Mathematics

New app a game changer for learning fractions

Image credit: ECU

A new maths game developed in WA has improved Perth primary school students’ knowledge of fractions by more than 10 per cent over their classmates according to new research.

The Abydos app was developed by Edith Cowan University and St Stephen’s School and uses the theme of ancient Egypt to teach students about fractions.

In research published in the Journal of Computer Assisted Learning, results showed a group of year 6 students who used the app scored 10.5 per cent higher than those who didn’t after just two sessions a week for four weeks using the app.

However, it’s not just the attractive graphics or fun story that keeps students engaged and improves their knowledge of fractions according to one of its creators.

ECU Computer Science lecturer Dr Martin Masek said the app responds and adapts to players’ abilities to make sure they’re always learning.

“Abydos has artificial intelligence built in to the app which monitors students’ answers to different problems,” he said.

“For example if a student gives three incorrect answers to a problem, the app will modify the next problem to a lower level and vice-versa.

“This adaptation ensures students don’t disengage from learning if the game is too hard or too easy.

“The app works just like a traditional videogame in this respect, but instead of driving, or chasing monsters it’s teaching fractions.”

St Stephen’s School Director of Analytics, Innovation and Special Projects Stephen Corcoran said that it is a challenge for teachers the world over to teach students the abstract concept of fractions.

“The Abydos app is a game-changer in that it provides tangible real-life examples to challenging mathematical problems in an engaging format,” he said.

“When students can grasp fractions, it lays a foundation for understanding more complex mathematical concepts such as algebra – a cornerstone of STEM and our nation’s future competitiveness.”

Abydos is mapped to the Australian curriculum and is currently integrated into classroom teaching in year 6 at St Stephen’s School with trials completed at Swan Christian College and Perth College.

“We’ve found students really enjoy using Abydos,” Mr Corcoran said.

“I’ve had students say to me that they didn’t enjoy fractions or even like maths before using the app – that is a big breakthrough that has significant flow-on benefits for their future schooling and entire career.”

Abydos is available on the App Store and Google Play Store.

Source: ECU

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