Meet Boddle Learning, a Kansas City based edtech company, founded in 2018, that has developed a game-based learning platform that delivers e-learning materials to K-8 students in game-format to engage and motivate them in academics. The game app also comes with a management platform that generates analytics & reports for teachers and parents to stay in the loop.
Boddle is designed to use gamification to help elementary and middle schools benefit from higher student engagement and automated reporting.
The mission behind Boddle
Our team came together because we all wanted to make a huge impact for K-12 education. What are the most powerful “things” elementary school students can acquire to realize their potential? For our team, it is character (integrity, kindness, perseverance.. etc) and knowledge.
“We strongly believe that character and knowledge are the ingredients for kids to grow into their full potential and change the world, and we wanted to help do that.”
Boddle represents our mission to filling up on character and learning— just like a bottle. We’ve specifically design bottle-headed game characters to be used as game avatars to signify the importance of filling up on learning, as well as the idea and belief that who you are on the inside matters more than how others see you from the outside.
How did it start?
My team and I started Boddle because we saw a need in the educational space to have engaging learning products similar to that in the media and entertainment sector.
It started when Clarence Tan (Co-Founder & CEO), who had always been a video game fanatic, started a game development company with friends he met online (guild-mates) while he was still in college. While attending game conferences such as the Game Developers Conference (the largest annual gathering of video game developers), Clarence quickly saw that there was a need in the education space for gamified learning products, and started designing and developing games in the edtech sector.
Clarence: I worked really hard and had designed dozens and dozens of games that were used by government institutions in South America. Some were successes, and some were flops.
Clarence: The educational space is tough, and its nothing like developing a casual mobile game experience. You had to have the right pedagogy (way of teaching a topic/subject) in the game and be able to quickly onboard both teachers and students. You had to be able to help teachers measure success. You also had accommodate these games to the limited platforms and performance requirements that schools have due to funding. I have been so blessed with small successes that gave me the opportunity to constantly fail and climb back up with lessons learned.
To address these hurdles, Clarence started a new company called Boddle Learning that is building a game-based learning app that makes learning & assessments fun and simple for K-8 students and teachers.
What is the problem and how does Boddle solve it?
The way kids today learn and interact with the world around them has changed so much, and is constantly changing. However, the educational sector has not caught up. If you’ve been to any educational conference, the overstated and cliche topic goes something like this:
Sadly, it’s true. This, and in addition to other factors, student engagement in K-12 classrooms are declining. Student engagement has been a growing and troubling issue and teachers today are having to compete against video games, such as Fortnite, for students’ attention.
With over 91% of kids playing video games today, creatively using game mechanics in the classroom, or gamification, may be the best way to engage K-12 students.
Our team developed Boddle, a game-based learning app, to engage K-12 students in learning by adding a game-layer to their learning materials. We give students a new “lens” to see education differently. Our app is specifically designed to deliver instruction, practice, and assessment materials through mini-games, as well as rewards their unique in-game avatars with awesome cosmetic items, rewards, and achievements— identical to how other games like Fortnite do it. Our hope is that by using our app, they’ll soon recognize the satisfaction of both intrinsic and extrinsic motivation from acquiring academic skills.
By adding a game-layer as compared to designing the game around academic topics, we are able to use industry-standard learning materials that facilitate analytics & reporting— where when used, helps teachers save time on paperwork and tracking data. This also allows us to create online courses for all subjects to build a comprehensive learning experience.
Boddle also uses an adaptive algorithm that helps students learn and progress at their own pace. This is extremely important because classroom disengagement is also caused by the pace of the classroom being too fast or too slow. Let’s just say one-size doesn’t fit all.
Badges are an extremely useful gamification technique. Boddle also integrates digital merit badges into the game which serves as a digital trophy case for students’ out-of-class certifications so that they would be able to be rewarded and immediately benefit from their accomplishments and achievements they’ve invested so much time and effort into. By working with the OpenBadges framework, Boddle helps set students for success in continued education while they work towards and collect badges and certifications that serve them well in an educational landscape that is trending to merit-based qualifications.
Vision for the future
Education is so massive and multi-faceted that a single technology and/or methodology can’t do it all. However, I do see a unique opportunity for gamification to tie in the different aspects in education such as parents, real-life learning opportunities, online learning, reporting, and assessments. And our goal is to bring all these stakeholders together with an end-user-first approach (student). Technology is the best way to close achievement gaps, especially in underserved communities, and we’re working to do just that.