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Numbeat is a game designed to improve children’s mathematics skills, according to principles of learning identified in university research. Numbeat has over a hundred levels, and five worlds, each with a different set of interacting characters that move around the screen. The game requires players to use their arithmetic knowledge quickly in order to defeat the bad characters before they take over the good characters. The difficulty of the game increases gradually with each successive level, facilitating the development of automatic maths skills. University research has demonstrated the game increases the speed of a child’s general mathematics performance.

The nature of Numbeat is unique in the world of educational maths games. Where most other maths games separate the fun from the maths, sending a misleading message to children acquiring numeracy skills, in Numbeat the maths and game elements are fully integrated. In addition, the game is more than just basic arithmetic problems dressed up in colours and sounds. Indeed the game does not even utilise standard arithmetic format – a feature that assists those at risk of developing a maths phobia. The basic principle of the Numbeat game requires the player to mentally perform several arithmetic operations to solve each challenge in a manner that reflects the real-life application of arithmetic. In this way, the player practices the application of arithmetic facts and gradually develops the ability to apply these skills in a faster manner. According to the principles of skill acquisition identified by the creator of Numbeat (Speelman & Kirsner, 2005), this feature facilitates the building up of numeracy skills. Trials of Numbeat in several primary schools have demonstrated that most children can solve standard arithmetic problems faster after having played Numbeat for as little as a few hours (Speelman, 2013).

Speelman, C.P. & Kirsner, K. (2005) Beyond the learning curve: The construction of mind. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

Speelman, C.P. (2013). A test of a computer game designed to facilitate the acquisition of arithmetic skills. In Speelman, C.P. (Ed.). Enhancing human performance. Newcastle Upon Tyne: Cambridge Scholars Publishing.

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