Videogame Abacci

By Instructor

Remember all those math classes you’ve taken, remember how fun they were? Yeah, neither do I. But imagine a class where you learn math while playing a video game. Did I get your attention now?

Videogame Abacci is Stanford Mathematician Keith Devlin’s theory of how math should be taught. Devlin says textbooks are quite possibly the worst way to teach math at a grade school level. People learn the best when they experience something in a real world situation as apposed to just reading it in a book. Devlin’s goal is to create a game like World of Warcraft, but as you play online with your friends your actually learning how to do basic algebra and geometry at the same time.

I’m sure by now you’ve said to yourself, “This guy can’t be serious, games about learning are for babies.” So lets use our mind’s eye to imagine one of these math based games. The kids are required to build a flying machine to help them get around in the world—lets pretend in this world there is no land, only floating cities. Now in order to build one of these flying machines the students must select the individual parts: Engine; Wings, Landing Gear; Propeller Prop(s), Machine Body; etc.

Now the game will allow you to use any parts you want without restriction, and when your done it gives you the stats of your flying machine: Weight, Max Thrust; Wing Span, Cargo Space Dimensions; etc. Now the kids can login to the game and try their airship, but without a knowledge of physics their sweet new airship will just fall apart or run itself into the ground.

This will encourage the students to go to their teachers, parents and older siblings with a desire to learn more about physics. Once they master the basics they will be building cooler and cooler flying machines to show off and battle.

As you can see this game model not only sounds fun but the reward for creating your own machine is even better when you do it yourself.

At the Digital Media Academy we take a similar approach. The pre-teen courses, 3D Game Programming and 3D Role Playing Games & Strategy, introduce the boys and girls to computer game programming in a way that doesn’t involve heavy textbooks. Using the Alice Object Oriented Programming system we teach kids and teens how to program by showing them how to create their own games and stories! In the process of creating their own game they are also learning the basics of videogame and computer programming.

Check this video out for a little more information on Alice.

All DMA instructors have real world experience to bring into the classroom. We teach the youth, teens and adults what we do every day in our industries. We give real world examples and talk about your favorite games.

Are your kids or you interested in video games or computers? Learn more about our Summer Camp, or Sign Up and join me at this year’s summer camp at Stanford University in sunny Palo Alto or any of our ten other locations.

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