Incorporating a Digital Game Into the Formal Instruction of Algebra
We compared students’ learning gains in authentic seventh-grade classrooms (N = 144) in 4 different interventions that incorporated a
computer game that aims to teach players to solve linear equations.
Significantly higher learning gains were measured in the implementations that
were specifically designed to mediate the attribution of algebraic meaning to
objects, actions, and rules in the game by engaging students in analogical
mapping between these constructs and their algebraic counterparts and an
exploration of the boundaries of this isomorphism. These findings suggest that
learning disciplinary content and skills from a digital game requires learners
to attribute disciplinary meaning to objects, actions, and rules in the game.
Moreover, this process does not necessarily occur spontaneously and benefits
from instructional mediation.
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