Report: Digital content market grows 30%, driven largely by mobile apps

The digital content market surged 30 percent between 2012 and 2013, with apps driving much of the growth, according to a report from IHS and App Annie. The joint research study also looked across digital games, music and movies.

  • Overall consumer spending on mobile apps jumped 2.3x year-over-year.
  • Consumer spending on gaming apps grew 2.9x from 2012 to 2013 and game apps are driving overall digital games growth.
  • Large gains in game app spend emerged in Japan and South Korea, with 4.4x and 5.8x growth year-over-year, respectively. Apps are now the leading content category in Japan and could overtake digital games, excluding apps in South Korea, in the coming years, the report said.
  • Music apps also saw significant growth, with consumer spend rising 77 percent from 2012 to 2013.


Mobile gaming spend more than doubled over 2013, with growth particularly strong in Asia, according to the IHS and App Annie study.

“Apps deliver, but do not charge for, content. Movie subscription and transactional services favor a direct billing relationship with consumers, and one that is outside the 30 percent share of spend taken by app store owners,” the report says. “With Apple and Google offering their own movie services, an app that wishes to use in-app purchases to charge for content would be at a significant price disadvantage in order to maintain a healthy margin.”

Though monetization is always a challenge for developers, the report shows that apps may stand a greater chance of finding revenue if they are less focused on replicating content services like Netflix or Spotify and offering complementary content instead. For example, the report notes the growing popularity of games that tie in to blockbuster movies, or discovery services, which have proven particularly successful in the digital music space. In many respects, the report said, the role of apps is not merely delivering content like music or movies but helping to build the audience for it.

Read more and download the report here.

This report is another proof of importance of supporting code education for the future digital content market growth.




Mobile developers now number 8.7 M worldwide

If indie developers ever feel a little lonely working on mobile apps and games, they should know they’re part of a worldwide group that numbers 8.7 million people, according to Evans Data. The Santa Cruz, Calif.-based firm recently released its Worldwide Developer Population and Demographics Study, which culls data from the World Bank data center, CIA World Factbook, the U.S. Census and several other sources.
  • In total, there are 19 million software developers in the world, which means about 50 percent of them are now focused on creating apps for mobile devices.
  • The worldwide developer population has essentially doubled since 2010, with an increase of 700,000 in the last year.
  • Asia-Pacific region leads in mobile dev growth with about 46 percent more developers focused on mobile than the Europe, Middle East and Africa (EMEA) region.
  • The number of female developers has boomed by 87 percent since 2001, totaling nearly 3.5 million developers today.
  • Evans Data estimates a worldwide developer population of 25 million by 2020.

The research firm projects the worldwide software developer population to grow from 19 million today to 25 million by 2020.

“People who think that mobile developers are only developers who sell apps through app stores are seeing just a small part of the overall picture,” said Janel Garvin, CEO of Evans Data Corp. “Mobile development is becoming ubiquitous thanks to the prominence of mobile devices as the preferred client in both enterprise and consumer environments. And cloud is the perfect enabler for mobility in these realms as well as in related Internet of Things implementations. We see no slowing of mobile development anywhere in the near future.”

It’s no surprise that many developers are focusing on business apps, particularly if they come from a more traditional software development background compared with the hobbyists or those who see creating consumer apps as a sideline. What might be more difficult to track–but what would be quite valuable–is what proportion of those who start out as consumer app and mobile game makers shift into the enterprise side.

Although Evans is offering the big picture around developer demographics, the details around those who are employed by big firms vs. those who are entrepreneurs–and those who see this as a profession versus those who are doing it for the love–is incredibly complex. Those providing the best developer tools, cloud-based or otherwise, are probably not targeting that 8.7 million as a whole, but looking at specific niches. As for consumers, they probably don’t care a lot about developer demographics. They just want their apps to work–and to be fun.

To read more and access the Evans Data report, click here

This report and article perfectly supports our W07-Opportunity forecast on importance of code education. 



Analyst Reports (A1)

Analyst Report: IXL Learning

In this presentation I look at how an investment in IXL Learning can support district goals. One of my students introduced me to PowToon and challenged me to try it out this semester. It was fun to see what this student produced and when school is back in session I hope to share what I created with them.

Eva's Café

Interesting Article: Ed Tech Investment Bubble

I came across an interesting article in Fortune from February that argues that there is a bubble in terms of educational technoloyg investments. The article states that:

Schools are slow to adopt new technology because they have to be: Their procurement processes are inflexible and complicated, involving contracts, RFPs, lawyers, review cycles, approvals, and compliances. This makes it difficult for small startups to sell their products into schools. The procurement cycle alone lasts long enough for a startup to run out of money.

The article also links to another article that discusses the challenges of finding who the audience is for your product. As we have discussed in the course, the user is often not the same person who makes the purchasing decisions. Anyhow, it is good to see that these topics are being explored in a wider discourse.

What articles and issues related to the venture side of educational technology have others come across?

