Gamification: Getting children to spend more time learning

By combining learning with gamification, we have increased the amount of time a child spends learning by 300%

At a company making educational games, finding ways to get children to learn more is part of the spirit of our company. And one of our tasks is to find new ways to make children motivated. If a child is very motivated and is having fun, it is more likely that the child learns something.

How could we do this?
In our English learning game Mingoville English, we had a traditional word seach game.
word-search1This game is a classic in language education, as it teaches children how to recognize foreign word amidst a grid of random letters, improving their word recognition skills. Our task was to increase the number of words the children recognize, by playing the game. The more time the children spend playing, the more words they are likely to recognize.

By adding these four elements, we managed to do it:

  • Points
  • Time limit
  • Levels
  • Lives

Points
One incentative is by giving out points. The faster a child manages to find a word, the more points is awarded. Besides giving the child the instant gratification of being awarded by doing well, the points also let the child compete with itself and others.

Time limit
The time limit pressures the child to perform, basically. The child will try to find as many words as possible, before the time finally run out. The time limit also ties in with the next element.

Levels
For every four words the child finds, the game becomes a little harder. The time the child has available grows shorter. During the first level, the child has 30 seconds per word, but this steadily decreases. In the end, the child only has a few seconds to find each word.

Lives
In the beginning of each game, the child starts with three lives. Every time the child fails to find a word within the time limit, they lose a life. Once all three lives has been spent, the game is over.
birdwordThe addition of these four elements has transformed the basic word search into a addictive game. Even parents playing the game are having fun, as the level progression, time pressure and constant battle for the high score makes for an enjoyable experience for all ages.

It is important to keep in mind that our goal with the game hasn’t changed. To train children in recognizing English words, giving them a better knowledge of the language. Nothing about the learning process has been compromised. However, by gamifying the exercise, we’ve been able to make it more approachable and make children spend up to 300% more time doing the exercise.
And by spending more time playing, the child spends more time learning. And that is the whole point of our vision.

Sir Ken Robinson on how Technology is Transforming Education

Renowned educationalist Sir Ken Robinson makes an interesting case for integrating technology into the heart of education .

In arguing the unique shift today’s digital age has brought to education, Sir Robinson highlights how technology in classroom “connects students not just with people in the classroom but with virtually anyone on the planet”.

“It’s an entirely new cultural proposition”, he asserts, “and it changes the game. Technology has changed the context of education.”

This means that effective education, or the expectation of effective education, in today’s world has to embrace possibilities to transcend borders and cultures because technology  has made it possible and ever easy to.

Our flagship elearning product, Mingoville English (http://mingoville.com) virtual world, was built with a foresight of this “borderless” education context even before digital education made its invasion into classrooms today.

In the fun Mingoville virtual world, children from all over the world can sign up and choose an avatar. Then within the virtual city of flamingos, challenge fellow flamingo friends from a different country to a variety games, quizzes and tasks as they complete their missions to learn English in Mingoville.

The virtual world also offers a “chat” function of an environment designed with maximum security, for kids to learn to make friends cross-culturally. What this does goes beyond learning English, to the understanding, at a tender age of as early as 6, how diverse and massive the world out there is.

It could be a trigger point for parents and teachers to probe a child to think and learn about the dynamism of today’s world. That alone could stretch the imagination and creative capacity of a child, which is essential and an absolute necessity to education. Feel free to share your thoughts on this.

Also check out our Mingoville English virtual world at www.mingoville.com.

Creativity in Education – How is Technology Transforming Education? on Adobe TV

Preschool triumphs in China

COPENHAGEN, 15 April, 2013 – We have knocked out the dominating Chinese panda education series app in the iPad App Store in China with our latest Preschool English app.

Starring baby Flamingo, Andrea, the animated and interactive Preschool English by Mingoville app was pre-launched 10 days ago just for the iPad. The versions for the iPhone and Android mobile devices will be available upon its full launch.

The app was quickly picked up by Apple, and awarded a new product feature spot in the China App Store in less than a week. It then gradually overtook the commanding presence of the panda in the education category and finished in pole last Sunday.

“Our developers have worked extremely hard to develop a quality, savvy and fun educational app for preschool kids, we are only pleased it has been so well received in a foreign market as massive as China”, said Mingoville CEO Stephan Stephensen.

Stephan added: “We knew from our success with our flagship product, Mingoville English virtual world, we have the right innovative formula and pedagogical approach to develop a winning digital educational product, and we will keep on creating.”

About Preschool English by Mingoville

Using native real voice actors and animation, kids will be on a mission to grow their vocabulary tree as they enhance their word recognition skills while playing the app.

For their tree to grow, kids will have to complete several “missions”, each comprising of 12-15 interactive games and over 500 words to give them a sturdy foundation to learn English especially as a Second Language.

Preschool English by Mingoville is at present free for download on iPad with in-app purchases but with the first mission made free-for-all to play.
Copy - No 1 in China

Mingoville Launches iPhone Application for more Fun English Learning

In my last blog post, I wrote about our focus on developing educational games to mobile phones. I wrote about the huge potential we see in the mobile phone as a learning device in school and at home. Now we have developed the first two iPhone applications that teaches kids English by playing English Sudoku and Word Search on the iPhone.

