Pixel Prodigy: Unveiling The Artistry Of Technological Gaming

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Pixel Prodigy: Unveiling The Artistry Of Technological Gaming – Picture waking up in a 2D world when you hear a little creature named Nott saying it’s his first day at the academy.

You rush out of your house where you meet cute monsters who challenge you to a math battle. They can cast spells and reduce heart points by answering each question.

Pixel Prodigy: Unveiling The Artistry Of Technological Gaming

Pixel Prodigy: Unveiling The Artistry Of Technological Gaming

Eventually they escape, but you’ve only just begun your journey. You are now a wizard in training in Wonderland, a game that most adults have probably never heard of but has over 24 million players.

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Players are primarily elementary and middle school students in North America—in fact, about half of 5- to 13-year-olds in Canada and the United States—and use the game to have fun and learn basic math skills.

Of course, Prodigy is not the first educational game to hit the market, but it is unique in its strategy. A well-developed Pokemon-style online RPG game is offered for free to teachers and students, and the HTML 5-based game makes it possible to play even on old school computers. This is due to the large number of schools – 30,000 – and therefore the number of students following the curriculum.

Prodigy makes money by making games so irresistible that kids beg their parents for a paid membership ($8.95 a month or $60 a year) to get the rewards. For parents, they get more detailed information about their child’s progress. No extra science content is unlocked, just accessories like cool hats or pets.

“Unlike many other math products, it’s all about interaction,” Prodigy founder and CEO Rohan Mahimkar said in a recent interview.

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“If kids aren’t enjoying the game and asking for improvements, we don’t make money as a company.” I believe that children’s participation is somehow aligned with our motivational goals.

The game can be played offline and online. Online players can join multiple worlds and fight each other without monsters inhabiting the world. Users can add each other as friends and visit each other’s homes, but cannot talk to each other, reducing communication.

It’s all about leveling up your character and collecting pets through Pokemon-style battles where you have to solve a math question to use each attack. As you travel around the world, you’ll also complete missions that work toward the ultimate goal of collecting the “strange and mystical guardians” that once protected Lamplight Academy.

Pixel Prodigy: Unveiling The Artistry Of Technological Gaming

For an educational game, it has a very enthusiastic following. Millennials may have fond memories of Reader Rabbit and Carmen San Diego (I know, I know) — but there was no real community around those games back then. Prodigy has a 506 page wiki that is actively maintained by 250 or more players. There are videos of the game on YouTube with a quarter of a million views.

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And the kids are talking about it. I was introduced to the game by my younger cousins ​​at a Rosh Hashanah dinner. They told me that some of the guys took it too seriously, meaning they were cooler, but still played a few games to “show me the game”.

The company began as a fourth-year project of Mahimkar and its founder, Alexander Peters, at the University of Waterloo. Both were undergraduate engineering students in the Mechatronics Engineering program and both had a strong interest in mathematics and education.

Looking back on how he learned math as a kid, Mahimkar says it was mostly after-school lessons and papers, and he was into Pokemon in his free time.

We said, why can’t we combine these two experiences? Why isn’t learning math as fun, if not addictive, as a Pokemon-style video game?

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Mahimker noted that they also want to address the problem of math anxiety, where kids worry too much about being able to learn math, as well as overworked teachers who can’t get their students to do enough weight in each math lesson. needs.

“Math is very cumulative, so let’s say you’re a freshman and you get a 90% in math, which means you know 90% of the material but you don’t know 10% of the material. Then you go to sophomore year and let’s say an 80 “You’ve got 100 percent and you don’t know 20 percent of the material. It continues to build, so when you finally get into middle school or high school, a lot of content is lost,” Mahimker says.

A practical tool like Prodigy aims to solve this problem by helping teachers and parents identify and address knowledge gaps, so there is less overall uncertainty and they can pursue science, technology, engineering and engineering, he notes. will continue Mathematics (STEM) in the future.

Pixel Prodigy: Unveiling The Artistry Of Technological Gaming

After testing in several private schools, the game was officially launched in Ontario in 2013. in January with about 3,000 students, mostly in Hamilton.

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The game, which started in Ontario, reached about 130,000 students by the end of that year, and by the following year it had reached about 1.2 million and expanded to the United States.

Currently covering nearly 25 million students, the game continues to grow at a pace that requires aggressive recruiting.

The company currently has fewer than 120 employees and wants to hire another 100 next year, but Mahimker says it can’t find the technical talent to keep up with the growth.

Unfortunately, the kids learning the Prodigy system today won’t help the company’s short-term growth problems.

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That’s why the Burlington-based company is abandoning its previous stealth mode approach and going all out to hire employees.

“It’s not just development, we’re looking for developers, game developers, QA, marketing, hiring.” “It’s really all the features you need for any setup.” Mahimker said.

The problem isn’t new—not just in Canada, but tech companies around the world have been talking about it for a long time. The Information and Communications Technology Council (ICTC) reported in early 2016 that the country will not have enough skilled labor to fill more than 218,000 new ICT jobs by 2020.

Pixel Prodigy: Unveiling The Artistry Of Technological Gaming

And it’s not easy to compete for talent with bigger companies like Shopify and Google, which recently announced a new Eastern Waterfront headquarters in Toronto.

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The office has ping pong tables and video game consoles, as well as free snacks and drinks. Employees can set their own hours, receive stock options, and perhaps most exciting of all, a $1,200-a-year gym and scholarship fund.

“We are a training company, so we try to invest in continuous upskilling of people,” says Mahimkar.

If employees are so inclined, they can provide a greater learning experience. In addition, Mahimker says the company wants to dedicate time to training green engineers through a dedicated internal accelerator program.

Mahimker says the company’s educational mission also helps attract some employees, but it doesn’t always do much to compete with Shopify or Google for the highest level of all developers.

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As the team grows, Prodigy is eyeing the prospect of a satellite office in Toronto, but not yet in the US.

“We considered it, but it’s actually better to be in Canada. There’s a lot of talent here, and the battle for talent is fiercer in Silicon Valley,” Mahimkar said.

Mahimkar also says that people who work in Silicon Valley are more transient, moving from job to job after only a year at a particular company.

Pixel Prodigy: Unveiling The Artistry Of Technological Gaming

“It’s a stable environment and culture,” he said, adding: “There’s government support, so when we first started we got government aid to help us recover with friends and family. Funding basically helped us, it allowed us to offload and not have to look overseas for VC money.

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He also notes that the cost of living and labor is much lower than in places like Silicon Valley.

Still, for all the positives, Prodigy would certainly like to see more mature math wizards in the market — and unlike most Canadian startups that worry about the hiring situation, at least Prodigy is trying to address that problem.

If the company continues to grow, it won’t be far before one of his former student wizards walks through its doors. The result is in line with Prodigy’s ongoing efforts to get more kids into STEM. Hi hi! Cybernauts and digital dreamers, gather round! It’s me, your aspiring digital guru, WanderingNut, with another exciting story from our beloved cyber zoo!

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