Founders Parade


Company: NoRedInk

Jeff Scheur Image retrieved from

Founder/CEO: Jeff Scheur

Founder Biography:

Jeff Scheur the Founder and CEO of NoRedInk was a high school English teacher for 8 years. He’s currently a teacher and Debate Team Advisor at Whitney Young Magnet High School in San Francisco. He realized after grading over 15,000 English papers he wanted to help students improve their grammar/writing skills. His intention is to improve the feedback loop in education and empower students to become strong, confident writers.

Scheur’s motivation and desire to create a program for students out of his own teaching frustrations is admirable and a breath of fresh air. The program itself is a great one offering students autonomy to learn at their own pace but also the chance for educators to use his program as a motivational grammar teaching aid.

Scheur’s states that without his knowledge of grading so many 1000s of papers in tracking student errors in writing mechanics, he wouldn’t have been able to incorporate them into his program. These trends are included into the NoRedInk program algorithms and learning engine. NoRedInk allows students to define the structure and putting in their social contextual preferences into Facebook to create personalized curricula based on that data. His company is so aptly named “NoRedInk” since it proposes limited use of marking up a students paper in red ink if it was full of mistakes.

Scheur currently presents in workshops on differentiating grammar and writing instruction at the Teaching and Learning Conference in Washington D.C. His sessions explore ways that teachers can leverage technology and adaptive learning to help their students grow as writers with the use of his program.
Company Bio:


NoRedInk helps students improve their grammar/writing skills using adaptive learning. Students have solved over 40 million questions on their site, and the site is used in thousands of schools by thousands of educators. NoRedInk’s learning engine generates personalized curricula from students’ interests, creating feedback, tutorials (and even color-coded heat maps) based on students’ preferences and their areas of proficiency. The beginning lessons focus on what students are getting wrong, while offering them the opportunity to watch tutorials when they get stuck. NoRedInk prompts students to input grammatical corrections themselves by drag-and-dropping the right punctuation mark as an example. As students move through the lessons, they themselves and their teachers can track their progress through NoRedInk’s dashboard which is broken down into skills. This program offers visuals as well to help students in their progress and understanding.
The site offers schools a pro-rate but it is free for everyone else using it. There are numerous positive feedback reviews of teachers of varying disciplines and age levels who have had great success using his site and program.

The start-up for Scheur’s company won NBC’s $75K Innovation Challenge in September of 2012, and was featured on the TODAY Show as a result.

My thoughts:

As a high-school science and language teacher, marking numerous student papers and giving them adequate feedback for further critical learning is so important. I found this program wonderful. Also being slightly colour blind and not a proponent of red ink from my own personal experience of discouragement with a paper full of red ink as a child, this program offers student engagement through their own interests. Grammar is not often a component of language learning that is enthusiastically grasped. It’s a great program that challenges students in content while learning essential grammar points at the same time. More importantly it offers some authentic scenarios and helps students learn grammar in context and not in isolation. I love that it offers students the ability to work at their own pace so that instruction can be catered to their individual needs and differentiated as needed by an educator. The interactivity of the site allows learners to interact with their own writing and move and change grammatical concepts themselves, learning from their own mistakes. Also wonderful is the site is free for anyone to use! A great resource for educators and parents alike.
Information Retrieved from Techcrunch article:
National Board for Professional Teaching Standards Conference 2014 Retrieved from:

Question and Answer

example of time-released post

I thought it might be helpful to let future groups know it’s possible to pre-schedule a draft post for release at a certain date/time. This can be very helpful for activities and links between OER and the 522 blog. For example, I can set a post for 10PM the next day. I am then able to use the draft post’s permalink (see below) to link between resources. As long as you don’t change the date, the permalink won’t change, and you can then use it to link back and forth. Also it’s important to note that while the post is still unpublished, it won’t “show up” (the URL won’t work) until published. Also best to double-check them after launch to be sure they are functioning correctly!




Eva's Café

Cisco Canada invests $150M in new tech start-up initiative


Cisco Systems Canada Co. together with federal finance minister Joe Oliver, today announced a strategy that will see the company invest $150 million to “support and accelerate innovation in Canada.”

Cisco says it plans to invest across a mix of technologies, businesses, and investment stages over the next 10 years, and will actively engage with investment partners and start-ups to mentor and develop new leaders and innovators.

Nitin Kawale, president of Cisco Canada, said the country produces some of the top engineering and management talent in the world and is home to dynamic industries that are ripe for business transformation.

The Cisco Canada Innovation Program will focus on three key areas:

* Direct Technology Sector Investment, which will investigate opportunities in areas such as cloud infrastructure, digital media, big data/analytics/information management, intelligent infrastructure and mobility.

* Venture Capital

* Working with Incubators

“Innovation and investment are the key drivers of the Canadian economy, leading to jobs, growth and long-term prosperity,” said Oliver.


It is nice to hear so good news about the big players supporting Canadian tech start-ups.



