Arcademics: Student Engagement Powered by Arcade-style Gamification
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David Scherrer, CEO
In the wake of the COVID-19 outbreak, educational institutions have been forced to pivot the teaching-learning process online. However, designing intentional and effective online pedagogies is a task easier said than done—and if done wrong, the outcomes would be nothing shy of a disaster for students and teachers alike.
Without a thoughtful approach, online learning can turn students into passive observers who may acquire relevant content but cannot apply it outside the virtual classrooms. Furthermore, digital learning platforms make it difficult for teachers to gauge the students’ understanding of the topic and their progress. This has given rise to a growing need for a collaborative and engaging learning environment to help improve overall student outcomes. Addressing this need effectively is Arcademics, one of the leading providers of online multiplayer educational games. Unlike other gamification solution providers that offer story-based learning and flashcards, Arcademics offers educational video games that optimize the learning process and provide teachers with adequate data points to examine students’ progress.
Formerly known as Arcademic Skill Builders, the company lays great emphasis on improving basic math, language arts, vocabulary, and thinking skills. Arcademics hosts over 70 HTML5 games and specializes in multiplayer educational gaming to allow students to connect with their peers using their own devices, without any installations or firewall edits, from the confines of their homes. “With our games, we have successfully created a fun environment where students can come together and play games while practicing their educational content,” states David Scherrer, the CEO at Arcademics.
The company designs and delivers games around elementary and middle school topics, including multiplication tables, division tables, basic algebra, and language arts. It keeps the content easy and simplistic to help create fluency around these subjects while making it a lot more fun and engaging for students. Students can easily access the games from the Arcademics’ website, using their mobile phones and laptops, and can create game rooms, add their peers, and play together.
The company also offers a login subscription model called Arcademics Plus, to all teachers and administrators to view the students’ performance data.
This offering allows teachers to assign multiplayer games to their student groups and check the leaderboard report at the end of the set time-on-task. Often, teachers play along with the students for additional motivation. Teachers also set up a bracket for each class and allow the best players to move ahead to the next game levels. They then organize a final championship 4-player game for a particular grade. Teachers can also hold a class championship and allow the students to challenge the winner once a week to receive the championship trophy. Students are also incentivized with trophies and power-ups to help them proceed to the next game levels. Arcademics Plus further allows teachers and school administrators to customize the content of the games according to their lesson plans.
With our games, we have successfully created a fun environment where students can come together and play games while practicing their educational content
Alongside helping school administrators and teachers improve student engagement and increase the overall performance metrics of students, Arcademics has a significant adoption rate among students who have started homeschooling. These students can access Arcademics’ games and indulge in family competitions within a fun learning environment. The students receive rewards from their parents on winning the games, which motivates them to do better and improve their core skills and knowledge.
Arcademics also organizes a yearly online competition, the Arcademics Cup, to allow students from all over the world to compete in this day-long event. Different leaderboards take into account the fastest time, percent correct answers, most games played, and most points earned by students. After the competition is concluded, students who earn leaderboard spots are awarded prizes and trophies to celebrate their victory. This event has been a significant driver for the company to acquire new users and allows teachers to attain reports and data points on their students’ performances.
To make aspects of classroom instruction effective and create persistence and involvement, Arcademics is continually improving its server load capabilities and technology stack. The company is coming up with new games and game engines to cover more content. It is also developing collaborative gaming for middle school students to allow them to play with their peers as a team. “Being a start-up, we are extremely nimble and can develop/test new ideas more swiftly while being more specific with our content. We combine the excitement of video games with educational content to produce a high rate of learning, through exciting, focused repetition that enables automaticity and fluency around core topics,” concludes Scherrer.