Math Game Prototyping Project

Digital game forms are increasingly used in educational contexts, and the potential of digital games to create significant learning impact is a huge growth area internationally. This project seeks to broker relationships in building game-driven learning tools to support math curricula in a network of interest across academic and private sector partners. As an approach for design research the design and development of games is recognized as offering a constructionist approach to creating new models for learning.

The objectives of this project are to formalize an existing relationship into a more closely framed collaboration and grant submission between project partners. The Math Games Project supports the start of an ongoing and larger research project. In interdisciplinary design teams, the students from OCAD U’s Game Design class were presented with the challenge of conceiving and developing a complete growth plan for virtual math games. The games would be built for mobile consoles (iPhone, Java-based phones) and for young students. The games considered the growing presence of technology in the educational environment and the potential to foster young students’ positive reception of math.

Project partners have committed resources in kind to this project e.g. JumpMath to provide subject expertise, content and context and pedagogic and cognitive expertise coming from The Hospital for Sick Kids (see below).


  • Build on existing expertise at OCAD for development of games and of mobile applications (iPhone, Java-based phones) through the collaboration between GamePlay Lab (Westecott)and Mobile Lab (Davila) at OCAD
  • Collaborate with University of Waterloo in researching user interaction with various game platforms, game play, and/or theming.
  • Engage broader base of partners in detailed scoping exercise.
  • The creation of an online resource of both relevant research and design material to seed future projects


  • Prototypes developed will be introduced to various elementary school classes.
  • Foster a working relationship with industry partners.
  • Feedback from the classes will be tracked by the Human Factors researchers at University of Waterloo.
  • Engage existing OCAD students in design process.

Background & Context

This funding will help the OCAD team collaborate and contribute to an interactive math pedagogy research initiative being developed with JumpMath (John Mighton).

This initiative seeks to find ways of creating engaging courses for students struggling with math in elementary school, high school and college as well as users outside of an educational context who wish to improve math skills. It involves a two-pronged approach that will translate existing curriculum, exercises, and workbooks developed by JumpMath as well as create new game modules that further a student's math learning outside of class time.

The project received early funding from the Corus Seed Grant, and will seek for continued funding from a variety of sources including SSHRC, NSERC and OCE.

Prototype Math Games

Images from OCAD U’s Game Design class
Image from OCAD U’s Game Design class
Tuesday, February 21, 2012 - 8:15pm


Digital holography has now grown to be a commercially available full-colour process. The state of the art facility for full-colour holograms that may now be printed as large as murals is situated in Toronto. The technology was developed in Canada.

The printing process begins as a series of digital files, typically derived from 3D computer graphics applications such as 3D Studio Max or Maya. Computer graphics production can be a labour-intensive, costly process when one wants to print a hologram of some pre-existing object, such as product shots or automobiles. This limitation greatly impedes the adoption of this technology as a viable medium for real world objects.

The R.A.I.L. (Real-world Acquisition & Image Liaison)  system is configurable for production using high-end digital photographic gear or high-definition & 4K cameras. The software will record living subjects and real objects with absolute precision, adjusting instantaneously for printer specifications. The optically encoded motors will be programmable and will “remember” pre-set compositions, providing exact camera-matched geometry for compositing real-world scenes with computer-generated imagery. This turn-key system can be used by professional photographers, holographers and others, around the world. Images can be FTPed from anywhere to the service bureau in Toronto for printing the next day.

In partnership with STM Holographics, the R.A.I.L. (Real-world Acquisition & Image Liaison) project saw the development of a new technology that enables easy, automated and low-cost capture of live subjects as 3D holographic images.




Portrait of Margaret Atwood made with the RAIL device. Margaret appears in a tropical forest holding a colourful parrot.
Wednesday, February 22, 2012 - 6:45pm
Lab Member: 
Michael Page
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