Game Developed by Associate Professor Jessica Hunt to Help Students Learn Fractions Wins Gold Award at Serious Play Conference
A game-based learning curriculum developed by Jessica Hunt, an associate professor of special education and mathematics education in NC State’s College of Education, has been recognized with a Gold Award at the 2022 Serious Play Conference.
Developed in 2009, the Serious Play Conference is a leadership summit for professionals worldwide who are exploring the use of game-based learning. The annual event offers a place for them to share experiences and work together to shape the future of training and education.
Hunt received the Gold Award for the Dream2B game and accompanying Model Mathematics Education (ModelME) curriculum.
“The team is so excited to be recognized with this conference award,” Hunt said. “The conference is a great venue to connect with leaders and professionals who present and explore game-based learning in fields including education, healthcare, military and business. We’re honored to be included among the list of awardees this year!”
Developed using a three-year, $1.4 million National Science Foundation ITEST grant awarded to Hunt in 2020, the Dream2B game is helping students with learning disabilities and difficulties develop a better understanding of fractions while exploring real-world STEM fields.
Students play as a customizable character named Bunny who encounters six different worlds that relate to STEM and information and communication technology (ICT) careers, in which people with disabilities are often underrepresented. Challenges in each of the six worlds are accessed through a universally designed interface with customizable features to enable accessible gameplay and offer a choice of tools to complete each challenge. This encourages students to use individual strategies and ways of thinking to solve problems.
The game was piloted in partnership with nine elementary school teachers in Granville, Sampson and Durham counties in North Carolina, who implemented 29 lessons from the ModelME curriculum in their classrooms.
Data from focus groups with teachers – to understand their perspectives of the ways in which ModelME supported students’ fraction learning and their understanding of their students’ thinking– and with students – to learn more about their perspectives of gameplay – will be analyzed in the coming months to develop a final version of the game and wraparound curriculum.
The final version of the game and curriculum will be tested in a larger study in Spring 2023, Hunt said.