Challenge of Designing Educational Games

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“If I have seen further it is by standing on the shoulders of Giants.” Isaac Newton

Isaac Newton, one of the greatest Mathematicians and Scientists of all time, understood that reaching further, and pushing the limit of our science and understanding, can only be possible by leaning on other great people’s work and knowledge.

To achieve our ambitious goal of creating the best educational math platform, we are using this principle – we are creating our game and content around the latest research in the field of education and game design. By encouraging feedback from educators, teachers, parents and students, we will be able to refine Zap Zap Math and push the limits of educational games.

Designing and developing fun games is challenging by default. When you try to create a fun and educational game that appeals to kids while teaching them something as meaningful and as important as Mathematics, the magnitude of the challenge is multiplied. A lot of factors need to be considered while developing our game.

We need to think about Teachers and the way they want to use our app and receive information about their students and how they may want to evaluate them. We need to think about Parents, who want to be informed about their children’s progress in Mathematics. Last, but not least, we need to think about  Students and Kids as our real target audience. These kids  must enjoy our game while learning Math at their own pace and with their own unique style of learning.

Steps for designing educational games

There are many ways in which we tackle these challenges. But the method we choose to practice is to designing our games based on learning principles (“ Learning Principles in Video Games” by James Paul Gee) and playtesting them very quickly. Briefly, how this works is:

  1. we create various paper prototypes in 1-2 days
  2. after testing early refinement, we finalize the mechanic
  3. we create a GDD(Game Design Document) and from this, we develop the video game prototype within 2 weeks.

After the 2 weeks of production, we test our game again with more people, receive feedback with a broader range of perspectives. From all this, we polish and refine our game for another 2 weeks until it becomes another level in our beta version.

Although the task is big, we can pull it off. I believe this because our team is fortunate enough to have 2 former school math teachers who have years of experience working our primary target audience. So as our team grows, and our platform develops, we will keep you informed.

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