Of Math and Madness
We are extremely humbled to announce that Zapzapmath was recently featured on Apple’s School Toolkit feature, under the “Math Madness” section. Check it out on the iTunes play store, if you haven’t already, and while you’re at it, give Zapzapmath a shot! Hearing the term “madness” being used in conjunction with our app makes us extremely happy, and we’ve always wanted to share the method behind that madness, which all started back in 2015 when our app was still in its developmental stages. It may sound strange but we think it is the madness that has helped us so far. It has kept us on our toes and reminds us that we must not only strive to think about the box, but sometimes forget that a box exists in the first place.
Yes, it’s times like these we can’t help but reminisce about where it all began for us. 2015 was not too long ago, but so much has happened since we first launched our app. As for our origin story, believe it or not, it all started with a little boy and his wild imagination. Well, kind of. You see, the boy in question is in fact the figment of artist Bill Watterson’s imagination. Yes, we’re talking about Calvin, the human half of Calvin and Hobbes, a fictitious imp of a child whose adventures many people enjoyed experiencing via daily comics.You must be wondering how on Earth we connected Calvin to Math? That has a pretty cool origin story too, if we may say so ourselves. When Zapzapmath was in its infancy, it was just three people at the forefront. If DC’s Justice League has Superman, Batman and Wonder Woman, Zap Zap had our own equivalent at the time, with Wei Chong, Ming and Joann. Each had their own strengths that helped develop Zap Zap Math and build it into the game you see today!
Wei Chong had a foundation in teaching math, which was extremely important to our concept. Ming, a UX Specialist and Designer , helped to visualize and polish the characters you see in the game. Joann was the lead content creator, who shaped the storyline and was the one was inspired by a Calvin and Hobbes comic, that eventually led to the formation of Zapzapmath as you know it now. While trying to brainstorm for a relatable metaphor to illustrate how challenging math can be to kids, Joann referenced a particular comic strip where Calvin zoned out during class, and began to imagine himself as the brave intergalactic voyager, Spaceman Spiff. His teacher hilariously became a creepy alien, of course. Check out the comic that inspired Zapzapmath’s founders, below!
Having Calvin’s fantasy adventures serving as motivation, Team Zap Zap set out to create an app that featured a weird and wonderful world of aliens and strange new planets, with a character called Zapion leading the way into a universe of math. This was a total transformation for Zapzapmath, as the initial concept was to have a simple and minimalistic app set up, with plain math games and perhaps some interactive worksheets. Today, our app is something we hope will engage, entertain and educate kids simultaneously. We’ve learned from Zap Zap Math that deviations aren’t always a bad thing, in our case, it helps to create a supplement to the more traditional ways of learning with textbooks, for example.
Continuing The Madness
Once again, we come back to the “madness” of it all. It’s become a tradition we’d like to continue here for Team Zap Zap, encouraging ideas and concepts that are cool, creative and yes perhaps even crazy! If it’s done for the greater good, we say it’s worth a shot. And education certainly is an important area to explore new and innovative ways, to keep kids interested and engaged. We try to ensure we take our mad ideals and turn them into tangible benefits. Looking back on some of the mad concepts we’ve had brings back a lot of memories. For one, Wei Chong himself worked as a solo entrepreneur for seven years, building up to the concept of Zap Zap as it stands today. No easy feat for sure! And when the app needed new testers, Wei Chong and Ming personally walked miles to find a school and get a teacher to try out the app. As far as the future is concerned, we have no plans of halting the madness too. In fact, we strive to create up to 840 games for K-12!
Being Different Is Cool
And when we’re not being inspired by little Calvin, we also look up to Apple, the ultimate proponents of thinking differently. So we’ll leave you with these wonderful words made famous in Apple’s Think Different campaigns. Here’s to the crazy ones…