Gaming is an exciting world which is merging with education to toss up some interesting results. The gamification of learning uses game mechanics to make the process of learning fun and possibly more effective.
A startup of Venture Factory by i2india, i2Play is India’s first massively multiplayer online game (MMOG) platform with learning designed for children. The over two-year-old i2Play has now launched Spicetoons, an online multiplayer virtual world targeting children in the age group of six and 12 years. The virtual world is based on the ‘gamification of learning’ and has New York University, Michigan State University, and Imperial College as its knowledge partners.
Through gamification, Spicetoons engages its young users in immersive activities – exposing them to academic knowledge and social skills – all in a day’s play in the virtual world. Learning on Spicetoons is a sharp departure from the rote method, commonly prevalent in India. Spicetoons supplements the traditional education system by providing children with experiential learning.
The challenge and the solution
The team at i2Play and Venture Factory wanted to make learning fun and take it beyond plain academic learning by weaving in teamwork, collaboration, and leadership. Spicetoons has activities like underwater conquests, word building, math puzzles, treasure hunts and more for young players to take a shot at with the help of the community on the platform and earn points.
Initially, i2play’s team started with a space-themed world which constrained their storyline. However, soon they zeroed in on a more exciting idea which led to the development of Spicetoons as it is today. They built an entirely new concept in a span of just 15 months whereas most MMOGs take over two years to develop. Every detail -- design, characters and plot -- has been tested and researched by the in-house team with focus groups consisting children, parents, and teachers.
On February 15 this year, Spicetoons was rolled out. The team made up of three broad departments – game design, technology development, and art -- is a young team with skill and passion for gaming; be it design or digital product development, and is drawn from top schools like IIT, NIT, and NID.
Being an MMOG for children, Spicetoons is designed to motivate its young users to access experiential learning, and also to keep them safe while interacting with other players in the virtual world. Spicetoons complies with the Children's Online Privacy Protection Act (COPPA) of USA, which sets extremely high standards for the protection of children and their information on Internet.
Charting the path
Although Spicetoons is a first mover in the industry, Britannia showed passion and support for the concept and the product. With backing from Britannia Jim Jam, Spicetoons was launched in February this year, and has since displayed a high engagement quotient: it has a returning user base of over 500 players per day. In just five and a half weeks, they have got 25,000 unique users on board and hope to multiply by six times over in the next 15 months. At present, the platform can only be used through the PC, but support applications and a mobile platform are in the works.
Spicetoons wants the platform to be free for all children. They are hoping to generate a revenue stream by building a retail experience around Spicetoons that will include merchandise and books. Its user experience has won the team the FICCI BAF award for this year within four weeks of the product being released.
Parents gear up for repeated requests from the kids to solve a particular math puzzle or try out a virtual scrabble experience with friends online.