Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Institutionalizing Serious Games For Middle School Learners

Increasing number of schools are adding Serious Games to Math curriculum

Via: DimensionM - Where There’s Power in Numbers

Additional Sources:
Math Evolver - Virus Origin: Serious Games Head to Retail; Latest Additions To DimensionM Series Of Algebra Serious Games

In my prior posting, I had early explored two potential bottlenecks for Serious Games large scale adoption: 1. institutional barriers, inherent to B2B oriented markets (unlike B2C, organizations are slower moving when adopting new paradigms); and 2. skills shortage, due to the disparity between game degree course programs and the actual day to day needs in the game industry, also slowing the pace of Serious Games market expansion.

In the Education sector, however, there are now visible signs that schools are starting to embrace video gaming in the classroom.


April last year, in the context of a report published by the National Mathematics Advisory Panel, according to which Mathematics literacy is a serious problem in the US, Reuters reported that dozens of schools in three key Florida counties - Orange, Seminole and Volusia - were adopting Tabula Digita's DimensionM(TM) immersive educational video games to address the need for a rich math curriculum that simultaneously develops conceptual understanding, computational fluency and problem-solving skills.

Melissa Young, district mathematics specialist for Orange County Public Schools said, "When I first saw the DimensionM product I thought the graphics were incredible and the idea of making math practice a part of a video game format was brilliant. As I've been working with the math teachers and students in recent weeks, I've realized why it works - because it gives kids a reason to want to learn math."

The flexible format allows schools within each district to use the DimensionM simulation games anyway and anywhere they want: computer labs, during regular classroom instruction, in extended learning environments, for intervention, for special events and even at home.

In October, Business Wire reported seventy-five schools in eight states - Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, New Jersey, New York, Ohio, Texas and Wyoming, choosing Tabula Digita’s DimensionM(TM) Algebra Software as a way to supplement current instruction models and improve academic achievement.

The DimensionM educational video games embed pre-algebra and algebra lessons within cutting-edge, three-dimensional settings. Middle school and high school students learn multifaceted mathematical concepts by completing "missions" or lessons in a reality-based environment. Here they challenge themselves in single-player format or they can challenge other students in a fast-paced, tournament-style set-up.

The gaming programs correlate to the National Council of Teachers of Mathematics (NCTM) and state standards and target key objectives covered on state tests.

"Prior to purchasing DimensionM, we had been actively researching interactive technology and virtual environments for teaching and learning in our schools - we are always striving to stay ahead of our students; needs," said Jill Hobson, director of instructional technology for Forsyth County Schools in Georgia. 

"What we found with the Tabula Digita products was very compelling. They truly allow us the opportunity to teach our students in a more intuitive and exciting manner. Students and teachers alike are totally engaged with these educational games."


This month, PR inside reported that Broward County Public Schools, the nation's sixth largest the nation's sixth largest school district, will begin delivering supplemental pre-algebra and algebra concepts to students at 24 middle schools using Tabula Digita's DimensionM(TM) video gaming software.

Broward County joins other notable counties in Florida such as Orange, Seminole, Palm Beach, Volusia and Pinellas in adopting the video games as a learning tool.

"Students naturally like to learn through games, and the three-dimensional, virtual world format is deeply engaging. It's a high impact, motivating learning tool that greatly assists when teaching a complex subject like algebra," said Jeanine Gendron, Ed.D., director for the district's department of instructional technology. "That subject is especially challenging during the middle school years, and quite often children become turned off because they view it as difficult. But from observing students using this program, we know that Tabula Digita is going to have a profound positive effect on the attention of our middle school learners."

The decision to bring the Tabula Digita immersive math games to Broward County began with an extensive internal review process, complete with product demonstrations and testing. District math supervisors and educators from BCPS first spotted the video game software at the 2008 National Council of Supervisors of Mathematics (NCSM) annual conference in Salt Lake City.

Tabula Digita's DimensionM product series offers several game titles that incorporate key algebraic concepts both single and multiplayer contemporary game formats. The software also provides automatic progress tracking for each student so teachers can provide additional instruction to help students gain mastery of specific concepts.

"In addition to the high engagement factor, the collaborative nature of this solution is going to be a big plus to the students in Broward County," said Ntiedo Etuk, chief executive officer of Tabula Digita. "Students will feel empowered to help other students master difficult concepts needed to advance to the game's next level, and in some cases they may even help teachers with the little nuances needed to learn the concepts and advance in the game. This role reversal is truly the foundation for engaging students in their own learning process and building a new way to teach and learn."

There are several purchase options available for schools and districts to consider when purchasing the DimensionM games.

About Broward County Public Schools

Broward County Public Schools is the nation's sixth largest public school system and the largest fully accredited district with over 260,000 students in more than 260 schools and education centers. For more information about Broward County Public Schools, visit the District Web site

About Tabula Digita

Tabula Digita is an educational video game company focused on delivering innovative and effective educational games to students and institutions. Through its fusion of education and technology-based immersive learning systems, Tabula Digita successfully offers standards-based, high impact educational tools that engage middle and high school students in learning and applying Pre-Algebra and Algebra I concepts. For more information, please call 1-888-9-Tabula or 1-888-982-2852, or visit www.DimensionM.com.