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GSAT studies made easy: Entrepreneurs design products to enhance learning

Published:Monday | February 23, 2015 | 2:00 AM
Kyle Williams shows off his GSAT study text, 'Science for Middle School'.
Kyle Williams shows off his GSAT study text, 'Science for Middle School'.
Karl Downer holds the home edition of the GSAT board game, 'Pass Your Exam Fun Academy', which he developed along with business partner David Smith.
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With the Grade Six Achievement Test (GSAT) a few weeks away, several individuals have been doing their part in helping students prepare for the high-school entrance test in a timely yet fun way.

Among those putting study-easy GSAT products on the market are Karl Downer and Kyle Williams.

Downer, CEO of Family Games International, has produced a game, 'Pass Your Exam Fun Academy', out of a need to implement new teaching methods that will result in more students being successful in their examinations.

Downer said that males, especially, have shown tremendous improvement in their attitude towards their studies during his school visits.

The board game consists of several features, which see students throwing a die and landing on various subject areas in order to answer questions, in addition to other concepts.

"Children on a whole are very competitive, but the boys, especially. When you see how focused they are when they are participating in the game, in addition to being very eager to study the questions, it's amazing, and I am convinced that initiatives like these are needed, especially at this time (GSAT)," Downer said.

LEARNING THE FOCUS

"The beauty about this is that learning is taking place and is the integral focus of our mission. The students are also forced to think critically because the questions are not a-b-c responses; they are phrased in such a way that students get the chance to process, interpret and think of the answers," he said.

He added: "Critical thinking is very important to us because it's the mandate of the Ministry [of Education] that students go beyond regurgitating notes, and so every question and everything we do is in line and was sanctioned by the ministry.

"It's important the we reach young people where they are, and with the Tablets in Schools initiative taking off so nicely, we will be doing an online version, where students can access the game on their tablets as well. Normally, we focus on grades four and five, but it's all about our GSAT students," Downer said.

Similarly, 20-year-old Williams, who is about two weeks away from launching his book, said it will enable children to learn science and social studies in a revolutionary way.

The book, Science For Middle School, is a colourful text which features crossword puzzles and various technological dynamics. It is expected to improve students' critical-thinking skills.

"The book will not only make the studying experience more exciting, but also more rewarding, as students will be able to grasp the important concepts more easily," Williams, a student at the University of Technology, said.

"The aim is to create an avenue through which learning can take place in a fun way, and I am convinced that we will get better results when this happens," Williams added.