August 21, 2013

Seattle Times: Computer games + math = fun and learning in schools

By Patrick Bell

The Seattle Times recently reported on UW researcher Zoran Popovic‘s work to make computer games more effective at teaching math.

One of the most successful examples, for adults and students alike, is the UW Center for Game Science’s Foldit, which challenges users to help uncover the structures of biologically important proteins.

Players around the world have made a number of important discoveries about the structures of proteins just by playing the game.

The UW lab has recently turned to K-12 education, and is “using the same mechanisms to reach high levels of mastery for kids,” said Popovic, the center’s director.

“We were able to show that even kindergartners and first-graders can master solving equations,” Popovic said. “This is shockingly good,” he said — especially for elementary school, where algebra concepts usually are not taught.

Read the whole story.

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