Math Games: 5 Takeaways from the Online Gaming Industry that Apply to EdTech
Posted by: Amanda Zeligs
Math Games, an Edmodo Connect app, recently topped EdSurge’s list for Best S’cool Tools of 2015. We had the pleasure of speaking with Bill Kara, CEO and co-founder of TeachMe, Math Games’ parent company.
Before creating Math Games, Bill and his partner found success in online gaming. They were drawn to the educational space because they felt digital advancement had largely overlooked educational products. With Math Games, Bill’s team combined practice and play to change the way students learn math. With over 1.1 million students answering 120 million questions in the last year, their approach has been a tremendous success!
Here are five lessons from the gaming sphere that Bill and his team applied to education (and generously shared with us):
- Focus on Accessibility: Bill and his team concentrated on making Math Games device-agnostic. This way, students could pick up a phone, tablet, or computer, and the games worked.
- Create Engaging Content: In the past, educational technology companies designed content that appealed to school and district decision-makers, i.e. digital versions of textbooks. But students don’t always find textbooks — the paper or the virtual kind — engaging. The Math Games designers took traditional math content and made it bubbly and interactive; colors and graphics can work wonders on a student’s perception of an app.
- Simplify Deployment: Classrooms encounter many barriers when trying to deploy technology, but with Math Games, students go to the website and are playing immediately. Partnering with Edmodo also simplified deployment. Edmodo Connect makes the setup process virtually instant and adds a level of protection to student data; schools feel safe and secure using the product. Math Games focuses on making the best math content possible, and leaves the student management to Edmodo: a win-win situation.
- Do One Thing, and Do It Well: Bill’s team had a clear understanding of where they fit in the educational space from the get-go. They wanted to be the global platform for where students practice math. Regardless of aptitude, as long as the students can answer a math question, they can use the product.
- Make your Kid Proud: Bill knows he’s got something good on his hands because his 6-year-old daughter approves. Not only is she practicing math above her grade level (and testing out new games), but she’s got her teacher and classmates on board, too!