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The impact of Game Based Learning using tablets on primary school students’ motivation, engagement and achievement in learning Math

The impact of Game Based Learning using tablets on primary school students’ motivation, engagement and achievement in learning Mathematics

Saman Ishtiaq Malik

The goal of my thesis is to develop and deploy a game based app in a school-based environment and compare it with traditional teaching methods to assess its impact on student motivation, engagement and achievement towards learning.

Game based learning is an educational trend that is gaining popularity day by day because of the increased usage of tablets and technology. According to statistics (Flurry Analytics, 2013), mothers are most likely to use their smartphones and tablets for education and thus it becomes very important to figure out whether this form of learning meets the future learning needs and objectives as outlined by curriculums.

As a student of MS Innovative Technologies in Education and also working in a software house that makes games for education, I have a commitment for developing educational games as well as answering unanswered challenges about this emerging form of learning.

The educational app that I will develop will be based on a topic of Mathematics for primary school students and will be designed to run on hand held tablets. A constructivist theory of learning will be applied to let students learn via discovery-based methods to build important concepts. It would enable students to learn via a range of fun games that will engage and entertain them while they are involved in their exciting adventures.

Pakistan has always been struggling in developing a coherent formal education system. The current books that have been published by the various Educational Boards in Pakistan do not meet world quality standards for pedagogy and instructional content. They lack the ability to deliver concepts and are more focused towards memorization and rote learning. It becomes very necessary to redevelop the content and teaching methodologies for Mathematics, as it is a fundamental subject every individual should possess knowledge of. The use of technology can help in disrupting the current education system and provide ways of meaningful learning.

Pakistan is the only non-African country that has the highest shortfall of teachers on the list of countries in the Educational for All Global Monitoring Report (UNESCO, 2014). It is among the 21 countries facing an “extensive” learning crisis, based on a number of indices, such as enrolment, dropout rates, academic performance and literacy. Pakistan scores low in every index. The report also outlines that children in a low-fee private school outperform those that are enrolled in the top tier of government schools providing proof of the government’s crumbling educational infrastructure.

Other than the need of revising the curriculum content of our public educational system, there is a very big percentage of our population, which does not have the opportunity to go to school. Pakistan has almost 5.5 million children that are out of school, the second highest number in the world only after Nigeria (UNESCO, 2014). Thus there is a lack of sufficient learning material for them that would enable them to study on their own pace in these circumstances.

The limited educational budgets and resources make it evident that it is quite difficult to fulfill the growing demands for meeting the general standards of formal education that is, the school buildings, hiring teachers, training them and printing a large number of text books. In such a situation, the development of a tablet-based application will provide a solution that that gives access to updated content knowledge based on the students progress anywhere at any time.

The proposed project will span advantages to the entire education sector including teachers, parents and students. It will give an example of how quality education can be accessible anywhere and at any time. The total experience of learning inside and outside a classroom will be redefined.

The application developed will demonstrate interactive, individualized and customized learning for each learner. It will stimulate learning more effectively as the application will adapt according to the progress of the learner along with development of higher order thinking skills. The learner will be more capable of applying the concepts learnt in real world scenarios and thus significantly make improvements in their content knowledge.

For educators and teachers, it will illustrate how efficiencies during instruction can be increased as it will facilitate them and allow them more time for focusing on particular students when others are working independently. It will also provide a better hands-on environment and provide greater means of engagement. The software will also be able to provide an automatic means of assessment and deliver instant individual learner’s feedback to the students themselves, or parents and teachers.

Along with the advantages described above, this thesis would provide a better appreciation of the potential impact of game-based learning for school-aged learners, while emphasizing a number of unanswered research questions.

In a nutshell, the developed game based application would be used in schools and institutes worldwide for content delivery in Mathematics for primary school students. It could also be used by parents and teachers for monitoring student learning and progress or for revision of important concepts and self-learning at home.


  • UNESCO, 2014. EFA Education for All Global Monitoring Report. Paris, France
  • Flurry Analytics; random sample of 24,985 American-owned smartphones and tablets May 2013 data


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