Play and Socialization Tools

This section includes articles utilizing games for student skill building or using AT to increase play and socialization skills.

Gameplaying for math learning: Cooperative or not?

Jun 21, 2013, 10:43 AM
Ke, F., & Grabowski, B. (2007). Gameplaying for math learning: Cooperative or not? British Journal of Educational Technology, 38(2), 249-259.


  • Past research demonstrated that cooperative math learning reduces student frustration, while other studies concluded that computer games can enhance student achievement in math.
  • This study looked at the effect that cooperative computer game playing had on 5th grade students’ math performance and attitude towards math.
  • One hundred twenty-five 5th grade students from central Pennsylvania participated in the study.
  • In the experimental condition, students participated in Teams-Games-Tournaments (TGT), where students were on a 4-person team that completed web-based math games during weekly tournaments against other student teams.
  • The web-based computer games were called ASTRA EAGLE and were aligned to the Pennsylvania mathematics standards for 5th grade students.
  • The four ASTRA EAGLE games used in the study were single-user strategy games where students had to work through a variety of math problems that required them to find measurements, compare whole numbers, solve simple equations, and map coordinates.


  • The study took place in six 5th grade classrooms in central Pennsylvania.


  • Participants took the Game Skills Arithmetic Test (GSAT) and the Attitudes Towards Math Inventory (ATMI) as a pre-test measure.
  • Each class was randomly assigned to one of three groups: (1) TGT cooperative game playing, (2) interpersonal competitive game playing, or (3) no game playing.
  • The game playing groups participated in two orientation sessions where they learned the game rules and practiced each game.
  • After the orientation session, participants were required to play the games for 4 weeks during 2, 40-minute sessions each week.
  • Students in the TGT cooperative game playing condition collaborated as a team of 4 at the beginning of each game session for 10 minutes in order to practice the games and ensure all teammates understood the concepts covered in the game’s tasks.
  • Next, during game sessions, all teams competed against each other for 30 minutes.
  • Each TGT team was awarded points based on their rankings each day; these rankings were listed in a weekly newsletter distributed to the class at the beginning of each week.
  • Students participating in the interpersonal competitive game playing condition played games against their individual computers during each session; each player’s score was shared with classmates via a weekly newsletter.
  • Students in the no-games control group participated in 2, 40-minute paper-and-pencil math drill sessions each week that covered concepts similar to those presented in the ASTRA EAGLE computer games.
  • At the end of the 4-week treatment session, each student took the Game Skills Arithmetic Test (GSAT) and the Attitudes Towards Math Inventory (ATMI) again as post-test measures.


  • Results revealed that students in both computer game conditions made significantly larger gains in math achievement than their peers in the control condition; however, the TGT cooperative game playing group performed no better than the individual competitive game playing group.
  • Students in the TGT cooperative game playing group reported having the most positive post-treatment attitudes towards math.
  • Students in the lowest SES group from the cooperative game playing group showed the most positive post-treatment attitudes towards math.
  • In general, the study’s findings demonstrate that math computer games increased student achievement in math and team-based computer activities led to students reporting positive attitudes towards math.
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