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Maths Apps: The Pros and Cons of Gamified Learning

As the EdTech market continues to grow, with a projected value of over 230 billion U.S. dollars by 2028, it’s no surprise that more and more parents and educators are turning to innovative ways to teach maths, including gamified learning through maths apps. While these apps offer a range of benefits, it’s crucial to understand their limitations and to find credible sources for evaluating their effectiveness.




What is Gamified Learning?

While the gamification of education started in the 1980s, gamified learning has soared into the mainstream in the past decade or so with the accessibility of apps. 

Gamified learning is a method of education that utilises game-like elements, such as rewards and competition, to engage and motivate learners. This approach to education is designed to make learning more interactive, entertaining, and memorable for children. By incorporating elements of play into learning, children are more likely to stay focused and motivated, leading to better understanding and retention of information.
In gamified learning, children earn points, receive feedback, and progress through levels, making education feel like a game. This helps to make learning feel less like a chore and more like a fun and exciting adventure.
From the tried and tested theory, we know that when done well, gamified learning works well. Also from research, we know that when children are in a playful state of mind, their capacity for learning is elevated.

With ever-evolving new methods for maths learning, parents and educators alike turn to innovative ways to teach maths. Learning landscapes are now evolving as rapidly as digitisation. 


DID YOU KNOW: Only one of the top 25 apps listed on app stores had been formally evaluated to see whether it had any impact on children’s learning.



The Benefits of Maths Apps for Children’s Learning

Maths apps are convenient – they can be downloaded on devices at all times, making them easily accessible to children from anywhere and at any time. Children can learn at their own pace rather than struggling to keep up with the class and losing time to complete activities. 

Researchers from UCL analysed over 70 maths apps from the past three years, including the top 25 highest rated apps. They found that 90% of the apps had some benefits for improving children’s mathematics learning and development.

The researchers found that maths apps which provide a personalised learning journey were particularly beneficial for maximising learning. These apps tell children when they’re right or wrong, track their progress, and reward their achievements.




The Limitations of Maths Apps

On the wary other hand, the same UCL researchers found that the top maths apps do not reflect best practices for how children learn and develop their early learning skills. 

Only one of the top 25 apps listed on app stores had been formally evaluated to see whether it had any impact on children’s learning.

There are other numerous studies that demonstrate that just because games are played on interactive devices, doesn’t mean the learning is interactive itself. Most of the early years’ maths apps focus solely on simply counting and numbers.

Some other evidence from the UK government suggests that teachers at 1 in 4 schools lack the confidence to use new technologies. With such busy schedules, teachers (and parents!) themselves may not have enough time to discern which apps are truly effective.


Finding Credible Sources for Maths Apps

To address these concerns, the Good Play Guide was created to take the guesswork out of finding credible maths apps. The guide reviews toys, apps, learning resources, and baby products and is endorsed by experts, making it an excellent resource for parents and teachers.

In conclusion, maths apps offer a range of benefits for children’s learning and development, but it’s important to understand their limitations and find credible sources for evaluation. By using resources like the Good Play Guide, parents, and educators can make informed decisions about incorporating maths apps into their children’s learning journey.