J.F. Nicaud1, J. Trgalova2, N. Essonnier2, C. Viudez1

1Aristod (FRANCE)
2University of Lyon 1 (FRANCE)
In the framework of the MC2 European project, aiming at creative design of learning material fostering a creative mathematical thinking, we designed a concept of digital game asking students to sort elements with regard to a small number of targets. These elements are introduced one by one and are falling slowly like in the well-known Tetris game. Targets are displayed in cells at the bottom of the window, and students have to drop each element in the right cell. For example, we created a game in which the falling elements are numerical expressions that are to be sorted in sets of integers, rational and not integer numbers, and real and not rational numbers. A column “I don’t know” is available as well. A score is calculated and displayed with gauges associated to correct and incorrect answers. Other examples of games can be found at http://www.epsilon-publi.net/j/jnicaud/tetris_en/

Two specific applications have been developed by the Aristod Company (http://www.aristod.com) for these games:
(1) a player called EpsiTetris implemented in JavaScript, running on computers, tablets and smartphones;
(2) an authoring tool which is an extension of the EpsilonWriter Java software, running on computers.

The editor is used by designers to generate TetrisQuizz. They have to define one or several phases. In each phase, they have to choose the target appearing in the cells and the elements which will fall with their corresponding target. The may provide explanations for the elements. In that case, the explanations are displayed when the student makes an error in addition to the generic feedback indicating the cell of the correct answer. The editor being a component of EpsilonWriter, texts and complex mathematical expressions can be typed. Designers have also to set values of a few parameters like the speed.

The player EpsiTetris can run in three modes: Training, Test and Game. In the Training and Test modes, all the elements are presented for all the phases. The score is the sum of the correct answers. In the Training mode, a pause is possible at any time and the student can skip a phase. In the Game mode, a number of points has to be reached for moving to the next phase; an error must be compensated by 4 correct answers and 4 non compensated errors stops the game.
In all modes, a feedback is provided when an error occurs and, at the end of the session, students can get the list of their answers, marked correct or incorrect, with the correct answers indicated.

The MC2 European project (http://www.mc2-project.eu/) develops digital media which intend to enhance creativity in mathematical thinking. TetrisQuizz are integrated in sequences of learning activities for several purposes like assessing skills or enlarging the student thinking (e.g., in an activity where students have to produce 10 very different mathematical expressions representing a given number, showing in a TetrisQuizz some expressions they may not think of).

TetrisQuizz is also welcome by secondary math teachers who collaborate with us. They see a potential of the application to motivate their students and enhance their learning. They are currently developing a set of games for high school and will conduct experiments in April 2015.

TetrisQuizz are not limited to mathematics. Targets and elements can be also sentences. They can be generated in any domain. In a near future, it will be possible to insert images in targets and elements.