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The importance of gamification in helping children to learn

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The past year has been stressful, particularly for children who may feel like they are behind on their studies. Parents may be looking for creative ways to keep their children on top of their schoolwork and using alternative ways to help keep them engaged.

Maths can be particularly difficult for some, in fact studies show that 25% of people have trouble mastering the subject. This is why incorporating it into daily life in bite sized chunks can be hugely beneficial.

Javier Arroyo, Co-founder of maths home learning platform Smartick, agrees. He said:

“The events of the past year have meant that keeping children entertained and engaged with learning has been an extremely difficult task for many. Our education experts have found that, gamification, or put simply, turning learning activities into games can be a great way to keep children interested.

“Using seasons or exciting activities can also be brilliant in encouraging children to do maths in their everyday lives. Take strawberry picking for example, simple fun activities such as this can be easily turned into a game with the addition of maths. For every strawberry your child picks, why not ask them a simple maths question? When the basket is full, and all the questions are answered, you can reward them with an extra treat. Or why not get them to help with the cooking and weighing out of ingredients. Integrating maths into fun games like this takes the pressure off learning and allows children to be children.

“It can be difficult coming up with new and creative ways to keep your children engaged, and it’s for this reason that our platform takes the burden away from parents. The daily 15-minute lessons are tailored to each pupil to help them develop skills in maths, reasoning and logic. By allowing children to see the fun side of maths, learning can really be made exciting.”

Smartick is an innovative program that enables children aged four-to-14 brush up on their maths skills with bespoke online training especially designed to suit each individual’s needs and ability. It specialises in maths and coding and is able to improve children’s academic results with just 15 minutes of learning a day.

The Smartick method is so special as no two people will have the same learning sessions. That’s because it uses a complex AI system to create a unique learning programme for each individual based on their academic level in real time.

While this may sound great for parents and teachers, what makes it even more appealing to children is that following their 15 minutes of learning, they are then rewarded with gems, ticks and stars for completing their daily sessions as well as based on how well they answered their maths questions.

They can then pick an avatar and enter a virtual world to play games, learn further, hang out with their friends in virtual treehouses and spend their stars, ticks and gems on new outfits and accessories for their character.

Javier said: “We developed the program by working with education experts from around the world. Smartick helps kids solidify their maths foundation by identifying learning gaps and areas that need improvement. Only when they have mastered the focus area are they able to move on to the next step of learning.”

He added: “We believe that just 15 minutes is all it takes to keep children’s attention. Data also suggests this repetitive time frame is much more sustainable than say, a two-hour maths session once a week. And, by being rewarded by entering the virtual world it gives children the motivation to complete their learning each day. If they don’t, the virtual world remains locked.”

Each task has a focus including memory skills, critical thinking, logic, reasoning and problem solving. Parents are able to be kept up to date on their child’s learning via a dashboard where they can view how well they’ve been doing with a breakdown of each question. For areas that need improvement there is also an online portal full of tutorials that parents can also go through with the child should they wish.

Dr Barbara Oakley, renowned education expert, also backs the program. She said:

“Smartick is an intelligent, sophisticated programme which individually targets each student’s own needs to excel. It’s a really nice gamified way to get the foundations you need in mathematics.

“The things I really like about it is that it is rigorously research based and allows students to progress as the speed that they should be progressing at. It’s not this one size fits all approach that we often see in education.”

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