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Mathematics Education for a New Era: Video Games as a Medium for Learning Paperback – February 25, 2011

ISBN-13: 978-1568814315 ISBN-10: 1568814313 Edition: 1st

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Mathematics Education for a New Era: Video Games as a Medium for Learning + Introduction to Mathematical Thinking + The Language of Mathematics: Making the Invisible Visible
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 218 pages
  • Publisher: A K Peters/CRC Press; 1 edition (February 25, 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1568814313
  • ISBN-13: 978-1568814315
  • Product Dimensions: 0.6 x 5.8 x 8.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 12.8 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #137,792 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews


… extremely thought provoking and well worth reading. … I highly recommend this book to anyone interested in reflecting on why and how we teach mathematics as well as how we could bring some of the energy that students expend in video games to the mathematics classroom.
—Larry Feldman, Mathematics Teacher, November 2012

Well-written and accessible, with a few illustrations, the book delineates characteristics that teachers might look for when examining games, types of mathematics ideally suited for such an environment, and advantages that such a transformation might have, specifically a self-paced learning environment and motivation for reluctant learners. Devlin includes a collection of resources, both Web and print based, for those interested in further exploring the topic. … Highly recommended.
—S.T. Schroth, CHOICE, November 2011

Keith Devlin makes the case for embracing video games as not just an opportunity for teaching mathematics, but as an ideal medium for doing so. The opportunities gaming provides for learning mathematics are illustrated in great detail. … Devlin makes the case with care, repeatedly drawing on documented studies and educational principles.
—Bill Wood, MAA Reviews, September 2011

Keith Devlin is well qualified to explore these important questions. … Devlin makes the seemingly subtle but very important distinction between ‘doing Math’ and ‘being Math.’ … I hope that educational games designers use his ideas in crafting educational opportunities. And, in the meantime, teachers (and Math circle leaders) would do well to borrow some of the ideas of what works in the virtual worlds for their classrooms.
—Sol Lederman, Wild About Math blog, June 2011

Keith Devlin’s highly readable book sets the foundation for a new approach to learning mathematics where everyone can learn math and finally lose their math fears and phobias. The book is based on empirically well supported and lucidly explicated theories of learning, teaching, and gaming. It will become a classic.
—James Paul Gee, Mary Lou Fulton Presidential Professor of Literacy Studies, Arizona State University and author of What Video Games Have to Teach Us About Learning and Literacy

Keith Devlin’s latest book does a thorough job exploring the affordances that video games can provide to the teaching and learning of mathematics. He covers the current state of affairs and how games provide a great forum for math education.
—Drew Davidson, Director, Entertainment Technology Center, Carnegie Mellon University

Mathematics Education for a New Era connects Devlin’s deep understanding of mathematics education to the new research in digital-games-based learning to pave a path for re-energizing mathematics education.
—Kurt Squire, author of Video Games & Learning: Teaching and Participatory Culture in the Digital Age

Keith Devlin makes an engaging and persuasive argument that online computer games can be a great way to teach basic math skills. Educators and parents who think of video games as empty frivolities will be surprised at the significant educational potential lurking within these complex activities. Game designers can use this book as inspiration for creating new kinds of games that reward players not only with fun experiences and real math skills, but also the important knack of thinking like a mathematician (and liking it!).
—Andrew Glassner, author of Interactive Storytelling: Techniques for 21st Century Fiction

About the Author

Dr. Keith Devlin is a senior researcher and the executive director of the Human Sciences and Technologies Advanced Research Institute (HSTAR) at Stanford University. He is also a cofounder of the Stanford Media X research network and a regular contributor to NPR’s Weekend Edition Saturday. His current research focuses on the use of different media to teach and communicate mathematics to diverse audiences. He also works on the design of information/reasoning systems for intelligence analysis.

More About the Author

Dr. Keith Devlin is a mathematician at Stanford University in California. He is a co-founder and Executive Director of the university's H-STAR institute, a co-founder of the Stanford Media X research network, and a Senior Researcher at CSLI. He has written 31 books and over 80 published research articles. His books have been awarded the Pythagoras Prize and the Peano Prize, and his writing has earned him the Carl Sagan Award, and the Joint Policy Board for Mathematics Communications Award. In 2003, he was recognized by the California State Assembly for his "innovative work and longtime service in the field of mathematics and its relation to logic and linguistics." He is "the Math Guy" on National Public Radio. (Archived at

He is a World Economic Forum Fellow and a Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science. His current research is focused on the use of different media to teach and communicate mathematics to diverse audiences. He also works on the design of information/reasoning systems for intelligence analysis. Other research interests include: theory of information, models of reasoning, applications of mathematical techniques in the study of communication, and mathematical cognition.

He writes a monthly column for the Mathematical Association of America, "Devlin's Angle":

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12 of 12 people found the following review helpful By Toby Rowland on May 13, 2011
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
The use of games in K-12 math education is growing fast, and respected mathematician Keith Devlin uses this book to set out his vision of how this movement will grow and become more influential. I really enjoyed Devlin's accessible style, and appreciated his focus on 'Mathematical Thinking' rather than pure arithmetic, a common problem with the existing generation of math games. Devlin seems to play an awful lot of World of Warcraft, an online MMO, and this seems to influence a lot of his observations. My own belief is that casual math games, of the type provided by, are a more flexible medium for math education, and that combining an MMO with math could be an overwhelming task, with unreliable results. Devlin gives lots of interesting insights, although he sometimes relies overly on James Paul Gee's seemingly endless rules for education games. I enjoyed this book, and will look out for further publications from this author.
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9 of 10 people found the following review helpful By Mr. Henderson on May 13, 2011
Format: Paperback
With this book Keith Devlin manages to succinctly outline an idea that I have had since high school. In Math Ed for a new era, Devlin discusses how current math ed techniques fail to help students understand the place of math in the real world. Devlin argues that video games provide students with the opportunity use math in a somewhat corporeal setting and develop a conceptual understanding in conjunction with procedural fluency (doing math problems with ease).

For the most of the beginning, Devlin tries to give readers a conceptual understanding of why a math ed game would work. This, to me was not quite necessary as the points he made were mostly obvious. He discusses how games would give students the chance to practice and learn at their own pace and to see math in action in a form relevant to their lives. I think here his argument would have been strengthened with the incorporation of more neurological data on the effects of gaming. This point is very briefly touched upon but given the nature of the subject matter it probably should have received more attention.

He then moves into a discussion of how video games work and how one could be designed to develop math proficiency. Though, as a gamer, I found his explanations of gaming to be unnecessary, he makes a solid attempt at breaking ground for ideas to effectively incorporate math into a video game.

Towards the end he discusses how the American education system is broken and how we are being outperformed in third world countries (if you read many books on education you will understand the banality of the previous statements). However, he makes a very important point which is America is known for being the place where you gain success for thinking outside the box.
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