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Stanford education tech game wins design award

October 12, 2010
School of Education News
New iPhone game by LDT alums gives learners an intuitive sense of fractions.

CONTACT: Amy Yuen, Communications Manager, Stanford University School of Education, (650) 724-9440, 

COMMENT: Jacob Klein, Co-Founder, Motion Math, (917) 568-0176,

Motion Math

STANFORD, CA – Motion Math, the first learning game to fully leverage the tilt controls of Apple iDevices, has won an Editor’s Choice Award for Excellence in Design from Children’s Technology Review.

Newly launched by 2010 Stanford University School of Education graduates Gabriel Adauto and Jacob Klein, Motion Math teaches fractions by having players aim a bouncing star containing a fraction to its correct place on a number line. The game uses the iPhone’s sensitive accelerometer, motivating the player to practice estimating a fraction’s placement on the line within a limited number of bounces. 

 “This ‘virtual manipulative’ technique can bridge concrete and abstract,” writes Editor Warren Buckleitner in his review of Motion Math in the October 2010 issue of Children’s Technology Review. “[You] move your way toward a better understanding of numerical relationships, one bounce at a time.”

Adauto and Klein created Motion Math as graduate students in Stanford’s Learning Design and Technology master’s program. The pair had enrolled in “The Design of Technologies for Casual Learning,” a course taught by Stanford Education Professor (Teaching) Shelley Goldman last winter. The students wanted to investigate both the technical possibilities of using new mobile devices for learning as well as how to engage students in the notoriously difficult area of fractions.

“One half, 1/2, .5, and 50 percent all refer to the same amount, but to many students learning fractions, they’re only equally bewildering,” says Adauto. Klein added, “Research has shown both that fractions are crucial for more advanced math content, and that the ability to quickly estimate values on the number line correlates with later math achievement.”

With its use of the iDevice’s tilt function, Motion Math helps students master fractions by applying concepts in embodied cognition, a growing body of research that suggests that our understanding of even abstract concepts is deeply connected to the experience of our bodies. If a player is having trouble on a particular problem, increasingly helpful hints guide the player to the correct place on the number line.

“Motion Math provides a much-needed experience to bring the body more fully into mathematics learning,” says Roy Pea, professor of education and learning sciences at Stanford. 

An earlier prototype of the game reached the final round of the inaugural Cooney Center Prize for Innovations in Children’s Learning. The competition, held in July by The Joan Ganz Cooney Center at Sesame Workshop, recognizes innovations that embody the spirit of “Sesame Street” by leveraging emerging technology to support children’s learning.

Launched in early October on the Apple App Store, Motion Math is available for purchase for an introductory price of $0.99. To learn more and to see the game in action, visit

About Motion Math, Inc.
Motion Math creates movement-based learning games that give learners an intuitive sense of math. First conceived as a Master’s project at the Stanford School of Education, Motion Math is developing a full suite of movement-based learning games for mobile platforms. Their first game, Motion Math, a bouncing star fraction game for the iPhone, iPod Touch, and iPad, teaches students to perceive and estimate multiple representations of fractions.

About the Learning, Design and Technology Program

Established in 1997 at the Stanford University School of Education, the Learning, Design and Technology master's program prepares professionals who will bring powerful contemporary ideas about learning to the design of technology-based products, settings, and social arrangements for learning. The program provides students with an intensive year of study in the basics of learning, design and technology, including a yearlong internship and course work. Students who complete the one-year program earn the degree of Master of Arts in Education.


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