All posts by Rick Gaston

I’ve been the Research and Project Manager at KCP Technologies since August, 2011. I coordinate the Data Games project here, focusing on development of online games and activities that improve students’ data analysis skills and mathematics understandings. I previously worked in public education as a high school mathematics and computer programming teacher in New Jersey, where I used the Geometer’s Sketchpad, and as a high school principal in Oakland. Long ago I was also a software developer at Bell Laboratories. I’ve had a lifelong interest in technology and games, and I’m passionate about exploring innovative ways we can use them to improve learning for all students.

Understanding Proportional Relationships with the Proximity Data Game

In the Fall as Middle School and Algebra 1 teachers look for activities to develop students’ understandings of proportional relationships, they may turn to measuring scale diagrams or using springs. One of KCP Technologies' new online Data Games called Proximity offers a new option for teachers to help students learn about proportional … Continue Reading ››

What’s the Appropriate Role for the Teacher when using Computer Games?

I had the privilege this year of participating in the CADRE Fellows Program of NSF's Community for Advancing Discovery Research in Education, and met a number of colleagues in the program whose projects, like our Data Games project, are exploring the classroom benefits of computer-game- or simulation-based-learning. (In this post, I’ll refer to technology-oriented … Continue Reading ››

Preparing Tomorrow’s Data Scientists Through Data Games

According to a recent Wall Street Journal article, "Big Data’s Problem: Little Talent," the technology industry faces a major dearth of employees with strong data analysis skills. The article quotes a 2011 study by McKinsey:
A significant constraint on realizing value from Big Data will be a shortage of talent, particularly of people with deep expertise … Continue Reading ››

“Data Games”—Getting the Math Right in Math Games

As a parent and math educator, I'm always on the lookout for high-quality, fun apps that help my sons and other young people develop their understanding of math. There are a large number of math games for mobile devices and PCs being churned out, and many articles being written in popular ed tech blogs and … Continue Reading ››