Analyst Reports (A1)

Analyst Report on Showbie

My Educational Venture Analyst report is on “SHOWBIEa homework drop box for tablet classrooms. Showbie was born in Edmonton, my city and in a year and half skyrocketed to wide popularity. I took the opportunity to thoroughly research, analyze and explore Showbie to get ready for the actual proposal and possible implementation in my PSE environment. Enjoy it here:


  Any suggestions related to Showbie experiences and implementation are welcome.




Tell a Story – Hedgehog Academy

The app I’ve chosen to review is Tell a Story by Hedgehog Academy. It is an Apple app and is geared towards kids aged four to seven. The goal of the app is to teach students how to use picture clues to tell a story in order. There are three levels to the game and the hardest level was more difficult than I expected. Although the game is geared to young students, I believe my grade four students would enjoy the intermediate and difficult stages. Story writing is an important part of the elementary language arts curriculum and this app is a good example of viewing and retelling a story. The app would be even more useful in an educational setting if teachers could track the progress of students and because this isn’t possible, it would be best used in a small group setting where the teacher could monitor progress. In terms of motivation, there is a small animation to show that you have successfully completed a story, it is simple but effective. The app has a single purpose and is easy to navigate, with little help four and five year olds could easily play the game.

My goal in looking for apps was to find one that was extremely simple to use, free, and motivating. I believe that Tell a Story fit the criteria well. I also needed to find an app that could work on computers and did not need a tablet or smartphone. I don’t have either and neither does my school. This app also fit a lot of the criteria on the Week 6 – mGBL website. It integrated well in the curriculum, it was motivating, it was simple, easy to learn, soft skills were present for young students, and finally it was the perfect price!

Elementary school teachers, try this app, you’ll like it.


W07: Code Education Launchpad


Welcome to week 07 (Open Free and digital content)

Our group narrowed our focus to code education (programming code) at the postsecondary and professional level.

One of the first sources of information online to be shared openly (free of charge, remixable and reusable) was code. Programmers have been sharing code openly since the birth of the internet. There are indicators that educational resources are perhaps moving towards openness; yet, there are a number of contrary closed, institution, corporate, and start-up trends emerging which create a dichotomy in the market of code education (you can probably guess which side “Team Open Content” is rooting for!)

Our interactive OER presents the emerging market of code education, exploring both open and closed to fully illustrate the market landscape. You don’t need to understand how to code in order to understand code education’s changing nature.

Please visit our OER by [clicking here].

We hope you enjoy the exploration – Group 7 “Team Open Content”

– Angela, Nidal, Milorad, Yuki, Colleen & Bobbi

Also, to post a review of our OER, please use the “reviews” box field located on the bottom of this page! (Apologies, replies to reviews appear to be broken in this environment, so we will reply using the same feature which will appear above these instead).


W07: Activity 1

“Code” by Michael Himbeault is licensed under CC BY 2.0 Retrieved here.

If you haven’t done so already, please view the video and complete the Activity #1 (part 1) poll on this page first.

Activity #1 (Part 2) – Comment

Everyone “should learn how to program [code!]” – Steve Jobs (1995).

Add a comment here (using the comments box below) about your thoughts of Jobs’ view that everyone “should learn how to [code].” Do you think this view does or doesn’t hold relevance to post-secondary or professional education today (or the market itself)? Perhaps elaborate why you think so. If at all possible try to provide resources or links that help support your view (and to help add value to our OER). If you were undecided, feel free to comment instead on others’ thoughts about this, or post any unanswered questions you might have. Be sure to check back to engage in comments and questions that might be added to your responses.

You can return to the relevant OER page by clicking here.


W07: Activity 2


“Open Means Never Having to Say You’re Sorry” by Alan Levine is licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0 Retrieved here.

Activity #2 – Comment

Pick one resource from either “open trends” or “closed trends” and discuss it in terms of one of the options below.

Briefly discuss why you think it:

  • A ) has the most disruptive potential for the future of code education [OR]
  • B ) offers a strong value proposition for the future of code education [OR]
  • C ) discuss it in terms of both A or B, adding any additional insights you might have to offer.

Post your response as a comment here on the bottom of this page. Be sure to include the name of the resource you chose! Feel free to contribute your own resource instead (remembering that we’re focused on post-secondary and professional code education), do indicate if it’s open/closed. Please discuss how/why you see the chosen resources as disruptive or as having a strong value proposition. Also try to provide any links/research/resources that may help us understand your perspective (we think it would be great if you could add value to our OER research). Also be sure to check back to engage in comments and questions that might be added to your responses.

You can return to our OER page by clicking here.


W07: Activity 3


“Improving the speed and quality of research via shared algorithm implementations” by is licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0 Retrieved here.

Activity #3

In the spirit of open, we’re choosing to crowdsource peer knowledge here for help identifying the most likely market horizons:

Please review one of the predictions [on this page]. Post your review/thoughts using the reviews box on the bottom of this page discussing why your chosen prediction is a potential cutting-edge horizon for post-secondary/professional code education. Take a bit of time to do some preliminary research on your chosen topic and please add links and supporting materials wherever possible to help add value to the discussion and to help expand our OER. Also be sure to indicate the name/number of the horizon you’re reviewing. Also be sure to check back to engage in comments and questions that might be added to your responses.

