“Log on to your learning game!”
Students may soon hear that instruction in schools around the country if Clarence Tan has his way. Tan’s company Edcoda has developed an education program that is delivered as a 3D video game.
The premise is that since young people are absorbed with video games, an educational program presented in that format should make it easier for students to learn. So, Tan, a UMKC graduate who hails from San Francisco, developed Coda Quest, an online role-playing game for students in elementary and middle school.
Tan discovered early on that kids don’t like educational games and that educational games were not considered measurable. He also learned that only the most tech-savvy teachers were comfortable using them.
He quickly realized the program would need to not only offer questions that meet state educational standards but also let the teachers enter their own lesson plans and questions easily. And to make things more interesting for students, he created wizard avatars in Coda Quest, allowing students to cast spells, mine, chop wood and fish as they complete their “lessons.” Practice items and questions, based on an algorithm that tracks a student’s progress to determine the lesson’s difficulty, are baked into this experience. On the back end, an easy-to-use web application gives teachers and parents immediate feedback on student performance.
Testing and Validation
Tan said he has tested a demo version with about 400 students at 80 schools and received positive feedback on the game experience. Students have said the game makes it more exciting to do math and that it makes homework much more fun, he said.
Hurdles remain. Tan still needs validation and data support before he can market the program commercially. A full program trial in summer school sessions before 15 to 20 students would furnish that information.
“We would get a controlled group to compare with one that has not used the game,” he said.
“We have to show there is increased engagement on how much the students are interacting with the educational content,” he said. “There also must be data to support increased test scores.”
Tan developed the program and questions with a grant from Digital Sandbox KC, a program for startups through the Economic Development Corporation of Kansas City. The company is also launching an Indiegogo campaign slated for this summer in order to develop and release a home/parent version.
Entrepreneur // Clarence Tan
Company Information // 1513 Oak Street KCMO 64108 | (816) 582-3253 | www.edcoda.com