December 8, 2015 - A study conducted by Stéphane Cyr and Martin Riopel, professors in the Faculty of Science and the Faculty of Education, respectively, at the Université du Québec à Montréal (UQAM), shows that the mobile video game Slice Fractions significantly improves student performance, in record time. In addition to being effective, this game, designed by Ululab to introduce children to fractions, is notable for its pedagogical quality and its design excellence, as recognized by prestigious Editors' Choice and Best of 2014 mentions on Apple's App Store.
« After years of research and development in collaboration with UQAM, we finally have proof that our game helps children grasp fractions, a key concept in math learning, while playing on their own, » said François Boucher-Genesse, head designer of the video game and co-founder of the young company established by graduates of UQAM's Faculty of Education.
In conjunction with the unveiling of the results of this study, Ululab is announcing a major update of Slice Fractions, with 32 new puzzles, a redesigned navigation interface, and compatibility with the latest version of Apple TV.
Rigorously measured improvement
The study was conducted among 139 grade-three students, divided into three groups: the first received traditional teaching; the second played Slice Fractions in class in addition to traditional teaching; and the third only played the Ululab game in class. The impact of the game on learning was measured using questions on fractions drawn from Trends in International Mathematics and Science Study (TIMSS), a standardized test used to evaluate and compare students around the world. The two groups who used Slice Fractions showed greater and more significant improvement in performance than the students who received only traditional teaching.
Researchers amazed at the results
« What surprised us most it is that Slice Fractions promotes a learning transfer of abstract concepts that are not directly covered in the game, » explained Stéphane Cyr, Mathematics professor at UQAM Department and principal researcher of the study.
The greatest progress and the largest effect size were observed for a subset of questions that did not offer students any visual support. This clearly demonstrates that the students were able to transfer their learning, even for abstract notions, although Slice Fractions is a game based primarily on manipulation, procedures and visual representations.
The speed with which the game improves the understanding of fractions was another unexpected element of the study. « Three hours of play in the classroom were sufficient to enable our third-grade subjects to achieve a level of performance comparable to that of fourth-grade students in the United States and Quebec, » noted Martin Riopel, professor in UQAM's Department of Didactics of and co-investigator on the study. The improvement is achieved in record time when compared to usual classroom teaching and gives a head start to children who use the game.
For additional details and results, see this three-minute video summary.
Effective and fun
Slice Fractions offers children aged 6 to 12 exciting challenges in a colourful, intriguing world inhabited by loveable characters. The game is available on iPhone, iPad, iPod touch, and Apple TV, as well as on most Android devices.
Ululab Inc., founded by graduates of the UQAM Master's in Education, develops sophisticated applications based on the best current pedagogical approaches.
- « François Boucher-Genesse et Jean-Guillaume Dumont ont fondé Ululab, une entreprise spécialisée dans la création de jeux vidéo éducatifs pour appareils mobiles, » Magazine Inter, Vol. 13, no 1, printemps 2015
- « Apprendre les fractions par le jeu, » Actualités UQAM, 13 février 2014
Professors Stéphane Cyr and Martin Riopel of Uqam, and François Boucher-Genesse and Jean-Guillaume Dumont of Ululab are available for interviers with the media.
Interviews and filming can be arranged on the Ululab premises in downtown Montreal.
Source : Rose-Aline LeBlanc, conseillère en relations de presse
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