They are condensed as follows:
(Don’t forget the full descriptions are located on this page)

1. Privatization
2. New Accreditation Programs, OERs &  Initiatives for Code Education
3. Industry and Institution Partnerships for OER and Higher Educations’ Programming Education
4. Localization and Personalized Learning
5. Code Language Education Segmentation & Diversification
6. Curriculum Integration
7. The Development/evolution of “Smart” Code

You can return to our OER page by clicking here.

Analyst Reports (A1)

Assignment#1: EVA Report on SumTotal LMS

My Education Venture Analysis will be on the possible acquisition of the SumTotal LMS by St.Michael’s Hospital. I wanted to use this opportunity to develop an idea for an actual proposal that could be used when this organization decides to acquire a new LMS. Please share your thoughts regarding this examination.

Best Wishes


Opportunity Forecasts (A2)

Survey Results & Thoughts

Survey Results GBL

*click on chart to expand.

Areas of Interest of GBL:

In the Feedback survey, ETEC 522 students had the opportunity to express what areas of GBL interested them. The following list is a result of everyone’s ideas and we hope these concepts may spark an idea of how you can integrate GBL into your educational setting.

  • The ability to track learning & progress
  • Language learning apps
  • Motivational aspect of GBL/Immersive manner of learning
  • GBL use in science courses
  • Classroom integration
  • French Immersion instruction through GBL
  • Engaging at risk students and making learning fun
  • Ability to use GBL to reinforce basic concepts and ideas
  • GBL for continuing education and 21st century employment
  • GBL as a form of support for students experience difficulties in learning
  • Repacking learning in more attractive format
  • Integration for languages
  • GBL use for professional development
  • Inclusive and collaborative GBL use for students.

We would also like to thank everyone who took the time to give feedback on the survey page. The comments were very detailed with constructive ideas on how to make our Open-Educational-Resource better. We appreciate everyone’s thoughts and hope the Mobile Game-Based-Learning week brought a better understanding to the material.

Group-6 🙂


App Review: Middle School Math 7th Grade

math 7

Middle School Math 7th Grade (free)
Grades 6-9
By Monkey In The Middle Apps LLC
Middle School Math 7th Grade is a marginally entertaining game, but I doubt it would hold a 7th graders attention for very long.  In this game, players guide a cute yet crudely drawn monkey (or other unlockable characters) down ladders by answering math questions.

The goal is make it to the bottom of the level while collecting bananas. In order to earn a banana and progress down the ladders, the player must answer math questions correctly.  Bananas can be used to unlock additional characters and backgrounds, so there is some incentive to keep going.  However, these “incentives” are cheesy static backgrounds of beaches, mountains, flowers etc.  The four free unlocked quizzes practice Negative numbers , Absolute Value, and Order of Operations.  Unlocking additional quizzes require an in-app purchase.

There are no game instructions, and one must figure out the game mechanics through trial and error.  However, it’s fairly easy to pick up and play.  Feedback is immediate, and there is perhaps some motivation to keep playing, as you feel somewhat compelled to post faster and faster times down the level without getting any questions wrong.  The levels get progressively harder as one goes along, and there is an element of scaffolding there as well, as each successive level builds upon the last.  However, it uses a linear step-by-step progression, without a storyline, varied paths, consequences, or engaging feedback.

Clicking on the (?) opens up a brief text tutorial about the math concept, and a hyperlink to a Khan Academy video of said topic.  The idea is for the learner to learn from the Khan video then return to the app to practice their skills.  The execution seems almost like an afterthought.

The motivation to replay and hone one’s math skills is marginal at best.  This is because the questions repeat quite frequently.  Also, each level is essentially identical, except that the ladders change locations, which brings us to the greatest flaw in the game…

Unfortunately the randomly generated ladders are often positioned too close to the edge of the screen, which prevents the character from progressing down the ladder.  This requires the player to back out and restart the level.  This is a terrible and almost crippling flaw within the game that only the most persistent players could endure.  Perhaps there is a better iOS version?

It’s clear that the developers of this game put very little effort into execution of this game.  It is crude, buggy, ugly, and severely lacking in its educational design.


App Review – Cyberchase Shape Quest

cyberchase shape questI chose to use the game Cyberchase Shape Quest! by PBS Kids.  The reason I chose this game is because I wanted to use a game that was available on multiple devices.  This game supports Apple IPad, Android Tablet, and Kindle tablet.   At first I thought this was a wide range, but on closer look I can see that it is still exclusive to a tablet.  I did download the game to my IPad after reading the 2 reviews available (one great and one said it did not work).  There were 5 people who rated the game in total and it had almost 5 out of 5 stars.  I can’t say for certain what the experience would be on all devices but I can speak to my experience with the IPad.  The game is visually appealing with good graphics and I can see that a child would like it.  It also has fun music playing in the background with lots of sound effects.  One odd thing that I did not realize about the game is that there are 3 games within Shape Quest: Patch the Path, hide and Seek and Feed the Critters.  For Patch the Path the user has to print off a map from the PBS website and hold the IPad up to the map.  This seemed like a hassle for game users, particularly children, and I would predict that the map becomes the problem of the parent and that holding an IPad camera up to a map to play a game is perhaps more challenging than an IPad game should be.

