Dimension M = math game for New York City school kids
October 8th, 2008

A math game will be in action in 109 middle schools this fall in the world’s largest public school system, serving New York City students. The decision to expand, as the New York Times reports, came after trial runs in two dozen schools last year:

“You have to be at the top of your game,” said Salma Nakhlawi, 13, who has been brushing up on her math skills along with her hand-eye coordination so that she can play the video game Dimension M with her friends. “I used to hate math, but I’ve started to like it. I actually understand it more.”

This fall, New York City is rolling out Dimension M — M stands for math — in 109 middle schools across the five boroughs after trying the game out in two dozen schools, including I.S. 30, last year. Like a modern twist on “Jeopardy!,” the fast-paced video game quizzes students on prealgebra and algebra topics ranging from prime numbers to fractions and complex equations. A correct answer brings 500 or more points, a wrong one as few as 25; the player with the most points wins. (No prizes, just glory.)

Whether such educational video games are effective teaching tools is among the key questions behind the new Games for Learning Institute, a $3 million research effort at New York University that was publicly unveiled on Tuesday. The institute, a partnership between the Microsoft Corporation and six universities (N.Y.U., Columbia, the City University of New York, Dartmouth, Parsons the New School for Design, and the Rochester Institute of Technology) will study games used in middle school classrooms and then create prototypes for new ones. . . .

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