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Education Featured Article

November 28, 2012

In Norway, Learning Math is Cooler than Playing Angry Birds

By Rich Steeves, TMCnet Web Editor

What do American kids love? They love video games, certainly. You can bet that many students, as they sit in the classroom today, are wishing they could be on a smartphone or tablet playing the latest version of Angry Birds (probably the Star Wars edition). You can also bet that most American kids do not love math. Why, then, is a mathematics application the top selling app in the Norwegian app store, beating even those omnipresent Angry Birds? And what will happen when the company behind this app tries to invade the United States with its revolutionary teaching method?

The company in question is WeWantToKnow AS, and its goal is nothing less than teaching 12 years math curriculum in 30 hours of game play, which would probably shock my favorite math teacher, Peter Palmer, but could be great news for some of the lazier teachers out there (you know who you are). The company’s first outing, DragonBox, which focuses on algebra, has been downloaded 50,000 times. Over the next year, the company will roll out four new editions of DragonBox focusing on functions, probability, geometry and numbers.

Image courtesy of Shutterstock

Echoing common sentiments of math teachers around the globe, Jean-Baptiste Huynh decided to take matters into his own hands, combining creativity, drive and an entrepreneurial spirit and the expertise of Rolf Assev, an executive from the Opera Software (News - Alert) Company. Together with other former Opera employees, Huynh and the WeWantToKnow team sought to revolutionize the ways that games can teach mathematical concepts.

"It is the educational part that is really hard, and we have cracked the code. This type of game is going to be a ‘must have’ in all future learning," Huynh told Reuters.

Right now, 100 U.S. schools are considering using the game in classrooms. I, for one, could have used an app like this when I was teaching middle school English and social studies. Maybe someone will create a similar application for those subjects and make teachers’ lives much easier. Wouldn’t that be nice?

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Edited by Brooke Neuman

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