Update 3 - 4/6/13: Thank you so much to everyone who supported this campaign. We didn't meet our funding goal, but we made some great contacts and found some great developers as a result of going through the process. We'll be focussing on developing the prototype to the next level over the next two to three months and may try another crowdsourced funding campaign when we have a little more for the press to get excited about. Thanks again and do sign up to our mailing list on our web site and like our Facebook page to continue receiving udpates.
Update 2 - 21/5/13: Awesome news! As a result of this campaign, we have found two developers who believe in the project so much that they want to join the project and work on it for free.
Update 1 - 15/5/13: We've had great support from friends and family, but although we think that our game is the greatest innovation in education since Guttenburg invented the printing press, we haven't been able to get the press to talk about us or been featured by Kickstarter. Without support from the press or Kickstarter we are unlikely to let enough people know about the project to reach our £45k target this time around, but please do keep telling your friends about us.
The multiplayer learning game
What if you could take a break from work at 4pm and spend five minutes helping your son or daughter at home with that day's homework by playing a maths game against them remotely? What if you could learn French on the train by competing with three or four of your friends on your mobile? What if a lesson at school involved a multiplayer game played by the whole class on tablets?
If you have kids, then you KNOW how hard it is to get kids to study at home because what they really want to do is play video games. So we flipped this and made learning an addictive mobile and tablet game that kids LOVE playing! More than that we made learning a game that you can play WITH your children, helping them learn as they play.
My name is Charles Wiles and I want to introduce to you our multiplayer learning game. I've spent the last three months coding a prototype and you can see just how addictive it is by installing it on your Android mobile phone or tablet, or on your Kindle Fire and playing it with your kids. For those of you without an Android device (I'll be porting to iOS as soon as I can!) here are some screenshots:
It's a simple and powerful concept, a multiplayer quiz game in the spirit of classic social mobile games, but a game that uses educational content instead of songs or pictures.
A learning app. Done right.
We've released an early Android prototype so you can get a feel for the app, but there are a number of key features we need to add that will make it a transformational tool for learning and the perfect app for parents to engage with their children's education.
The prototype has the minimum features for the "in classroom" version of the app and allows up to six children to play a maths game on a single tablet. As well as porting to iPhone/iPad and other mobile platforms, there are a whole host of features we will be adding to complete the project.
In classroom, at home, in the office and on the train
Here are three scenarios that we think are pretty compelling:
Wouldn't it be amazing if learning your times tables in school was a thirty player real-time game against your friends? With half a dozen connected tablets and a play and pass mode with five children around each tablet, we can deliver that experience for under £1,000 in hardware. And of course it's not limited to maths!
I've already run a few focus groups with teachers at my local schools and they were really enthusiastic about the concept. They rarely have the hardware to engage a whole class in computer based activities using PCs or tablets with present apps. And kids just love tablets!
The original idea for the game came from wanting to enable working parents to participate in their children's education even if they can't be at home. The idea first popped up when I was sitting in my office one afternoon and I received a notification on my phone saying that my daughter had taken her turn on SongPop and it was my turn to play. Could I create a similar fun experience, but with educational content instead of songs and get my son and daughter studying more? And it's also a great way for other remote relatives to participate. Many grandparents live some way from their grand children and I want to enable them to actively participate in their grand children's education too.
On the train
Look up from your own mobile phone when you next take the tube in London and you will see that everyone else is glued to their device playing Temple Run, Angry Birds or whatever is the latest new addictive game. Wouldn't it be great if people could kill that travelling downtime by playing something equally as fun, but learning, for example, a whole new language such as French, while they play?
Fun, social, mobile and free
One of our core values is that learning should be free. I want to make sure that any child on any continent who can get access to a mobile phone can learn almost anything for free, no matter what their financial resources. That is a key part of our mission and our goal is try to make as much of the game free for children and teachers as possible.
Thank you for taking the time to read about our project. You CAN make a difference. Please support us by buying a reward and helping spread the word. We can transform learning together!
Risks and challenges
The key risk is being able to find and hire talented developers quickly to work on the project with me. I'm confident I can find them quickly through my personal network.
Once hired, there is always the possibility of delay, as there is with any software project. However, I am an experienced manager of software teams and I have already specced out the build and the technologies we will be using, so I feel this risk is fairly minimal. Moreover, we have already released the prototype (you can download it now) and we will be releasing updates constantly over the next six months as we add new features, so you will be able to see progress all the way to completion of the project.
THANK YOU for helping make this project a reality! Your name listed in the Factzz mobile app on our special "I Kickstarted Factzz!" page. Although this project is being funded in good old English money you can back it in your own currency from anywhere in the world! £1 = $1.50.
An activation code (worth £29.95) giving you access to the paid version of the app for one year. The paid version will include some value added features such as real time notifications, more detailed analytics and personalised adaptive learning not available in the free version.
Combine the two rewards above and save an extra £6! Your choice of one of our special Kickstarter "Dads vs Sons", "Mums vs Daughters", "Dads vs Daughters" or "Mums vs Sons" T-shirts in June, plus an activation code as above in September.
A ten year activation code (worth £300) giving you a decade's worth of access to the paid version of the app. The paid version will include some value added features such as real time notifications, more detailed analytics and personalised adaptive learning not available in the free version. Please note that no partial refunds will be given in the event of the world ending before September 2023!
Family Pack! Four one year activation codes in September plus four of our special Kickstarter T-Shirts in June. Your choice of Dads vs Sons, Dads vs Daughters, Mums vs Sons, Mums vs Daughters T-shirts.
A custom version of the Factzz app for your chosen school or academy (after launch this will cost £2,499). This will include custom branding and your own content and appear as a distinct app in the app stores.
A custom version of the Factzz app for your chosen school or academy as above, plus I will personally visit your school (anywhere in the UK) and spend a day running Factzz classes on tablets for your students. We'll video the classes and feature your school on our web site and in all our marketing for the next year. A great way to promote your school as being at the forefront of new educational technology!
You get it, understand what a difference this app will make and just want to help make sure that this project happens quickly so that everyone benefits. As a gold sponsor, your name (or that of your chosen company) will appear in all our marketing materials, you will be invited to a special gold sponsor launch dinner in September and also become part of the advisory team where you will help make the decisions that shape development of the product and company.