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MERLOT II


    

Peer Review


Refraction

by Zoran Popović
 

Ratings

Overall Rating:

4.5 stars
Content Quality: 4.5 stars
Effectiveness: 4.5 stars
Ease of Use: 4 stars
Reviewed: Sep 20, 2012 by Teacher Education
Overview: Refraction is a video game which can help students review fractions. It uses a spaceship which can appeal to video gamers and male students. The game is not a lesson in fractions, but requires knowledge of fractions to succeed. The player must partition lasers in order to power spaceships containing various animals who have gotten stuck in space, as shown in the picture. These animal spaceships all require different fractions of the lasers, and the player is given several pieces that split and bend the lasers to reach the animals and satisfy these requirements. These mechanics can be used to teach many important fraction concepts, such as equal partitioning, addition, multiplication, mixed numbers, improper fractions, and common denominators. The game itself is instrumented so that it records everything the player does, allowing teachers and researchers to analyze play data.
Learning Goals: The goal of the game is to help students review fractions. Students are required to demonstrate concepts such as equal partitioning, addition, multiplication, mixed numbers, improper fractions, and common denominators using the laser beam which splits and bends in the game. To succeed in the game and progress to the next level the player/student must have a knowledge of fractions, and use that knowledge intuitively. Collaboration is promoted if more than one student wishes to help out.
Target Student Population: Elementary and middle schools students would enjoy the game. The characters look similiar to Japanese Anime characters such as Pokemon.
Prerequisite Knowledge or Skills: Students must have a working knowledge of fractions.
Type of Material: It is a simulation which can be used for drill and practice.
Recommended Uses: It is recommended for review for individual students in a mathematics class. It can be used alone at home. Teachers could also use it as a pretest to gauge students' knowledge of fractions prior to a lesson. The results for individual players are recorded and can be used to identify the strengths and weaknesses of students learning fractions.
Technical Requirements: Adobe flash player.

Evaluation and Observation

Content Quality

Rating: 4.5 stars
Strengths: There are eight levels to the game. It is increasingly more difficult. It provides visual representation of fractions. Students are able to apply their knowledge in a concrete way.
Concerns: More instructions on how to get the game started would be helpful.

Potential Effectiveness as a Teaching Tool

Rating: 4.5 stars
Strengths: A lesson about fractions should be presented by teachers prior to playing the game. The games is for review of the concepts taught in class. Data is collected regarding the player's ability to demonstrate the fraction concept which could be used to improve the faculty's ability to teach the material. The pedagogy behind the site is explained with accompanying screen shots. Research is also linked.
Concerns: The content for each levels is not labeled. It would be difficult to create assignments based on the game unless each level was played by the teacher.

Ease of Use for Both Students and Faculty

Rating: 4 stars
Strengths: The game is visually appealing. It has a space background and animated objects. There are also sound effects. Students would enjoy the interaction. It is a non-violent game, attractive to young players.
Concerns: There are no directions for how to control the laser or to play the game. It is difficult for a first time user to navigate the game. The user can get trapped and have to restart the game.

Other Issues and Comments: Very well-designed website/game grounded in pedagogy. Attractive, appealing and non-violent gameplay.