Amy Perry | Communication, Media and Learning Technologies Design | Mathematics Science and Technology

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Communication, Media & Learning Technologies Design

In the Department of Mathematics, Science & Technology

Enhancing a Drill-and-Practice Experience Without Gamification

Amy Perry, M.A in Instructional Technology and Media

The goal of this project is to design an effective and engaging digital tool for learning times tables that is consistent with the educational approach of this project’s primary stakeholder, Kumon Learning Centers. Kumon requires that the tool use a drill-and-practice approach and not be a game in the sense of an artificial conflict. These requirements present significant obstacles to creating an effective and engaging tool, as many children find drill-and-practice unappealing and anxiety-producing, and games are a common and effective strategy for motivating users of educational technology. To overcome these obstacles, I drew on research regarding flow, emulating methods for promoting flow in Kumon Centers and incorporating other flow-based strategies. I also utilized research on digital manipulatives and on play versus games. The result is a website with two main activity types: Power Up and Builder. In Power Up mode, users work through Kumon-style drill-and-practice activities while accessing hints from virtual manipulatives. Working through these problems earns the user points to spend in Builder mode. Builder mode is a world of creative building inspired by Minecraft, in which users construct objects using multiplication and virtual manipulatives. 

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