Kelly Sheridan, InformationWeek
June 18, 2013
On Tuesday Joel Klein, CEO of digital education company Amplify, announced a comprehensive selection of educational games designed to help middle-school students develop skills in STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) and English Language Arts. Amplify, which focuses on one-on-one learning, innovative digital curriculum and data-driven instruction, is developing more than 30 games to broaden its digital curriculum.
In developing the new game collection, Amplify's goal is to motivate students to continue learning after the 8-hour school day has ended. "Our games are like nothing you've ever seen," said Klein in a statement. "We're not designing homework here. These games will improve learning not because kids have to play them in school, but because they want to play them in their own free time." In addition to extending learning time, the games aim to help students understand the connection between effort and success, stay motivated through difficulties and accept failure as part of learning.
According to Amplify, plenty of games have long been available for younger grades, but there were few for older learners. So the company collaborated with premier game designers -- including Schell Games, Zachtronics, Preloaded, Highline Games, Ira Fay Games, Strange Loop and Bossa -- to develop activities for middle-school minds.
Lexica, which focuses on English Language Arts, features more than 14 multiple-level games to help students improve reading and writing skills, expand their vocabulary, and read more challenging material outside the classroom. At the center of this gaming world, a library of more than 300 books featuring fictional and non-fictional characters familiarize students with classic literature and help them progress in games that reinforce skills such as spelling, subject-verb agreement, complex sentence structures and homonym confusion. Students will already be familiar with game formats such as arcade-style, storytelling, choose-your-own-adventure and card games.
Amplify is also developing at least 15 games intended to further students' interest and knowledge in science and math. In these games, players can explore the inside of a muscle cell, experiment with 3-D and 2-D geometry, learn about human and plant metabolism, observe ecosystem processes and grow and protect their own ant colonies.
All of Amplify's games are currently being tested in schools nationwide and will be available for purchase in the spring of 2014 for implementation at the beginning of the 2014-2015 school year. Schools can choose to purchase games on their own or as part of the Amplify digital curriculum. They can be played on Amplify tablets and on major mobile operating systems, including iOS.