PlatinuMath (PM) is a versatile suite of Web-based games that was designed for use both as professional development for middle school teachers and as a supplement to classroom instruction for middle school students. Research shows that many teachers are ill-prepared to incorporate technology or 21st century skills into their instructional methods, and many elementary and middle school teachers do not have a good understanding of STEM content. Our hypothesis is that if teachers participate in professional development activities that are delivered as online games they will become more comfortable implementing games in the classroom curriculum with their digitally savvy students. The PM professional development product is designed to strengthen the mathematics knowledge of middle school math teachers while immersing them to the benefits of educational gaming. With teacher commitment, this product can be successfully integrated into any middle school math curriculum as a supplement to classroom activities. Individual student and class progress available to the teacher from an easy to use dashboard provides the teacher with the real-time data required to differentiate and individualize classroom instruction.
PlatinuMath takes the form of a narrative-based adventure game with Steampunk art, a mystery narrative, 3D animation, and live video. The game suite includes both conceptual and procedural gaming activities and is built to align with the U.S. Common Core Standards for math. The Common Core key knowledge targets are delineated into implicit conceptual understandings and more explicit procedural skills through 23 mini-games. All mini-games are multi-leveled and carefully scaffolded into 6 levels of difficulty. A typical mini-game finds the story's heroine and her Steampunk robot companion cornered by ravenous zombies, and, to escape they must use mathematical reasoning. Additional video learning lessons provide more explicit explanations of the topics and can be accessed from the PlatinuMath interface after, during, or before gameplay.