Wed | Aug 16, 2017

Techno-Tools for Teachers: Games that educate

Published:Sunday | May 28, 2017 | 5:03 AMGen Clacken

Many teachers and parents bemoan the potential of modern technology that distracts students. In the past, it was the television that was accused of turning our children's brains to mush. Today, it is the games they play on mobile and hand-held devices or their interactions on social media.

Despite these reservations, the gaming industry has seen phenomenal growth in the last few years partly due to the growing number of younger audiences gaining access to smart devices. There are many games that a child can play on a smartphone today, many of which, research indicates, are addictive and not beneficial beyond their entertainment value.

This, however, is not the case with Elevate, which is a brain-building game for children and adults alike.

WHAT IS ELEVATE?

Geared at students 11 years and older, Elevate is a mobile application focused on the development of cognitive skills through the use of gaming principles and techniques. This tool uses games to aid the development of speaking, listening, reading, writing, memory, and mathematics skills among its players. Created on the principles of brain-based learning, the app is easy to use, visually appealing, tiered in difficulty, and keeps track of the progress of each player.

HOW DO YOU ACCESS IT?

Elevate has more than 10 million users and can be downloaded from the Apple Store and Google Play Store. After the app is installed on your device, you will be required to use an email address to set up your account. It is advised that parents assist younger students with this step. Once the account has been set up, you will be prompted to answer some diagnostic questions in order for the app to develop a personalised training programme that focuses on areas you want to see improved. After your profile has been created, you are ready to play the more than 40 games available on the platform.

HOW DO YOU USE IT?

The Elevate app is very easy to use. Games, called training sessions, are provided daily, and each player is given three to five games focusing on any of the areas identified during the creating of the personal profile. These daily training sessions (or games) last only a few minutes and include short quizzes and activities aimed at improving skills such as speed and accuracy in calculation, information processing, diction, and eloquence.

There are also games that focus on improving concentration while listening as well as error avoidance in writing, to name a few.

When you have completed your daily training session, you are granted access to relevant study materials to further hone your skills, and you can use the application's data analytics to track your own progress.

Each game is scored so that you can amass scores as you progress through each level of each skill.

WHY SHOULD YOU USE IT?

Elevate is a great way to engage students of any age and to build brain capacity through cognitive development. An independent study conducted by Elevate states that with continuous use of the application, 69 per cent of its users experienced performance improvement in four or more key skill areas.

Teachers and parents are using the app to reinforce learning in the language arts and to address mathematics skills gaps in weaker students. Where resources are available, classroom teachers have used this application to introduce lessons, to prepare learners for instruction, as well as a reward tool for students who are performing above the standard or behaving well. The personalised training feature also supports individualised instruction and allows teacher and parents to trace student development over time. Additionally, both children and adults find Elevate fun to use and very educational.

SUMMARY

n Tool: Elevate

n Classification: Game-based learning; brain-based learning.

n Location: https://www.elevateapp.com, Apple App Store, Google Play Store

n Classroom application: Engagement tool and reinforcement activity

n Cost: Free (paid/premium versions are also available)