Learning is the game plan for Keeduu
This new Finnish learning solution is bringing primary school education into the digital age of game play.
Around four years ago teacher and vice principal Mari Kilpeläinen was faced with a challenge: showing her fellow educators how to use tablets in the classroom. With students in grades three to six far more comfortable with the devices than their instructors, the digital age was increasingly leaving many in its wake.
“There was a quite huge gap between teachers and children,” she recalls. “I also realised that if you want to have a good digital lesson, you need to have several teaching tools. This is where I got the idea for Keeduu.”
Bringing together textbooks, videos, assignments, educational exercises and a game, Keeduu seeks to cover all bases in the one concise and convenient digital package.
Based in the eastern city of Joensuu, Keeduu is the first offering from e-and mobile learning startup Kasauma Education Ltd. Developed by Kilpeläinen, the company’s founder and CEO, and a growing team, Keeduu draws on Finnish educational expertise in order to meet pupils’ needs.
So, what does this involve, exactly?
After being introduced to the theory relevant for each lesson via a textbook page, students sit back and enjoy an educational video on the same topic. Then it’s time to embark upon a range of related assignments that actively engage students and require them to produce their own content.
Keeduu’s metaphorical cherry on top is a game set in a virtual island milieu. In fact it is more like an ongoing series of dangling carrots, each of which encouraging the progression of children’s learning.
“If they want to advance in the game, students have to complete exercises,” Kilpeläinen states. “Problem-solving tasks include fishing and collecting algae, and trading these for other tools and equipment. You need money for this, which you get by doing exercises.”
According to Kilpeläinen, Keeduu successfully addresses the fallacy that learning games should merely involve children repeating something ad nauseam.
“Learning is based on two things,” she explains. “You have to think and make something your own, then you have to repeat this if you want to gain some skills.”
She illustrates this more succinctly by using one of life’s most common early challenges.
“If you want to learn how to ride a bike, first you have to think how to do it and then you just have to practise.”
In the years leading up to its recent launch, Keeduu was tested in 20 schools around Finland.
“The response has been really good,” Kilpeläinen says. “Teachers like it; it’s easy for them to use. They don’t need separate clouds, for example, as there is everything in the one app. Children love it; they find it easy to learn.”
Now, with Keeduu bridging the digital gap between generations, there is plenty of room left on the shelf for expanding the gamification of the education system in future.
“We think it is very useful for other markets too,” Kilpeläinen says. “In the future we will make more games and more modules around it. But now we are looking for partners to go international.”
Text: James O’Sullivan