Game Design as an Interactive Learning Environment for Fostering Students' and Teachers' Mathematical Inquiry

  • Y.B. Kafai
  • M.L. Franke
  • C.C. Ching
  • J.C. Shih


Many learning environments, computer-based or not, have been developed for either students or teachers alone to engage them in mathematical inquiry. While some headway has been made in both directions, few efforts have concentrated on creating learning environments that bring both teachers and students together in their teaching and learning. In the following paper, we propose game design as such a learning environment for students and teachers to build on and challenge their existing understandings of mathematics, engage in relevant and meaningful learning contexts, and develop connections among their mathematical ideas and their real world contexts. To examine the potential of this approach, we conducted and analyzed two studies: Study I focused on a team of four elementary school students designing games to teach fractions to younger students, Study II focused on teams of pre-service teachers engaged in the same task. We analyzed the various games designed by the different teams to understand how teachers and students conceptualize the task of creating virtual game learning environment for others, in which ways they integrate their understanding of fractions and develop notions about students' thinking in fractions, and how conceptual design tools can provide a common platform to develop meaningful fraction contexts. In our analysis, we found that most teachers and students, when left to their own devices, create instructional games to teach fractions that incorporate little of their knowledge. We found that when we provided teachers and students with conceptual design tools such as game screens and design directives that facilitated an integration of content and game context, the games as well as teachers' and students' thinking increased in their sophistication. In the discussion, we elaborate on how the design activities helped to integrate rarely used informal knowledge of students and teachers, how the conceptual design tools improved the instructional design process, and how students and teachers benefit in their mathematical inquiry from each others' perspectives. In the outlook, we discuss features for computational design learning environments.


Preservice Teacher Instructional Design Design Tool Fair Sharing Game Design 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


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Copyright information

© Kluwer Academic Publishers 1998

Authors and Affiliations

  • Y.B. Kafai
    • 1
  • M.L. Franke
    • 1
  • C.C. Ching
    • 1
  • J.C. Shih
    • 1
  1. 1.UCLAGraduate School of Education & Information StudiesLos AngelesU.S.A

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