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Scoring high with arcade machines that make learning fun

Monday, 21 November 2016   (0 Comments)
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Young entrepreneur Regina Kgatle grew up in Hammanskraal in Gauteng, where she was surrounded by entrepreneurs: her parents and grandparents own and operate arcade games machines in township areas. Today, she has combined her familiarity with the machines, her Engineering degree, and her passion for education into a smart business concept: Educade, an educational arcade machine loaded with games that support the primary school curriculum. 

 

“There is a lot of a play-and-learn culture in how people engage with arcades,” says Regina. “Also, I loved them because they're accessible, and you can take them anywhere. For example, we took some to Makapanstad village early in our journey, where some households still have no smart phones and have limited access to internet. Because of how we package our games in consoles, it makes people want to try it out. Mostly, individuals will request to play even before we ask if they'd like to play - I am trying to build products that speak for themselves.”

 

Regina believes that what makes Educade stand out, is that it is specifically aimed at South African children, caters for youngsters from various backgrounds, and is designed around the South African curriculum. Regina and her team turned the love of youngsters for mobile phones and gaming into a positive.

 

“I also get a lot of pleasure seeing that children enjoy my games, and voluntarily want to continue playing,” she says.  Most importantly, she is happy that the embedded educational concepts relating to maths, life orientation and educational content in their games are getting through to the children.

 

“We are ultimately getting the underlying educational concepts through to them.”

 

She is particularly encouraged by the reaction of educators when they first encounter an Educade console. “It is always pleasing to see the educators catching on to our vision without much persuasion. I initially thought there would be a big need to teach educators, but they simply ‘get it’ and share in the vision.”

 

Because users of the arcade consoles are now asking for a mobile phone version, she is now also looking into taking the concept to smartphone platforms: “I feel like Educade has organically grown to a point where we a significant input in the mobile gaming space,” she says.
 

As for a larger roll-out, Regina says they have been approached by a large network provider. Current plans include roll-outs in cooperation with the Western Cape Government, UCT SHAWCO, and a project in partnership with the Cape Town Mayor's office. They are also working with the City of Johannesburg.

 

“I'm very agile in my approach, so the mass roll-out might even come from something we can't project at the moment. Things turn around very quickly in this industry – just think of something like Pokemon Go.

 

“Alongside our main project, we are also aiming to host a number of long-form game jams with a next generation of game makers to foster mentorship and knowledge sharing around STEAM (science, technology, engineering, art and mathematics) literacies. We argue that games can aid in demystifying technical systems. These sessions will be hosted in underrepresented areas to cultivate skill development centres and move the centre of the production of these games to South Africa over the coming years,” says Regina. "There is so much that is still coming, and I'm all excited for the impact we hope to have!”

Finally, she has some advice to other young people with creative, innovative ideas about how to take their ideas into reality and to become innovative entrepreneurs: “Research, but also DO.” She adds there are “tools all over the internet that help you research and do, and there are many people on social media who can also help through their blogs, tweets and websites.”


Stay updated on their plans at Facebook (
67gamesSA or Educade) as well as Twitter (@67gamesSA), and their the 67games.org blog or website at http://educade.co.za/


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