There was no tutorial, and perhaps there should have been, especially with the printed map which could be confusing for students.  The other parts were fairly simple to figure out if you had played games on an IPad before.  It also started simple with the games, easy levels and simple tasks.  I think that students get some level of satisfaction out of the game.  Each time they play an activity the pass or fail and can retry the level.  Levels are unlocked when the previous level is passed and students get a rating for each level (out of 3 stars).  There is a lot of visual and audio feedback for correct and incorrect moves letting the student know immediately if they are doing well.  I also think that the content was well masked to be fun.  While the player did have to carry our geometric tasks – for example feed the animal by using a sling shot motion to bounce the food off of walls and aim it at the animal’s mouth – it seemed more fun than geometric.  The content was very educational.

While I do think that young children would like this game, I think that it has a very narrow audience.  It caters to young children and children learning about geometry but it certainly has the feel of a young child’s game and I think junior and intermediate students would pass on playing this game.  I also did not like that it had external parts (the printable map).  I like that it is available on multiple devices but it does cater to a narrow audience.


Review: MarcoPolo Ocean

 MarcoPolo Ocean Review

1. IntMPoceanegration
Regarding this application, it seems as though the developers had a certain educational agenda, and then tailored the application to suite that need. The game clearly aims at teaching younger children about the various elements that are contained in the ocean, and how vessels navigate these waters. If the application is upgraded at a cost, a number of other puzzles and levels emerge, however I did not investigate these options.

 2. Motivation & Think About Your Audience
There are a number of elements that would keep children engaged with this game. Firstly, it is predicated on an ‘open-sandbox’ mentality, in which students can explore the vast expanses of the ocean at their own leisure. The game itself is driven by visual and auditory cues, which also can serve as directives for children to follow. The various colors and tactile nature of the game, would easily keep children engaged.
3. Choose Your Game Wisely and Find it in the Content
This application does a good job at identifying the learning outcomes it wishes to achieve, and then designing activities centered around those outcomes. For example, one learning outcome is for children to expand their ocean related vocabulary. This is achieved through narrated games, which have students identify objects for which they have learned the vocabulary of.

4. Think Small; Don’t Be Overly Ambitious

As previously stated, I believe that this game meets the learning goals it sets out to achieve, in an age appropriate way. The target demographic for this game are parents of children in lower elementary school, and so the games which are suited for this demographic, involve low level cognitive and fine-motor skills.

5. Learning & Mastery

The game is both simple and intuitive to play. The layout is clean and crisp, and the audio quality provided by the narrator is clear and articulate. The colors in the game are vivid, and so children are able to identify objects easily. Mastery of the game is easily achieved, and the levels provided in the game allow for the mastery of a diversity of skills.
6. Soft Skills of 21st Century are Connected with Content
One of the strengths of this game is that it begins with lower cognitive skills (such as rote memorization) but then builds on these with more 21st century learning skills such as critical thinking and problem solving. The puzzles that arise in the game would help lower elementary school students not only learn about the oceans, but also understand how the oceans work and the problems facing the worlds’ oceans.

7. Push Beyond the Curriculum Standards
The fact that this game can meet curricular standards, and then engage students in critical thinking activities, leads me to believe that it can push beyond curriculum standards. Furthermore, this game platform could be easily adapted to teach students about an infinite number of social ills.

8. Flexible and Adaptive

As previously mentioned, this game could be easily adapted to educate students on a variety of topics (i.e. deforestation, climate change, consumption), and this flexibility is a definite strength of the program.

9. Cost  & Low/ Right Technology
Considering this application is free (upgrades are available of course at a price), I would say the price was certainly right. Having read through a number of the reviews on iTunes, a number of parents have praised this game for being both educational and fun – a winning combination for any game.


Fun English by Study Cat

Fun English Course By Study Cat

Compatibility: Universal

Audience: Ages 3-10

Content: English Language

Rating: 3/5 Stars

Fun English by Study Cat is a fun and engaging game for young English language learners (aged 3-10). Learning and play are well integrated into the framework of this game which includes a series of 10 themed lessons and over 50 games. It is clear that the educational goals (language learning) have been clearly outlined and embedded within the games of this language app. The Fun English course focuses on both vocabulary development and basic grammar concepts – which are integrated into fun themed games.

Instant feedback is offered to help leaners/players understand their progress and how they are performing in the game. Fun English emphasizes the entertainment value and the importance of play in the learning context. The game engages learners through games, songs, animation, and the “fun factor.”

