Learning number sense through digital games with intrinsic feedback

Diana Laurillard


The paper proposes a new interdisciplinary approach to helping low attaining learners in basic mathematics. It reports on the research-informed design and user testing of an adaptive digital game based on constructionist tasks with intrinsic feedback. The approach uses findings from the neuroscience of dyscalculia, cognitive science research on conceptual understanding in mathematics, and mathematical education research to inform the detailed pedagogic design. It is interdisciplinary in the sense that it synthesises the results from multiple disciplines in the design principles. It then exploits the new capabilities of digital technologies to develop the design for testing with learners, and capturing appropriate data. The initial pilot has shown that the game supports learners age 5-7 years for independent learning of the kind that low attaining learners will need in order to keep pace with mainstream learners. The experimental work will evaluate this and similar games for learners of all ages who have low numeracy. In general, the approach is to (i) focus on a problem at the intersection of robust evidence in both education and neursocience; and (ii) use this data to design and test a digital intervention that fully exploits the adaptive and interactive features of learning technology.

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DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.14742/ajet.3116