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Bill Gates lauds UW CSE’s Zoran Popović on Facebook and Twitter

gates.zoran“Zoran Popović is getting students excited about education by turning math into a game” says Bill Gates on Facebook and Twitter this morning.

BillG links to an article in this week’s Wired magazine, “Kids Like to Learn Algebra, if It Comes in the Right App.”

Wired writes: “A computer scientist at the University of Washington, Popović first became known for his popular online game, Foldit, which challenges players to create intricate protein patterns by bending and rearranging amino acids – the constituent units of proteins – into new shapes …

“Now Popović wants to put the power of games to an even better use. Earlier this year he adapted DragonBox, a Norwegian game app that introduces algebraic concepts with ­animal-faced cards, then builds up to numbers and computational signs … As harder concepts are introduced, students who need more time on a level get additional problems; those who understand it move on. In an experiment with DragonBox Adaptive in Washington state, an average of 93 percent of K–12 students successfully mastered concepts after only 90 minutes of gameplay, and they didn’t want to stop.

“Popović is using this method as the basis for an entire sixth-grade math curriculum in trial now in ­Seattle and next year in Brooklyn and Brazil. He’s banking on digital tablets to help teachers adjust their lessons to individual performance. Science, language arts, even coding are all on the table for the future. Finally, an argument for more screen time for kids.”

Read more in Wired here. Learn about UW CSE’s Center for Game Science here.