Fun English does not have a continuous story line that is carried through the game. Rather, each lesson focuses on a different theme (i.e. Food, the house, the body, colours), and the games within that lesson allow players to develop a specific vocabulary set for that context. Each lesson also focuses on a different grammar concept (i.e. the verb “to be,” “adjectives,” “singular and plural”). Each lesson could stand alone, and lessons don’t necessarily need to be completed in a consecutive order, so there is not really any scaffolding happening between lessons. However, within each lesson, scaffolding occurs as each game within the lesson progressively becomes a little bit more difficult. In the lesson on “Colour,” for example, the lesson begins with games focusing on matching colours, and listening to the names of the colour while matching the colour to an image, and the games near the end of the lesson focus on the spelling of the different colours and building sentences with the colours.

The game seems fairly easy to comprehend and pick up. The games do not come with instructions (written or verbal), however, and so when playing a couple of the games, it took me a few minutes to figure out the objective or “aim of the game”. Overall, learners engage in a series of vocabulary and grammar related games to develop their English Language skills, and then receive feedback once each level is completed. There is a lot of repetition and reinforcement of the vocabulary being learned, and each game focuses on a different skill or aspect of language.

The visuals and animation are fairly basic, and many of the games resemble other popular games that kids may be familiar with from other contexts. It combines language with games that allow students to develop hand eye coordination and other motor skills.

In terms of 21st century skills, perhaps the process of game play and the skills necessary to navigate through this technology would qualify as “21st century skills.” This game has been designed for a primary aged audience (ages 3-10), so this game allows players to develop their motor skills, build on their ability to concentrate and remember, practice hand-eye coordination, and ultimately familiarize themselves with technology and gaming applications.

Regarding price, this game costs about 12.99, or each lesson could be purchased for 1.99 from the App store. There is also a free option that gives players access to a smaller selection of games.

This is a simple, yet engaging game that is appropriate for young learners in this age group. I think for a basic language game this could be useful, and fun for kids. However, this game does not go beyond the basic language development of simple vocabulary, and does not help students develop problem solving or critical thinking skills.



The Candy Factory

The Candy Factory

Integration: The CandyFactory is a universal iOS app that runs on the iPad, iPod Touch, and iPhone mobile devices.Requires iOS 4.3 or later.

Motivation: All the games on CandyFactory consists of three game levels that challenge students to build a stronger understanding of proper and improper fractions. The game is based around a candy manufacturing factory where students must satisfy a customer’s order for a candy bar of a particular size.

Audience: Students, parents, teachers

Content: Number Sense and Numeration for Middle school grades

Learning and Mastery: Games on CandyFactory are simple and engaging. Needs not too much explanation. Becomes challenging as one progresses to next level.

It consists of three levels: Level 1 teaches proper fractions as part-whole concept. Level 2 teaches proper fractions as whole concept. Level 3 teaches proper as well as improper fractions as whole concept. A nominal score is displayed at the end of the game to show how well the student has done. Sound-based feedback and background music are provided.

Cost: Free

Review: I will this game as 4 star for the level of cognitive demand because this game is engaging students in exploring/identifying and understanding the nature of Fractions concept using complex and unpredictable ways to solve the issues at hand.


Dragon Box


Dragon Box: Algebra game

Integration: Available across platforms (Android, Windows, ipad)

Motivation: Unlocking levels.  Fast progression.  Dragon rewards for leveling up.

Audience: Students, parents, teachers

Content: Math: Algebra

Learning and Mastery: Leveled learning.  Moves from basic algebra concepts using pictures and rules and gradually replaces pictures with mathematical symbols.

Base game Dragon Box +5c is about $6.  There is a harder version available Dragon Box +12, which costs about $12

This game has incredible potential.  I am eager to download a version and try it out with my step kids.  It is a fun game that gradually moves kids from abstract symbols to algebra specific symbols while teaching the fundamentals of balancing and equation and isolating variables.

I would like to see how they transition kids in to real world applications of these skills to see if the knowledge transfers to solving word problem or if the skills remain isolated in game play.


Review: Business English Games for ESL

For the week 6 activity, I reviewed: Business English Games for ESL

A summary of the different points in relation to my own context are as follows:

1. Integration

The game certainly integrates learning with pay in it’s game show format, but seems perhaps a little unbalanced (more about play than learning). The game claims to be a “business English games for ESL.”Not to be overly critical, but I have a hard time seeing idioms as of critical importance in relation ESL learning for business. For me falls perhaps under edutainment.

2. Motivation & Think About Your Audience

The game is intrinsically motivating with continuous challenge, has elements of surprise in the questions as well as, rewards systems, consequences, and rapid feedback. A flash game it does not have tacit feedback. The repetition is made special by the format of a popular rewards-based game show with suspenseful time limits and rewards.

3. Choose Your Game Wisely and Find it in the Content

This game covers a minor topic in relation to business ESL (idioms) which are somewhat anecdotal. There isn’t much scaffolding provided to actually make these useful in different business situations, it focuses more on getting quotes themselves right. The ability to recite Nietzsche correctly at a board meeting is not necessarily going to make a business ESL student accel at his or her career goals so I’m a bit befuddled at the usefulness of the games title in relation to this.

