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Kenya’s mobile edutainment games target eight million learners

SCI & TECH
By Fredrick Obura | February 25th 2021

Usiku Games, a Kenyan mobile games company, has unveiled edutainment games to help primary school-aged children improve their learning skills, especially in Math and English languages.

The mobile web-based platform dubbed “Tizi Games” are designed to be fun and entertaining as they help educate the pupils. Each game is designed around a particular subject based on the new Competency-Based Curriculum (CBC) developed by the KICD.

According to Jay Shapiro, CEO of Usiku Games, Tizi Games help improve children's skills in memory, concentration, and development of knowledge:

"At Usiku Games, we create, design, and produce edutainment content to help today's children to learn in ways that are fun and resonate with them. We have specialised in developing games that will improve skills, focus and cognitive reasoning. Our games are designed to be easy to learn, but still challenging and fun."

Each week the children will be presented with a collection of fun games, tailored to match their grade level and what they learned in school that week:

"The words, math, and lessons taught through each game directly support and reinforce what the students have been taught in class that week. Each game dynamically pulls in content to match the grade level and classroom curriculum based on what week of the year it is. In this way, studying and improving class scores need no longer be a chore, but something fun that children enjoy playing." adds Shapiro.

Targeting the 8 million primary school pupils in Kenya, Tizi Games mirror the new CBC curriculum, which encourages imagination, creativity and critical thinking among children. Tizi’s interactive games create opportunities for problem-solving, reinforcing the cognitive abilities of the student.

The Basic Education Curriculum Framework 2017 points out Critical thinking and problem-solving are useful for learners of all ages and in all the subjects and disciplines offered in the basic education curriculum. For example, in the sciences learners need to think critically about observations and patterns to develop ideas on how to solve problems. Edutainment based games help in attaining that subtly, while the kids focus on having fun.

The games also help with sensory integration which is critical in the implementation of the CBC curriculum. This new approach puts a strong emphasis on the importance of science, technology, and innovation. The games build hand-eye coordination, spatial awareness, and fast reflexes.

UNESCO indicates that the use of games for teaching mathematics, sciences, and the humanities is becoming a core part of the educational landscape. There has been a surge in game development for teaching social and emotional learning skills. Further, games are being used in assessments and evaluations of student learning. UNESCO MGIEP, through its Games for a Learning project, seeks to embed social and emotional learning skills in learners (13+) through digital games in formal and informal education systems, to achieve the United Nations Sustainable Development Goal (“SDG”) 4.7.
At the same time, the UN SDG’s have positioned education (SDG 4) at the heart of the post-2015 global development agenda. “Games for Learning” propose highly attractive and immersive solutions. Encouraged by numerous studies and research supporting the pedagogical benefits of play, educators are now using digital games to teach mathematics, science, humanities, and social-emotional skills.
With the advent of fast internet connectivity and the availability of affordable devices, there are infinite possibilities for leveraging educational technology, -including games- for deeper, engaging, active, and immersive learning experiences for learning.
At the end of the first quarter of the 2020/21 Financial Year, Kenya’s Internet/data market experienced positive growth with rising dependence on digital platforms for work, learning, healthcare, shopping, and entertainment. According to the Communication Authority’s Quarterly Sector Report, the total data/Internet subscriptions rose by 4.8 per cent to 43.5 million, from 41.5 million subscriptions reported last quarter.

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