern North Carolina region include: West Pender Middle School and Cape Fear Middle School in Pender County and Trask Middle School and D.C. Virgo Middle School in New Hanover County.

"We hope our research will serve to explain further how playing serious, high quality, interactive games influences mathematics achievement and self-efficacy in math," said Ritzhaupt. "Equally important will be to gain a greater understanding of how students react to and interact with gaming in the classroom and how teachers respond to those unique student actions."

The DimensionM instructional video games being used in the study are designed to teach and reinforce key math concepts through a series of cutting-edge, first-person action adventure missions that incorporate three-dimensional graphics, sound, animation and storylines comparable to those in popular video games. Students practice and master math concepts previously discussed in class by successfully navigating a myriad of middle school level math and algebra lessons embedded in the game. The purpose of the game is to help students absorb the complexities of math by presenting them in a format that is fun and engaging.

Joining Ritzhaupt in the research endeavor will be assistant professor Heidi Higgins and technology coordinator/lecturer Beth Allred, both in the Watson School of Education. The study is expected to run until the end of May, with the findings disseminated in a full report in late summer.

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Charlotte Andrist
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