4. Think Small; Don’t Be Overly Ambitious

The game does think small in it’s focus and cover it fairly tightly. The cognitive format of this particular game show suits the learning of idioms rather well. The scale and complexity is manageable and useful and mastery is supported with suitable puzzles and points and there are three different levels provided (expert, advanced and novice). The system relationship between these is clear. .

5. Learning & Mastery

The game itself is simple and quick to engage with and play. Features are simple enough to not need explanation, and goals, progress, and incentives are clear.

6. Soft Skills of 21st Century are Connected with Content

Soft skills involved are looking up and rehearsing idioms for motivation in business. As one would likely use search engines for unknown idioms this does to some degree support 21st centry skills along with critical process of elimination. These are however fairly basic skills so I can’t say they would have a large applied impact outside of the game.

7. Push Beyond the Curriculum Standards

I don’t see this game as pushing the frontiers of knowledge or redefining new learning, rather it reinforces old practices.

8. Flexible and Adaptive

I see this game as lacking much iterative potential. It is not very adaptable but rather right/wrong. There are different paths enabled in a small way by the choice of which categories to approach first.

9. Cost  & Low/ Right Technology

This game is in my opinion more entertainment than education so it is reduced in aesthetics. Although it is free I believe it’s novelty and therefore usefulness would wear thin.

10. 3 Rs: Reduce, Reuse, Recycle

I think that “open” education games (OEG?) would be a wonderful idea and resource for game players and makers alike. This would support a more iterative and innovative model of game development. It would also make better use of digital rip/mix/burn culture in order to support the three R’s mentioned!


I’d give it  2 or possibly 3 stars at the most in terms of rating.

Final reflection:

Overall, I don’t see this game as a strong example for mobile game learning. It was a great example for evaluating these different properties though! It could have provided a better balance of game vs learning and also provided better scaffolding, better adaptability, and better future applicability and remix-ability.

Question and Answer

Weekly discussions fix?

I’m currently not able to navigate to the Week 06 discussion posts because these are not available in the menu (they haven’t been added to the discussion menu yet).

The categories exist so I can categorize my post, but I can’t access the stream to read others posts and comments. They are floating off in nowhere land.  :


I know how to add these to the nav menu so they can be found more easily, but in order to do it I would need temporary extra-super-human (administrator) powers. This would only take a minute, and I’d be happy to do it for each week if I may be permitted to do so? I can also help someone else fix it. : ) Pretty please can we fix this?


Hehehehe, cheers,



Finger Count App Review

I have young children who are using many of these apps, so I used the criteria provided by team 06 and reflected on some of the apps that my 3 and 5 year old play with. Many have great songs, visuals, original ideas. Some are almost ‘digital worksheets’, which my children seem to love. However, the app that really stands out for me after seeing it in use is this insanely simple Finger Count app.

Finger CountThe game consists of the player touching the screen and each touch creates a bubble with the next number in correct sequence and a voice that says the number. The player can then touch any of the bubbles to pop it and have the number said again. The numbers are intended to be popped in reverse order, so if you pop 9 before 10, it says ‘nine’ but the 10 disappears.  The description does not sound riveting, I know, but here is what I love about this app:

  • Simplicity – One of the criteria provided to use this week was to ‘think small’. I think that this game does that very well. The goal of the game is to simply count from 1-99 and back down again. The simplicity of the game keeps the focus on the learning rather than other distractions like songs and stickers. Although the learning and mastery goals may not be clearly outlined in the game, they are intuitive and easily mastered.
  • Target Audience – This game is targeted at small children who are learning to count. The absence of background music, easter eggs, varying paths is well suited to their learning goals.
  • Flexible – The game can be used in a number of ways. The player can simply explore, or play it, but a parent or teacher could use the platform to modify the game to suit the players needs. I noticed my son use the game for a purpose not implicit in the game. During our Christmas Advent calendar time, he would use the game to determine which square was to be opened next and whose turn it was.
  • Cost – The full version is only $0.99. A good value for a tool that is so diverse.

I would (and have) recommend this app to parents and educators of small children. A great example of how simple is sometimes the most effective.

Question and Answer

Posting a review for Week 5 group


I just want to clarify where/how I should post the review for each week (of the 4 weeks we have to review).  Is it best to do it as a new post or as a comment on the initial activity post by the group?  (hope this makes sense)  I wanted to post a review for the Cloud Based App group but want to make sure I do it to the correct place so they can see it.

Thank you!

Eva's Café, Question and Answer

Article: Creation of Useful Value Propositions

The article below is geared towards e-commerce specifically and perhaps doesn’t really fit our application needs, however I still found it useful (particularly in differentiating what a value proposition is and isn’t). While I might structure my value propositions much differently in the upcoming A3, there were perhaps some good points in terms of presentation with regard to clarity, brevity,  jargon/hype etc.?

Perhaps David & David might have some helpful tips to add on to this?


It occurred to me that there aren’t many resources here to help us understand the different facets of the assignments. Rather than each of us doing individual research that doesn’t enrich the community, how about we resource pool here?

