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Transforming children’s mathematics education

The School of Psychology would like to invite you to launch the Report “Transforming children’s mathematics education through digital games: Insights from the Arithmós Project”.

Hands on a computer and a long haired child looking at a book or tablet

The Arithmós Project included 403 third and fourth graders (217 girls, 186 boys) attending six different elementary schools in the Republic of Ireland. Boys outperformed girls in two maths skills whereas girls had higher levels of maths anxiety. Nearly 4% of children experienced high levels of maths anxiety, impacting their maths performance. Parents with higher levels of maths anxiety had children who also experienced higher levels of maths anxiety and performed worse in maths tasks. Playing Seven Spells in the classroom resulted in significant improvements in maths skills compared to 4th graders in the control groups. A significant percentage of children were spontaneously engaged in gameplay at home after the intervention, including some highly anxious students.

The report outlines major outputs and provides recommendations being a valuable resource for parents, educators, psychologists, as well as being of interest to game developers, researchers in Psychology, Education and Neuroscience and policymakers in the field of maths education and technology in education.

The Report launch will take place at 9 am on Thursday 21st May 2024 at The Geary Institute for Public Policy, University College Dublin during the event “Paving the way for girls in STEM and keeping them on the path".Participation in this event is free but registration is compulsory. Eventbrite details: (opens in a new window)https://t.co/mpcIozSnC5

Speakers are Flavia H. Santos and Dervla Macmanus from University College Dublin, and Pierpaolo Dondio from Technological University Dublin. The roundtable will be facilitated by Dr Dorren McMahon from the Geary Institute for Public Policy building an opportunity for the speakers to interactively address questions from the audience, the moderator, and one another.

About the report: Maths forms the foundation for cutting-edge scientific advancements like space travel and robotics. Yet many people overlook the role that primary and secondary school maths classes play in laying this groundwork. During these formative years several factors that can lead to difficulties in maths and a long-lasting impact on grades, finances, and career opportunities. Poor performance in maths at all educational levels is in part linked to maths anxiety. The presence of maths anxiety can start early in childhood and persist throughout adulthood and be passed down from parent to child or teacher to student. Access to high-quality information about maths anxiety for parents and educators is essential for the success of students. Early intervention and support are necessary to ensure that students achieve their academic goals and are well-prepared for their final exams. The Arithmós Project is a joint effort between University College Dublin and Technological University Dublin, supported by the Irish Research Council under Collaborative Alliances for Societal Challenges (COALESCE/2021/64). Its goal is to enhance maths education by involving children, teachers, families, and policymakers in the Republic of Ireland. The key components of the project include research in schools to assess the effectiveness of Seven Spells, a digital maths game on learning, a workshop programme for teachers to address maths anxiety in the classroom, a video for families and children to understand and overcome maths anxiety, and discussions with policymakers on curriculum development. The Arithmós Project Report presents in detail the core findings and outputs of our research and provides recommendations for policymakers, parents, and educators concerning gender gap in maths, maths education and the use of digital games in maths classrooms.

Dr Flavia H. Santos leads both the Arithmós Project, funded by the Irish Research Council, and the ENIGMA Project, supported by the European Commission's Erasmus Plus programme. Dr Pierpaolo Dondio developed and implemented the digital game Seven Spells, he also founded the Happy Maths Programme. Project team: Dr Mariuche Gomides, Dr Mariana Rocha, Ryan Flood.

The Arithmós Project(opens in a new window) Policy Brief is available at [PublicPolicy.ie], the Geary Institute’s online platform for disseminating policy-related research in order to inform academic and contemporary debates about public policy in Ireland.

UCD School of Psychology

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