Educational Gaming

Hawaii Schools Adopting Gaming for Supplemental Learning

Hawaii's Nanakuli-Waianae Complex Area in Kapolei is bringing educational gaming to students and teachers in grades 3–10.

All students in grades 3–10 and their teachers will have access to DimensionU, an educational gaming platform for math and language arts. The program, which is being implemented to augment math and English/language arts instruction, is available to them through their schools and in their homes.

Nanakuli–Waianae, which encompasses nine individual schools, is one of two "Complex Areas" operating within Hawaii's single, statewide school system. The complexes were created as "Zones of School Innovation" within the state to provide flexibility and opportunities for investment in schools that had previously been performing below other schools in the state. The creation of the zones was part of the state's Race to the Top application. According to the United States Department of Education, since the formation of the zones, eight of the 18 impacted schools "have now met performance targets and, in more than half, student growth is outpacing State averages in both reading and mathematics. Statewide, Hawaii public schools have narrowed the achievement gap by 12 percent, and on-time graduation has increased by seven percent."

Investments in the zones include teacher incentives, technology improvements, the additional of mental health counseling and other programs.

"I am really impressed with how DimensionU helps to support the implementation of common core instruction and how engaged students are when using the program," said Ann Mahi, superintendent of the Nanakuli-Waianae Complex Area, in a prepared statement. "It is a great addition to our digital curriculum efforts and allows our schools to continue leveraging the recent technology investment in our school community."

"We have seen many positive outcomes in student achievement and academic engagement from our other implementations in Hawaii, and we look forward to recognizing the same here," said Steven Hoy, CEO of DimensionU, also in a prepared statement. "Students and educators in Hawaii have embraced the concept of competitive educational gaming as a means of engaging students and reinforcing the concepts taught by the teacher. We look forward to including Nanakuli-Waianae schools in our annual Hawaii Math Games Tournament in the spring of 2015."

Nanakuli-Waianae Complex Area serves students in six elementary schools, one intermediate school, one combination intermediate-high school and one high school.

About the Author

David Nagel is editorial director of 1105 Media's Education Technology Group and editor-in-chief of THE Journal and STEAM Universe. A 25-year publishing veteran, Nagel has led or contributed to dozens of technology, art and business publications.

He can be reached at [email protected]. You can also connect with him on LinkedIn at or follow him on Twitter at @THEJournalDave (K-12) or @CampusTechDave (higher education).

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