|The Product Game (pdf)|
aka Times Square (online)
still my choice for best math game ever.
I just stumbled across the NCTM's Tips for Teachers page on Math Games. Definitely check it out, they have solid links to games at the end. After a brief motivation about why to use games, they give their criteria for evaluating a game. I've reworded and reorganized them here, as the lack of any organization and structure was a wee maddening to me.
M1. Does the game reward engaging in mathematical processes? (They connect with strategy. NCTM’s Process standards)
M2. Does the game's structure or context support the mathematics?
M3. Does the game promote conceptual understanding?
G1. Does the game have a random component or choices to make with clear outcomes? Are students empowered?
G2. Does the game reward replay? (Variety in tasks or different pathways to the end.) Does the game have clear scoring?
Teacher and Student:
S1. Does the game give feedback throughout?
S2. Does the game support players through the most challenging parts? (Can they get stuck?)
S3. Does the game have teacher support for classroom use? (Extensions, connected lessons, chance to track students' progress.)
L1. Does the game promote positive competition and a safe learning environment?
L2. Does the game promote social play? (Competition, collaboration, and communication. )
I want to compare it to the framework I've been using lately. Both to see
- Goal(s) - M1-processes, M3-concepts
- Structure - M1-processes (representation), M2-game mathematics, S3-extensions.
- Strategy - M1-processes (problem solving)
- Interaction - G1-choices, L2-social play
- Surprise - G1-randomness
- Catch-Up - G1-randomness
- Inertia - G2-replay, S2-support as needed.
- Rules - S3-teacher use.
- Context: Fun-Flavor-Hook. G2-replay, L1-positive,
- Math goals.
- A lot more clarity on gameplay.
- Covers their characteristics in a usable format.
Do I need more?
- I've got to think about the feedback throughout (S1). That feels important for an educational game. In some games it's just your success.
- Similarly, support through the challenging parts (S2).
- Classroom support (S3).
Note also the slides Maria Droujkova captured from Keith Devlin's math game webinar. His principles have a lot of overlap with the NCTM checks, but are expanded and better suited to multiple platforms. I think there is a place for skills mastery, though, as I would much rather have that in the context of a game than in drill and practice.