Primary level math training

Using a gamification approach to motivate students rehearsing basic math skills and receiving detailed performance information for formative feedback.

Helga is a teacher of a primary school class in Vienna. Helga is presently teaching basic multiplications and fractions in 3rd grade. The basics are done, now the children need to practice and stabilize their math skills. That unfortunately means repeating the tasks over and over again. In order to motivate the children and keep them on task with focus and enthusiasm, Helga wants to use games or gamification of math tools. But Helga wants to be informed in detail about the children’s achievements and in particular potential competence gaps or specific weaknesses in order to provide formative feedback and assign exactly such support that is actually required by a particular student.

NEXT-TELL offers two example tools for primary level math training. First a web-based multiplication trainer named 1×1 Ninja, tailored for the use with tablet computers or smart phones. Helga asks her students to accomplish three 5-minutes sessions of multiplication tasks as homework. Depending on the children’s multiplication skills and the working speed a certain score can be achieved. As a motivator, Helga offers a small award for the highest score. The next day, Helga retrieved a detailed summary on a competency level about the performance of her students. Based on the visualizations, she can easily identify the low performers and, more importantly, which competencies are lacking. As an example, Helga could identify that Jason, one of her students, has difficulties in multiplying in the number rows 3 and 7, but not in rows 2 or 9. And, in particular, Jason has difficulties when the multiplier is larger as 6. That way, Helga can select tailored exercises for Jason.

A couple of days later, Helga and her class are in the computer lap. Helga asks her students to accomplish a set of tasks in their math book. Those children who finish early are allowed to use the Sonic Divider on the computers. This tool is a division trainer that allows practicing the formal sequence of written divisions using a gamified approach. The children receive smart, competence-based feedback from a smiley face and they can collect points and the children can compare their scores later on. By applying this tool, Helga could keep the children focused and quiet whilst slower ones continued to work through their tasks, but in addition, Helga had a motivating and fun way to learn the formal procedures of written division.

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