Fighting and loving the M monster

Image credit: KC Wong

“Have my Arkies returned home?” My daughter wondered out loud, as she cheerfully asked for my mobile phone to check in on the little creatures. But more about those creatures later.

First, let me tell you about my daughter.

Mathematics was not her forte in school. My wife and I realised it to our dismay after she completed primary five. A couple of months into her sixth year, her confidence took a further beating as the subject got more difficult. She hesitated asking for our help, and often postponed her maths homework until the last minute. It all led to an unhealthy cycle of poor performance, low morale and lack of motivation to tackle the subject.

For the longest time, we had resisted enrolling her in maths tuition class, as we thought it could impose more stress on her, or rob her of her free time. One day, she came to us saying that she needed external help to improve her maths grades. We realised that she was finally taking ownership of her own academic performance. So we relented and hired a tutor.

For two hours a week, my daughter could clarify her doubts and reinforce the concepts she learned in school. As much as the tutor came highly recommended and was very helpful, he could not be there for her all the time.

That was when I got to know about the little characters found in Brainy Arkies, a mobile app developed by Marshall Cavendish Education. An app? Call me old-fashioned; I never believe that an app can replace a real-life teacher or the traditional pen on paper drilling. But who says the app is here to replace them?

This sprightly little app seeks to make learning Mathematics fun for students aged 7 to 12 by motivating them through fun quizzes, gameplay and challenges.

After selecting the appropriate grade level, the player starts to build his own community of Arkies – those cute characters with equally cute vocals. To build buildings, the player has to earn enough “gold”; to level up, he has to earn “wisdom”. All by answering a series of maths quizzes that get more difficult as the game progresses.

Meanwhile, watch out for threats from the monsters, all ready to attack the Arkies village. For reinforcement, you can even go out to the world to recruit more Arkies. How cool is that?

I must confess I am not a tech-savvy dad. Thus, I was pleasantly surprised to find out about the app’s adaptive learning. It is capable of setting quizzes according to the player's level of maths proficiency. At first, my little warrior was breezing past all the questions. “Too easy, right?” I asked. After awhile, she started to arm herself with a calculator, diligently taking on the challenges in increasing levels of difficulty.

There are more than 18,000 questions set by expert teachers based on the 2018 MOE maths syllabus. Solutions are provided, of course, so my daughter and I can review and learn about the problems together at the end of the quizzes.

My daughter used to dread every single maths revision. Now, she would be the one asking for more challenging maths problems – all without me having to open my mouth or lift a finger!

Another useful feature for parents is the progress reports that identify my child’s areas of strengths and weaknesses. With these insights, I can customise the gameplay setting to focus on her weaker topics, like rate and circles, while monitoring her progress.

Overdose of screen time? I need not worry, as I can limit the time she spends on the app. Another useful feature for parents is the ability to switch play mode to “study mode” (alas, no more cute Arkies!).

To sign up, I entered the promo code and registered my daughter in the app. The opening sequences were straightforward, as I followed on-screen instructions and answered some simple maths questions, accompanied by a very cheerful and hypnotizing soundtrack.

The Brainy Arkies app certainly helps my daughter in her maths study regime. When asked what she likes best about it, she said it was the instant reward of “levelling up” after tackling the quizzes and the sense of satisfaction. For me, I appreciate the fact that I can tailor it to my child’s learning abilities and academic needs, letting her learn at her own pace.

True to the ambitions of the Arkies seeking to build a great empire, my daughter is now constantly looking forward to more challenging questions so she could reap bigger and better rewards.

For a limited time only, interested parents can download the mobile app to enjoy a one-month free trial. Just use the promo code below.

You can create your child's account in the app but you will be asked to visit to activate the promo code. Have more than one child? No problem. Create one account for each child, and then link their accounts back to the parent's account for easy management. The Brainy Arkies app caters to students in Primary 1 to 6, available on both Android and iOS devices.

Give your child a boost today with a one-month free trial.
Try the app for free using promo code: BAGG.

Brought to you in partnership with Marshall Cavendish Education.

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