We all know that mathematics education is in a sad state, and has been for a while. But not for a lack of effort. Reform after reform has promised to bring us out of the doldrums, but none have proven satisfactory. A (not so) new fad has (re-) surfaced in which mathematics instruction is being gamified, or turned into game-based learning. Will this produce different results?
In the late 1960's, Seymour Papert created Logo the Turtle in the hopes that he could place learners in an immersive environment in which they would learn mathematics in much the same way a learner would learn French by simply living in France. However, the results have been mixed on its effectiveness as a vehicle for learning mathematics.
Despite a lull in gamification and development of game-based learning strategies for mathematics education, the ubiquity of mobile devices and increased funding have intensified interest and efforts in using gaming and game elements to improve learning. Some recent results give us hope for success.