Your kids play hours and hours of video games a week, but are they really learning anything that they can apply to reality? Most of the time, no. This all changed when a doctoral candidate from the University of Florida decided to design a game that combines the quest and adventure of video games with the educational materials taught in school.
Lindsey Tropf calls this savvy combination Immersed Games.
Lindsey first had the idea for Immersed Games eight years ago when she recognized the learning influence of video games.
“I was playing a video game, and I realized just how powerful the learning in games was already,” said Tropf. “You’re running around, figuring out strategies and collecting certain items. You’re learning so much without trying at all.”
After years of schooling, studying learning theory and psychology, she began to realize how powerful of a medium a virtual educational world could be, but she couldn’t find anything out there that taught kids the essentials of education in the way she envisioned.
So, she was driven to create the game herself and Immersed Games was born.
Lindsey began gathering experts brought in interns, in 2012, to develop the game and, soon after, brought the blueprints of Immersed Games to One Spark 2013 to gain validation that people were interested in her idea. And indeed, they were.
It wasn’t until the Immersed Games team brought their first prototype to One Spark 2014 that they were really able to take off as a start-up company. They wanted to target teachers, parents and children, which was difficult the first time they attended One Spark, but this time they had the opportunity to reach their audience effectively by joining the #EdSpark education venue.
“Our whole point in going to One Spark 2014 was to talk to parents, teachers and kids about Immersed Games,” said Tropf. “I was so excited when I heard about #EdSpark because our target audience would be all in one place.”
They had the opportunity to watch children play the prototype game throughout the festival. They talked to parents, teachers, and homeschooling organizations and made connections that helped the game take off. The team was able to get immediate feedback on specific aspects of the game that helped identify what needed more adjustment and hone in on how to enter the market with their first module release, planned for later this year.
The exposure that #EdSpark provided helped Immersed Games launch a beneficial Kickstarter campaign, post One Spark 2014, which raised over $50,000 from more than 300 supporters. The crowd-funding success allowed Lindsey to hire a full-time team to expand and perfect the project.
“Once we complete the first module, ecology, and overall design of Immersed Games, we will be able to produce other modules quickly,” said Lindsey. “Each module will meet educational standards and kids will learn useful information and skills in a fun and interactive way.”
The rising success of Immersed Games is sure to teach kids valuable material in a virtual world they can immerse themselves in at home and in class.