Meet first-year Egyptian student Saad Mankarious who is, quite literally, changing the game when it comes to encouraging higher student engagement in learning. Designed and coded by Saad, EducationGo is an e-learning platform that applies the novel concept of gamification to boost the engagement of students with learning in school.
Once a user joins the platform, students can take quizzes sent by their teachers, in addition to other built-in quizzes, from which they gain points for correct answers. The platform then uses these points as an in-app currency, called Feather, to apply the concept of gamification through two ways. First, virtual gamification – which include rewarding badges, unlocking app functionalities, and levels progression. Second, physical gamification – where students can exchange their points with real-life physical items (e.g., discounts from supermarkets, restaurants, coffees, etc.) which is done through partnerships with local community enterprises.
“I was a 14-year-old when Subway Surfers the video game became so popular in Egypt. It captured everybody’s attention so that you could hear its sound of collecting coins wherever you go. It also captured mine but in a different way: I spent nights trying to figure out how a toy jumping on a metro was capable of dominating people’s attention this way. Trying to feed my curiosity, I decided to learn programming to know how Subway works.” recalls Saad. Two years later, he joined Assiut STEM School in Egypt.
After formulating the basic idea of the platform, to further scientifically investigate his idea, Saad participated in the 2019 Intel ISEF—the world’s largest pre-college science and technology competition. After 16 months of reading, conducting surveys, coding, and testing, Saad qualified for the national finals in which he was nominated, among two other projects, to represent Egypt at the global fair in Phoenix, Arizona, in the United States of America. That year the competition included 1,800 other finalists from more than 80 countries around the world, the level of competition was vigorous. However, Oracle Corporation picked his project, among eight others, to be granted a special award of US$5,000 each.
“After returning to Egypt, I decided to invest this money in taking the project a step further. I found a startup with the mission of revealing the effect of gamification in Egyptian schools. The app’s Beta Version was released by the end of October 2019. In a few days, we reached our early adopters from which we got a big deal of observations and feedback to work on.”
Through market research, Saad believes the ongoing COVID-19 developments present a crucial opportunity to release the first version of the platform, a task he and his team is currently working on.
“We are looking for partners who are willing to invest in the startup. In addition, we are looking forward to achieving a pan-African reach and we call for the ALA community and beyond to partner with us. Currently, the startup has available positions for coders, designers, business developers, marketers and academic advisors.