Tuesday, October 8, 2013

Tiny Shops Burgers and the Australian National Curriculum

In the development of Tiny Shops Burgers, not only did we aim to deliver an app that is fun and engaging to our target audience (children between 7-13), we at hawt have made a special effort to ensure that we are delivering educational content that matches to the Australian National Curriculum.

This is important for us as one of our goal is to offer digital resources that can be used in classrooms around all the public and private schools in Australia.

Our philosophy is simple:
- research content area that aligns to the Australian National Curriculum
- identify an area (or areas) that we believe we can transform into an engaging game via gamification
- test, test and test the product to ensure that the children playing the app are engaged in the game and are not force fed content from the curriculum, while at the same time ensure that the curriculum content is encapsulated and delivered in a meaningful way.

Tiny Shops Burgers is based around the concept of running a burger shop where the gamer's responsibilities include:
- Customer management (logic, resource management),
- Determine the customer order (language for interaction and currency),
- Adding up the total amount to charge the customer (addition and multiplication, decimal and currency), and
- Determine and give change to the customer using Australian currency (addition and subtraction, decimal and currency).

Tiny Shops Burgers' content most align (but not exclusively) with the following Australian Curriculum Content Area:
- Year 1 – Money and financial mathematics (ACMNA017) – Recognise, describe and order Australian coins according to their value
- Year 2 – Money and financial mathematics (ACMNA034) – Count and order small collections of Australian coins and notes according to their value
- Year 3 – Number and place values (ACMNA055) – Recall addition facts for single-digit numbers and related subtraction facts to develop increasingly efficient mental strategies for computation
- Year 3 – Money and financial mathematics (ACMNA059) – Represent money values in multiple ways and count the change required for simple transactions to the nearest five cents
- Year 4 – Money and financial mathematics (ACMNA080) – Solve problems involving purchases and the calculation of change to the nearest five cents with and without digital technologies
Source: Australian Curriculum, Assessment and Reporting Authority (ACARA)

As much as we would love to cover all aspects of the national curriculum or inject as much educational content into our educational apps, we also recognise the need to balance content with engagement.  The content delivered in any app/game is only useful if it manages to grab the student's attention and engage them in using and re-using the app.  Like teaching in a classroom environment, the delivery and engagement is the most important and is often the toughest part of the process.

We look forward to everyone's feedback as to how best to improve Tiny Shops Burgers and any future education apps we release.  We value the feedback from the end users as well as schools, teachers and parents as we strive to provide a product that can be both fun and educational.