Eight students from five different US states (including Texas, New York, New Jersey, Michigan and Pennsylvania), have become finalists in a worldwide competition to develop a new computer game, held by award winning edtech firm Quizalize, that will help 1.5 million children globally master school subjects.
The children, aged between 9 and 16, beat off thousands of entries nationally and worldwide from 12 different US states and eight countries to create an interactive game that will make formative assessments more fun and engaging for children but also more useful and informative for teachers. Entries include a Monster Catcher game where students tame monsters by answering correct questions.
If a question is answered incorrectly, the monster attacks. Another is inspired by a UFO attack; children must answer assessment questions correctly otherwise their avatar gets beamed up and abducted by an alien spacecraft that hovers over the entrance of a safe house. A judge’s favourite also includes Diversity Hospital – a game developed on coding website Scratch – which entails navigating an artery or vein safely while dodging nasty viruses and germs.
CEO Charles Wiles, who has a doctorate in robotics and artificial intelligence, was himself a teen gamer and programmer when he created and coded his first ever computer game at the age of 13 – a 3D golf game on a BBC Micro computer – is a firm believer that children are best placed to advise and create games that will be most engaging to children, and that this can be transposed into an interactive tool that will help them enjoy subjects at school better and therefore learn more effectively.
The winning game idea will yield a cash prize for both the winning student and the school, and the game idea will be produced by the technical team at Quizalize. The new game will complement the existing game formats already used – these include a basketball game and a race to the top of the flag.
Wiles commented: “Creating a game involves a wide range of skills, and coding is just a part of a wider process,” commented Charles Wiles, creator Quizalize. “It all starts off with a simple idea, which can be drawn and mapped out like a piece of art. Game play is such an innate part of a child, and when they have the confidence, they are not afraid to let their imaginations run wild.”
“Gamification techniques and reward and recognition systems make the whole learning process more engaging and fun. Its functionality speaks in the language that children understand: gameplay, colour, interactivity and friendly competition,” he continued.
Finalists’ entries for the Quizalize Design A Game competition are now subject to public voting, with entries viewable on the Quizalize blog. The entries with the most votes will be subject to a final judging process before the winner is announced in June. Voting closes this week.
Using Quizalize in school entails teachers setting up quiz assignments in class – either by creating their own quizzes or by selecting one of over 150 curriculum-mapped quizzes available on the Zzish marketplace – to activate the game. Class teams and individuals can play against the computer (TEAM VS. COMPUTER).
As pupils undertake the assessment, they may score points (or successfully slam dunk a ball if they are playing the basket ball game) while a scoreboard keeps a tally of the progress. Meanwhile, teachers are able to gauge progress and identify learning gaps in real time while the children play because of the platform’s teacher dashboard. This gives multiple views and performance breakdowns on both a class and individual basis using simple bar charts and colourful leaderboards – from general tests to analysis of aptitudes on single questions. Teachers get assessments of the students in real-time so they don't need to print or download anything if they don't want to. All the data is safe in the cloud.
The technology itself is part of the real time formative assessment movement - a new generation of edtech that is programmed to improve memorisation and mastery of core curricular subjects. It has been proven to work and improve assessment scores by 10% in six months in a group of grade 6 science students in the US.
Today, 110,000 teachers and 1.5 million students currently use it. Quizalize was a finalist in the Teach Secondary’s Technology & Innovation Awards 2016 for its role in improving standards of teaching and learning at Key Stages 3 and 4 during the 2015/16 academic year. It is also a finalist in last year’s E-Assessment Awards for Best Use Of Formative Assessment.
For more information about the competition, and to pledge your vote for the entries of your choice, visit Quizalize’s blog https://www.quizalize.com/blog/vote-row/