Maybe we could have a new forum for sharing/pooling resources (+discussion) to help us better understand and complete the assignments? There’s a lot of conflicting “advice” on the internet regarding what makes a “good” or “bad” pitch/venture/value proposition; perhaps vetting, discussing and rating these as a group might be enlightening?

Eva's Café

Article: Building Compelling Value Proposition

I just stumbled upon an interesting article on about building a compelling value proposition. It has a chart about how to best position value propositions in relation to being blatant vs latent or aspirational vs critical. I thought it might be a useful consideration for our upcoming A3 Venture pitch assignment.


Eva's Café

Summer PD with MOOCs to consider


Even though, we are quite familiar with MOOCs, you may check out The New York Times video below, which explains the ins and outs of this interesting educational concept.


Upcoming MOOCs to Consider

Below are links to some MOOCs from the most popular MOOCs providers:

  • Coursera (7): This portal, which was started by two former Stanford University professors, might have the most promise for educators. Most courses are free to participate in. Check out the Teachers’ Professional Development (8) and Education (9) collections for the best teacher-specific courses.
  • Udemy Courses for Educators (10): Udemy courses are designed and taught by experts in their respective fields. Currently, Udemy’s education section has some fun and useful courses for educators, many of which are free, including “Google Earth for Educators” and “Apps in the Classroom.” (Both are free.)
  • Udacity (11), another excellent source for expert-taught courses.
  • edX MOOCs (12): A joint project of Harvard and MIT, edX offers courses from a number of top universities, including UC Berkeley and University of Texas. In addition to education-specific courses (13), edX features tons of interesting math, science and IT courses as well, along with many other topics.
  • Class Central (14): Launched in 2011, Class Central is a MOOC aggregator, and it’s the perfect search engine for finding the online course that’s right for you.
  • Canvas Network (15) and NovoED (16) from Stanford University are also worth considering.

Read more here:



Eva's Café

Wi-Fi leading charge for smartglasses

According to the latest research from Strategy Analytics, wireless technologies will play a pivotal role in the emerging wearable devices market. In 2015 Smartglass shipments will see Wi-Fi penetration of 79%. Devices from major brands such as Google and Samsung will be key to driving wearables growth for the next five years.

Matt Wilkins, director at Strategy Analytics, said, “for the Smartglasses user, Wi-Fi is a key enabler, allowing the user to upload HD video (recorded on the device) to video sharing services. As a result we forecast global Wi-Fi-enabled smartglasses penetration of 79% in 2015, at 4 million units up from 1.2 million in 2014. While Google is a driving force in Smartglasses today, we have to think Samsung and Apple are also eyeing the segment and will be potential long-term rivals.”

Neil Mawston, executive director at Strategy Analytics, added, “wireless technology is enabling owners of wearable devices, such as Smartglasses, to both share created content as well as consume content.”




Founders Parade

Jake Jolis, Verbling

Jake Jolis
Cofounder & CEO at Verbling
Jake Jolis

Verbling began as the Chatroulette, or a speed-dating version of language learning. At one point it was hailed as the best free software you’ve never heard of, and one of 150 brilliant new things you must try online.  It competes with ventures such as Livemocha, Voxy, PlaySay, Duolingo, and Busuu.  This venture continues to use video chat to connect language learners with live native speakers – basically virtual language immersion.  The venture began as a site that paired people up according to language and experience level.  For example, a Spanish speaker wanting to learn English will be randomly paired with an English speaker learning Spanish, and they would take turns exchanging in conversation.  The venture has since expanded into live tutoring services, and classes delivered through video chat.  It appears the emphasis of the site has since transitioned to selling subscriptions for the online classes and tutoring services.

Jake Jolis founded Verbling in 2011 with two fellow Stanford classmates. Cofounder Mikael Bernstein realized that his Russian improved when studying abroad and speaking it every day.  Then, like many others learning a new language, finding language partners back home proved to be a struggle, which led to the idea to use the Internet to connect language learners with one another.  Jolis subsequently dropped out of Stanford after his sophomore year to build Verbling when Y Combinator funded the startup.   He raised his first round of funding at age 20, and his second at 22.  Jolis also sits on the advisory board of GuestDo.  Jolis speaks Swedish, French and Spanish.


I think in its original form, this was a brilliant idea, and an attractive investment opportunity for a venture capitalist seeking large returns.  It had the potential to get users talking and engaging enough to actually make progress with language attainment, because it was easy, spontaneous, non-threatening and fun.  The new iteration, focusing on online classes and tutoring, fails to set itself apart from the myriad other virtual language learning ventures out there.  In fact I was not able to locate the Chatroulette feature, which was was the unique aspect of the venture.  This has apparently become an afterthought or is no longer an option.

The multi billion dollar language learning market will be disrupted by the solution that solves the problem of engagement.  Educators understand the importance of engagement and immersion.  I have personally tried many language learning solutions including Rosettastone software, university classes etc., but I found that the most beneficial has been one-on-one, or small group engagement with fluent speakers.  I believe the venture that somehow captures this engagement problem in a fun, easy, spontaneous and unobtrusive way will gain the critical mass required to succeed and own the market.