Angry Birds & Farmville: How They Help Students Score Better

Posted on May 29, 2012. Filed under: Technology | Tags: , |

Gamification, or using gaming techniques to explain concepts, is a happening trend among Indian students these days.


Eight-year-old Ashish Gupta, a third standard student, could never really understand what a fraction was. His mother asked him to play an online game on a site recommended by her friends on Facebook. Ashish, who logged on to classtopper.com, got a screen similar to the online game sites he visits and started working on a fractiongame.
A circle cut into half, with oneportion painted green, appeared and he was asked what fraction of the circle was coloured. Confused as he was, he clicked on the wrong answer. And just like on the Farmville and Angry Bird sites, his score started appearing on the right side of the page.
Ashish scrolled down to the explanation which read:”Count the number of equal parts. Count the number of green parts. One out of 2 equal parts is green. So, write one out of 2″. That wasvery easy for Ashish to understand. Very soon, he scored a decent 88%. He hadalso mastered the concept.
Gamification, or using gamingtechniques to explain concepts, is a happening trend among Indian students these days. It has been identified as among the Top-10 technology trends for 2012 by audit and consultancy firm Deloitte .
Classtopper. com, for one, has over 10,000 users logging in just a month after its launch in India. With digital games generating over $25 billion in sales worldwide in 2010, online content providers are wrapping educational material in the form of gamesso that students can learn, while having fun.
While some people dismiss gamification as a fad, neuroscientists are discovering more and more ways in which humans react to interactive design elements. They say such elements can trigger feel-good chemical reactions from human responses to a stimuli — increasing the reaction time, states the study ‘Future of Internet’ by Pew Research Centre .
Last week, two IIT-Mumbai alumni, Ashish Rangnekar and Ujjwal Gupta — co-founders of BenchPrep — brought out the first game-based GRE test preparation app for iPad, called GRE Score Quest, which can be downloaded free from App Store.
“As a student attempts a question, we tell them how many of their friends have got the same answer correct.We also compare the student’s performance with their peers around the world. These elements are similar to what you see in Angry Birds in Facebook ,” says Rangnekar.
“We create games using the educational content developed by publishers likeMcGraw Hill. For example, if amathematics chapter has a long list of theorems, we create a match-the-column game,” says Rangnekar.
Complex algorithms deployedin game-based platforms were traditionally used by high skill-assessment programmes like GREs.”Students who appear for GRE examinations have to go through different levels.
“There have been2 lakh visitors from India to Khan Academy sites,” says Sundar Subbarayan, School Implementations Lead, Khan Academy. Most of the downloads were from Delhi, Bangalore and Mumbai, in April.

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