Video Game Play, Mathematics, Spatial Skills, and Creativity—A Study of the Impact on Teacher Candidates

  • Janet Lynne TassellEmail author
  • Elena Novak
  • Mengjiao Wu
Part of the Mathematics Education in the Digital Era book series (MEDE, volume 10)


This chapter explores the relationships among video gaming, spatial skills and creativity in mathematics education. Specifically, it highlights the importance of spatial abilities for pre-service elementary teachers, and suggests video games as a teaching approach for potentially enhancing creativity, spatial abilities, and mathematics performance. We argue that spatial abilities deserve more attention in mathematics education, as a major predictor of achievements in science, technology, engineering, and mathematical fields. To support this notion, we describe an experimental study that examined the effects of playing the Angry Birds and Action Video recreational video games on education majors’ math problem-solving and perceptions, math anxiety, working memory, and spatial skills. Individuals with high spatial abilities had significantly higher confidence in learning mathematics, ACT mathematics, science, composite scores, as well as geometry, word, and non-word math problem solving than individuals with low spatial abilities. In addition, students with low spatial abilities had significantly higher math anxiety. After ten hours of playing, both video game intervention groups significantly improved their spatial skills, working memory, and geometry performance from pre- to post-test. These findings suggest potential impact of video gaming in mathematics education and open new horizons for future research that explores how schools and homes working together with strategic gaming plans can help students improve their spatial reasoning and problem solving. The chapter concludes with future research suggestions on spatial abilities and creativity in mathematics education.


Action video games Mathematics education Spatial skills Creativity Preservice education 


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Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing AG, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Janet Lynne Tassell
    • 1
    Email author
  • Elena Novak
    • 2
  • Mengjiao Wu
    • 2
  1. 1.Western Kentucky UniversityBowling GreenUSA
  2. 2.Kent State UniversityKentUSA

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