Heather Leo

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Return to: ETAP 623 FALL 2015 - BYRNE section 5874

About me


I am currently pursuing a Master's degree in Curriculum Development and Instructional Technology through the University at Albany. I have experience teaching high school and middle school mathematics. I have a Bachelor of Science in Computer Science/Mathematics and I have a secondary math teaching certificate in New Jersey. I am finishing my certification with New York and I hope to begin teaching again in September 2016.

I am married with two children and my interests include reading, exercise, outdoor activities, and fun activities with my family. I love roller coasters, skiing, and playing games.

My focus is in Instructional Technology and I am interested in using games and technology to enhance math in the classroom.

My Topic/Purpose

The purpose of this mini-course is to show educators the benefits of teaching with video games in math, examples of math video games, and activities to use in math instruction. The course is aimed at secondary teachers. With the popularity of video games with secondary students, the integration of video games for teaching math can increase the motivation and interest of the students.

Learning Outcomes:

  • The participants will be able to identify the benefits of teaching with video games.
  • The participants will explore video games that are used for math instruction.
  • The participants will design a classroom activity that uses a video game as a central component.

Needs Assessment

Statement of Need

The Common Core Standards for Mathematical Practice describe practices that teachers should illicit in their students. Students should be able to “model with mathematics” and solve problems from everyday life, society, and the workplace. Student should also be able to “use appropriate tools strategically” including technological tools. In addition, there is a shift in education to focus on 21st century skills. 21st century learning skills include authentic learning, real-world applications, and using technology. With the need to incorporate the Common Core Standards, 21st century learning skills, and the 2008 Pew Internet and American Life Project survey results that 97% of teens play video games, it seems natural that video games should be incorporated in mathematics curriculum. In addition, video games have been shown to effortlessly fit into several learning theories, such as Gagne’s Nine Events of Instruction, Reigeluth’s Elaboration Theory, Bruner’s Socio-Cultural Approach to Education, and Merrill’s First Principles of Instruction (Becker, 2008).

Therefore, there is a need for training for teachers on using video games within math curriculum. This type of course will provide participants with research on the benefits of using video games for teaching. Participants will be able to explore video games that can be used for math instruction and learn to assess video games for learning. Participants will design and share classroom activities that incorporate video games.

Analysis of the Learner and Context

Participants are secondary math teachers and professionals in the education field pursuing knowledge about using video games in the secondary math classroom. Participants will gain knowledge of the benefits of video games, explore video games, assess video games, and designing classroom activities with video games.

Performance Objectives

  1. The participants will be able to justify the use of video games in the math classroom.
  2. The participants will be able to identify ways to use video games in the math classroom.
  3. The participants will be able to identify and assess video games used for math instruction.
  4. The participants will create a classroom activity incorporating a video game by using the information learned in the course.

Task Analysis

Curriculum Map

References and Resources

Becker, K. (2008). Pedagogy in commercial video games. Online and Distance Learning: Concepts, Methodologies, Tools, and Applications, 1, 357-381.

National Governors Association Center for Best Practice, Council of Chief State School Officers. (2010). Common core state mathematics standards. Washington, DC: National Governors Association Center for Best Practices, Council of Chief State School Officers. Retrieved from http://www.corestandards.org/Math/Practice/

Pew Internet and American Life Project. (2008). Teens, Video Games and Civics. Retrieved from http://www.pewinternet.org/2008/09/16/teens-video-games-and-civics/