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WHAT WORKS IN EDUCATION The George Lucas Educational Foundation

Online Math Games Balance Challenge with Mastery Learning

Game designers at Mangahigh strive to find the perfect match between player skill and difficulty level in the standards-based teaching resources they build, and allow teachers to track student progress from within the games. Get tips for implementing Mangahigh in the classroom.

Online Math Games Balance Challenge with Mastery Learning (Transcript)

David Upchurch: Mangahigh is an online educational resource.

Toby Rowland: Over the last three years, we have learned that there’s some rules for math game creation. One rule was that the game mechanic had to be the map.

Chris Green: The concept that we now have launched has gone through many phases to make it exciting and challenging and to make the gradient, the slope, of learning just right. What’s key is that you’re constantly having to solve mathematics problems, but you’re doing it in such a way that it’s exciting, it’s challenging, it’s engaging.

David Upchurch: All our games are built around an API that queries the game constantly about how the student’s doing and how they’re performing, where they’re struggling and so forth. That’s all fed back to us here and some of that data’s also made available to teachers via their admins.

Toby Rowland: The games through the APIs are embedded in the site. That means that teachers can set tasks within games for students and they can be sure that their students are going to go directly into that level of the game and immediately be on task.

Chris Green: Students have to be out of their comfort zones. If you’re in your comfort zone and you’re getting things right and right and right and teaches tiny increments in difficulty or just more of the same, what have you learned? You’ve really learned nothing. That’s not something that students are necessarily used to and it’s quite scary for teachers as well to have the idea that, you know, we want students to make mistakes. We want them to learn from those mistakes. We want them to be uncomfortable in a math classroom. We don’t want kids just sitting there churning stuff out. We want them to feel that there’s a sense that I might not achieve everything today. That is where the real learning goes on and that’s a challenge creating Mangahigh resources. That’s what we want to create.

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  • Director / Camera / Editor: JR Sheetz
  • Associate Producer, Edutopia: Douglas Keely
  • Senior Manager of Video, Edutopia: Amy Erin Borovoy
  • Special Thanks: Histrionix, Lanier Middle School

This video was originally produced by Institute of Play, and was made possible through generous support from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation.

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