Yelda Aydin-Mullen – Innovative Teaching With Technology Faculty Partner

Yelda Aydin-Mullen, Instructor, Mathematics

Teaching with Technology Topic: Student Learning Using Tablet Games

Primary Goal: Using tablet games to enhance student learning and engagement

Synopsis: In Fall 2013, Math 002/199 Instructor Yelda Aydin-Mullen used the math game AlgeBurst, on iPads to engage and enhance her student’s ability to learn algebraic exponents. AlgeBurst, published by Cengage Learning, is based on the video tiling game Bejeweled.

Instructor Yelda Aydin-Mullen believed that learning algebraic exponents requires repetition for increased knowledge retention, but repetitive learning tasks can challenge learners’ patience. Yelda felt that using a tablet game could make repetitive learning activities more appealing for students, and, thus, increase study time and enhance their learning.

Her inspiration for the learning project came from an experience at Parkland College, where she worked with a student who developed a math app and needed to relearn math rules to build the application. Given the challenge of creating the game, the student quickly relearned the math needed to design the app. Later at a conference, Yelda was exposed to additional math learning applications, encouraging her to incorporate more tablet based math applications in class.

It was at this point that Yelda approached CITES Academic Technology Services through their Tablet Initiative and submitted a proposal to use a math game to increase student knowledge of algebraic exponent operations in MATH 002/199. Testing both the free and paid versions of AlgeBurst, Yelda decided to use the paid version of the game.

Yelda spent three class sessions with her students playing AlgeBurst on 12 iPads, with 36 students sharing one tablet per group of three. Students were challenged to get faster and achieve a percentage score of accuracy with the game. In each successive session, she raised the grading criteria, which was based on higher accuracy with shorter completion time for a group.

Based on student classroom participation and a short survey, it was clear that students preferred the use of the game for learning over the textbook, lecture, homework, or self-study. In helping them learn the subject matter, they also voiced satisfaction regarding the repetition that the game provided. Yelda found that group participation was excellent, and reports that students enjoyed the game as a vehicle for collaborative learning.

For future classes, Yelda feels that a better approach would be to share a single iPad among a pair of students, thus, increasing playing time per student while still benefitting from collaboration with a partner. Additionally, Yelda was not completely satisfied with the game design and documentation of AlgeBurst and would like to try other math game applications.

A future project may return to the idea of students actively designing or creating games. This approach engages students with a challenging project that necessitates they learn the necessary math to successfully complete the design process. This learn-by-designing approach would go back to her original inspiration for using gamification as a learning strategy.

If you would like more information or to submit a proposal, please visit our Tablet Initiative website.
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One Response to Yelda Aydin-Mullen – Innovative Teaching With Technology Faculty Partner

  1. Jonathan says:

    This is a fantastic idea! I’ve always felt that video-games can (and in many cases) do have learning applications built into them. Sometimes it’s obvious what those applications are and other times they aren’t that apparent. For instance, believe it or not I learned a fair bit about economics from playing World of Warcraft. Each ‘server’ which contains thousands of players has an in-game auction house. Players set the prices of the auction house system and current trends in the game implicate supply, demand and prices. As I played more and more, I got to witness and be involved in the shaping of an in-game economy. In my mind, it helped me understand how this works and is applicable in real life.

    Off-tangent, it’s wonderful to see educational institutions taking advantage of the learning applications tablets and other forms of enhancement that gamification can provide. And on the flip side, it’s also a very solid business marketing strategy as it means you’re staying up-to-date with modern forms of learning and technology. Embrace change and the enhancements it can provide rather than treat it as just a fad. That’s how anyone can stay ahead of the game.

    Cheers,

    Jonathan

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