Gaming app helps make learning fun

Irfan Shah, 12, playing with Brainy Arkies, a a new mobile learning app by Marshall Cavendish Education aimed at pupils from Primary 1 to 4, consisting of a series of maths quizzes combined with a gaming quest.
Irfan Shah, 12, playing with Brainy Arkies, a a new mobile learning app by Marshall Cavendish Education aimed at pupils from Primary 1 to 4, consisting of a series of maths quizzes combined with a gaming quest.PHOTO: AZIZ HUSSIN FOR THE STRAITS TIMES

A new mobile gaming application that encourages children to learn through play was launched at an edutainment expo this month.

Marshall Cavendish Education, Singapore's household textbook brand whose materials have been used in more than 50 countries, teamed up with award-winning mobile game developer Kenneth Tan to come up with Brainy Arkies, a mobile game to supplement mathematics learning for primary school pupils.

Brainy Arkies is essentially a series of mathematics quizzes combined with a gaming quest meant for pupils from Primary 1 to 4. Inspired by games like Farmville, the animated app uses a game-based approach where users conquer obstacles in the form of quizzes to move on in their quest in the virtual world.

More than just fun and games, the app has over 12,000 questions that are aligned with the latest Ministry of Education primary mathematics syllabus.

"The education landscape is constantly evolving with the times. As a leading developer and provider of educational solutions, there is a need for us to innovate and develop new teaching methods that sustain the learning interest in the young minds of tomorrow," said Marshall Cavendish's head of publishing, Ms Lee Fei Chen.

The gaming app integrates adaptive learning, meaning that it diagnoses the child's mastery of topics and assessments can be selected according to the child's ability. Children with higher learning ability can attempt more challenging questions.

"Every child has his unique learning needs and aptitude. Brainy Arkies caters to the individual capabilities of each child and personalises his progress based on his learning curve, hence allowing him to learn comfortably at his own pace," Ms Lee added.

"With personalised learning, we are able to understand each and every student's strengths and weaknesses," said Mr Tan, who was consulted for the conceptualisation and creation of Brainy Arkies.

"The game evolves with the children and parents. It recommends questions and tutorials and helps the students improve dynamically. This is something possible only with today's technology," Mr Tan said. He added that Brainy Arkies has created a world the children can immerse themselves in.

Parents like Madam Mookmeen Khan said the app was a good way to lure her Primary 4 child into practising maths.

"My kid loves games. With the app he can do sums while playing so it does not seem boring for him."

Parents can monitor their children's progress by logging into a separate dashboard.

While users are given full access to all features for the first 14 days after download, they have to pay to subscribe for access to diagnostic reports, multimedia worked solutions, exam-format questions and e-learning content.

Subscription is available at $9.98 for one month, $41.98 for 6 months and $71.98 for a year.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on November 21, 2016, with the headline 'Gaming app helps make learning fun'. Print Edition | Subscribe