We know that students love video games. And we know that video games are an excellent educational tool—an engaging opportunity for repetitive practice that students actually want to use. So shouldn’t we be using leveraging gaming technology to do more than create an animated update of the traditional flashcards? Imagine Education, a teacher-founded gaming company, is doing just that. Their debut game, Ko’s Journey, is a unique departure from the drill-and-repeat methods seen in most math video games. By presenting math within the context of a story, Ko’s Journey provides opportunities for learning and practice and incorporates the concept of mathematical thinking into the game. Ko’s Journey takes students through an ancient rite-of-passage story that is filled with purposeful, meaningful math (and aligned with the Common Core State Standards for grades 5-7). Students can save a wolf pup and craft arrows, while studying ratios. They can travel faster after they find the North Star, using the Cartesian coordinate system and line equations. And, after each game segment, an innovative “Bridge Curriculum” shows students how math in the game translates to math they might encounter in their lives—and the math questions they see on the classroom chalkboard or on standardized tests. The combination of age-old pedagogy of story and gaming seen in Ko’s Journey had strong appeal for the Next Generation Learning Challenges program, which selected Ko’s Journey as one of the Wave II challenge winners. Play a free demo section of the game, and experience it for yourself: http://www.kosjourney.com/pages/demo.
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