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New Mexico State University

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NMSU'S Educational Research Center receives $1.2 million grant

New Mexico State University's Educational Research Center has received a $1.2 million grant to participate in a project aimed at improving math scores among middle school students.

dle School Achievement through Technology-Rich Interventions, or MATRIX, project integrates games and other technological resources such as iPods, PDAs, video cameras and other mobile technologies into the learning process. MATRIX is part of a $15 million federal grant led by The Ohio State University and the University of Kansas.

NMSU will concentrate on the development, assessment and evaluation of handheld units and games relating to math, through the Learning Games Initiative.

"Kids learn most through interactive media," said Karin Wiburg, associate dean for research in the NMSU College of Education. "We want to develop learning games that are going to bring together their educational environment and their recreational environments."

Wiburg said project leaders want to concentrate on schools struggling to meet their annual yearly progress scores required by the federal No Child Left Behind Act.

"We want to find out how games can reach kids who aren't learning," Wiburg said. "I think it's a mistake for schools to ignore using the technology that kids love, like iPods."

Key players in the Learning Games Initiative are Agricultural Communications in the College of Agriculture and Home Economics, the NASA MU-SPIN Digital Media Lab in the College of Education and the Department of Mathematical Sciences in the College of Arts and Sciences.