Kids’ Sudoku is the same as we have in Mingoville Virtual World – the kids have to find the right word by listening to the words and pick the one missing in the grid. The English words are repeated throughout the game and in the end of the game, it summons which English words the kid has learned. The repetition of words improves the kids English vocabulary. The English Sudoko for kids combines text, sounds and images for more fun English learning. There are different levels and many different games in the same game. Read the blog about the English Sudoku game in Mingoville and how it works here. Read more and download Kids’ Sudoku for the iPhone here.

Word search

Kids’ Word Search is also inspired by the Word Search we have in Mingoville Virtual World. In this game, the kids have to find the word pictured to the right in the grid horisontally, vertically or diagonally. The game is an exercise in spelling and recognizing words. This game also combines text, sounds and images which enhances the kids’ ability to remember the English words. It is played on time. The game has many levels each level with it’s own set of words to be learned. There are 68 English words which are chosen randomly for each game.

To download the two games, go to the Education category in the App Store and search for Mingoville Education.

We are very aware that most kids do not have an iPhone or an iPod Touch, however as it is right now iTunes is by far the easiest way to download mobile applications and it has the largest application store which is why we decided to start there. In the future, we will develop English games for other mobile phones as well so everybody gets a chance to learn English on the mobile phone. For now, parent, here is your opportunity – go download the Mingoville Kids Sudoku and the Mingoville Kids Word Search and let your kid learn English on the mobile phone. It only costs $1.

On Monday, Stephan gave an interview to Edukwest about our mobile focus and the trends he saw while attending the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona a couple of weeks ago. You can see and listen to the interview below.

[blip.tv ?posts_id=3271871&dest=-1]

Have fun with the new games for the mobile phone – they are excellent for entertaining the kids on the go as well as in class.

Have Fun While Learning English in the Mingoville MMOG – Part2

Greetings from Mingoville,

It is time to write an update on the progress of the Mingoville MMOEG (Massively Multiplayer Online Educational Game) that we recently announced about on our blog. We are going the full speed with building an exhilarating educational experience for kids who want to learn English as a second language (ESL) and have fun by playing exciting games.

Recently, we’ve been doing a lot of testing, the results of which we will share next time. Until then we wanted to show you some of the MMOG maps (drawings) to be found in the Mingoville Virtual World.

Cafe Map – this is where you are going to meet your buddies, start the conversation game, the racing game,  the fish game and much more.

cafe-mmo-mingoville

Airport Map – Here you can take tours, get ice-cream and water tour as well as stand at a table in groups and chat (launched by hitting the tables).

airport_mmo_map_mingoville

Station Map – There is a good public transportation system in Mingoville.

station_mmo_map_mingoville

Continue reading

Mingoville is Launching a Virtual World with Focus on English Learning for Children

Hello World,

Recently, we have received so many great comments about our Mingoville program. Thank you. You have no idea how exciting it is to hear your positive feedback. We are so happy you love using Mingoville to learn English.

We wanted to take this opportunity and share with you the exciting news we’ve kept a secret for the last couple of months. In the form of a virtual world, Mingoville is introducing a new English learning product for our young English learners – Mingoville Massively Multiplayer Online Game (MMOG). Internally, we call it MMOngoville.

MMOngoville (Universe)

There are three goals we want to achieve with MMongoville. Those are:

Massively Multiplayer Online Game - Mingoville Universe

  1. It has to be based on English Learning (as ESL) – Even though Mingoville is fun and entertaining, we still want to focus a great deal on education. Inside the Universe, there will be captivating games the main purpose of which is to educate through entertainment i.e. edutainment.
  2. It has to be built around Community – We will be highly rewarding collaboration and successful communication.
  3. We want to make MMongoville Addictive – As opposed to pure entertainment games out there our goal is to make the Universe where kids do not realize that they actually learn a new language by playing addictive, yet educational, games. We believe that it will be even more encouraging to parents and teachers.

The Mingoville Universe offers, but not limited to, the following maps:

Shop, Disco, School (Scool), Beach, Sport, Hospital, Pier, Deserted Island, Lady Butter, Nature, Station, Café, Airport and Goose Will.

Here are a couple of earlier drawings of Mingoville avatar. Of course they look much livelier now 😉

Mingoville Avatars

Children will love Mingoville avatars

We are going to post new drawings and other exciting things as the MMO gets ready for the launch in May.

We are so excited about it!

Stephan Stephensen

Mingoville team

Mingoville Partners With U.S. English in Providing Free English Lessons

Hello Mingovillers,

We are so happy to announce our partnership with U.S. English Foundation Inc., one of the largest US educational foundations that promotes the role of English language, helps disseminate information on English teaching methods, sponsors educational programs and so on.

Mingoville is made available to all kids residing in the US via the Foundation.

Mr. Mauro E. Mujica, who has been the Chairman/CEO since 1993, addresses a serious problem with people not being able to speak English in the US. Quoting Mr. Mujica “Mingoville provides English instruction at any time, virtually anywhere, removing some of the most commonly cited barriers to English learning. With Mingoville, the opportunity to learn English is just a click away, and through our special partnership, free. English learners will be able to practice their English skills and take advantage of hundreds of lessons and activities at their pace and on their time, putting English acquisition within reach.”

We hope that we at Mingoville make our contribution to solving problems at this level.

Stephan Stephensen

CEO