Matts Hšglund and Axel HammarbŠck

Math Games – Towards a Better Math Education?


Swedish upper high school students perform worse than ever in math and the negative trend seems to continue. However, one can see a lot of potential in emerging technologies to solve this problem.

Gamification, i.e. Ňuse of game design elements in non-game contextsÓ (Deterding & Dixon, 2011) has in recent years spread to many parts of our everyday lives. Gamification aims to motivate users to perform tasks they do not normally perform. For example, the mobile app "Zombies, Run!" motivates users to exercise by simulating a audio environment in which they feel they are being chased by zombies. Gartner Group has also appointed gamification to one of the technologies that will have the most influence on our society in the coming years.

This study aims to investigate the effects of introducing gamification in math education in upper high school, and if this has the potential to increase students' understanding and ability to process mathematics.

A gamified module was created and tested at an upper secondary school mathematics class at IT-College in Rissne, Stockholm, Sweden. The students used the module for one hour and the attitude against the module and the ability to process mathematics was measured. The results suggest an increased student involvement but also suggests that any gamified teaching material needs to be designed very carefully and its role in education should be investigated to ensure maximum effect.