Institute of Education


First-person solvers: Smart video game design for good maths learning

04 December 2019, 12:30 pm–2:00 pm

Computer game on a tablet

This event has now been cancelled. We apologise for any inconvenience.

This event is free.

Event Information

Open to





Rhiannon Thomas


Large seminar room
UCL Knowledge Lab
23-29 Emerald Street

The vast majority of mathematics-learning video games provide repetitive practice in one or more basic skills. They take fairly standard repetitive exercises and wrap them in a game with the intention that the engagement with the game will drive persistence in the exercises. There is rarely any real connection between the actions required to move ahead in the game and the mathematical activity targeted.

Alternative (though still fairly rare) approaches are to view video-game technology as:

  1. a simulator to present students with explorative mathematical activities (complex performance tasks) that develop number sense and general problem-solving ability, or
  2. a medium to represent mathematics that circumvents the traditional symbolic language that is known to cause problems for students in the early part of their educational journey.

Since 2012, Professor Devlin and a small number of colleagues have been developing, distributing and studying video games that encompass both approaches. In this seminar, he describes the approach and shares what the team have learned so far.


This UCL Knowledge Lab seminar is free to attend and open to all, but attendees external to UCL should sign up via email to Nikoleta Yiannoutsou: n.yiannoutsou@ucl.ac.uk or Rhiannon Thomas: rhiannon.thomas@ucl.ac.uk

You can also join the conversation on Twitter with #UCLKLtalks.


About the Speaker

Professor Keith Devlin

Director of the Stanford Mathematics Outreach Project at Stanford University

More about Professor Keith Devlin