A test of a computer game designed to facilitate the acquisition of arithmetic skills
Global Science & Technology Forum (GSTF), Cambridge Scholars Publishing
Faculty of Health, Engineering and Science
School of Psychology and Social Science/Cognition Research Group
A study is reported that tests a hypothesis regarding the poor numeracy rates within Australia. The hypothesis suggests that the education system does not adhere closely enough to known principles of skill acquisition. These principles provided a rationale for the development of a computer game designed to facilitate the acquisition of arithmetic skills in children. Two experiments are reported that compared performance on standard arithmetic problems following the playing of several versions of the game with that observed following two control conditions: 1. Normal classroom lessons; 2. Arithmetic problems performed on a computer. The accuracy of performance on the standard arithmetic problems improved in all conditions at an equivalent rate, reflecting a general practice effect. In general the game was shown to improve the speed of performance on these problems. This far transfer from a game task to standard arithmetic problems was interpreted as support for the proposal that appropriately designed educational games can facilitate the acquisition of arithmetic skills. Some limitations of the study are discussed and recommendations are made that could improve the effectiveness of the full version of the game.