apptEDUde wanted to develop an app to remedy holiday learning loss for primary school students in the areas of science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM). In addition to a fun medium through which to deliver curriculum content, the app would ideally include rich social learning features that would involve parents in the learning process, facilitate team challenges and celebrate achievements in a safe environment.
Together with apptEDUde, we developed STEM Explorer, the only single app to teach science, maths and related subjects for children aged 5 to 9 that is tied to the Australian curriculum. Players join an adventure around Australia as they solve maths and science challenges in their hunt for the scattered parts of a friendly alien’s spaceship. Completing these challenges results in players earning in-game currency, which they can use to purchase personalised virtual goods (clothing, accessories, tools, weapons).
While most games use a 'drill and kill' approach to deliver blocks of questions on a particular subject, 2and2 built the app on the Cogniss platform, which instead optimises and delivers personalised content and feedback. Questions in STEM Explorer are mixed up using a technique called interleaving, a proven way to boost learning. In addition, more challenging questions are served based on the speed and accuracy of players' answers.
STEM Explorer also uses Cogniss Insights, a powerful analytics tool allowing parents and teachers to easily track and participate in their child or student's learning. Details on content to be covered, topics completed, answers attempted, quiz results, time taken and more are available at the click of a button, providing a deep understanding of what the player excels at, and where they might need help.
With eight fun game mechanics and hours of gameplay tied to a single overarching quest, STEM Explorer helps children stay engaged with learning for longer periods of time, ensuring they're school-ready from day one. The app has been downloaded 4,400 times with minimal promotion, to positive feedback from parents and children. A US version of the app was released in mid-2017. As more data on the app’s impact on learning is collected, the next step will be determining how best to scale the software to encompass all primary school stages.