Faculty Advisor or Committee Member

Erin R. Ottmar, Advisor

Faculty Advisor or Committee Member

Erin Ottmar, Committee Member

Faculty Advisor or Committee Member

Neil T. Heffernan III, Committee Member

Faculty Advisor or Committee Member

Ivon Arroyo, Committee Member

Faculty Advisor or Committee Member

David Landy, Committee Member




As technology becomes more integrated in the classroom, more research is needed to examine its effects on engagement and learning. It is important that we fully explore how students interact with learning technologies and the affordances that these technologies bring to improve engagement and student learning. In this dissertation, I explored the benefits and drawbacks of using dynamic technology in the classroom as an instructional system, support structure, and assessment tool. Iterative design cycles were used to improve the accessibility and user experience of several dynamic technologies in the classroom. Additionally, the incorporation of gamified elements such as points and leaderboards were explored. Preliminary data suggests that gamified elements could lead to higher engagement and elicit behaviors associated with learning. As a result, a series of 4 randomized controlled trials were conducted that explored the intersection of gamification, engagement, and learning. This dissertation is a compilation of those studies with a focus on the development and improvement of learning platforms through an iterative design process and the incorporation of gamified elements. Based on the findings and implications of these studies, several new technologies were designed, developed, and implemented to include these gamification techniques and provide data for both educators and researchers. Recommendations for potential usage and future research are discussed.


Worcester Polytechnic Institute

Degree Name



Learning Sciences and Technologies

Project Type


Date Accepted





dynamic technology, gamification, math education, games for learning, educational technology