Image credits: Oo Gin Lee
Back in November 2016, Marshall Cavendish Education launched a new maths learning app called Brainy Arkies. In this review, we take a look at how the app fares.
Gameplay in a nutshell
Similar to stimulation games like Farmville and Smurfs’ Village, Brainy Arkies has a cutesy exterior that hides a complex system designed to make learning maths enjoyable for your primary school-going child. In Brainy Arkies, you solve maths problems and overcome obstacles to advance your civilisation through 12 ages, with the help of cute characters called Arkies. There are 12 ages in total, from the Stone Age to the Space Age.
You start off by building straw huts, just like early prehistoric men, and move on to buildings and structures. First, you have to clear trees to make the land ready and this requires gold and energy. You earn gold by building structures while your energy bar naturally replenishes itself over time. There’s also a third resource called wisdom points which can only be earned by having your Arkies attempt and answer maths quizzes correctly. Gain enough wisdom points to unlock or decipher hidden tomes of knowledge around the island to level up your Arkies. The amount of gold you have depends on the number of questions you answer correctly.
You don’t need straight As to ace this game
While your child needs to answer a lot of math quizzes correctly to advance, it doesn’t mean that only maths geniuses can ace it. The game has a built-in adaptive learning system that offers personalised learning for each child so that they can learn at their own pace. When the game detects that your child is weak in a certain topic, the game lowers the difficulty of the questions in that topic until your child becomes more adept. The system also dishes out similar questions until your child masters the learning objective of the sub-topic.
Because the questions are automatically customised to each child’s individual capabilities, weaker students get the same opportunity to earn the same amount of wisdom points and level up the game at the same rate as the stronger students. The only difference is that weaker students need to do more drills before he or she can move on to the next topic – which is a good thing, from a pedagogical point of view. You’ll also be glad to know that Brainy Arkies contains a database of over 12,000 questions, each designed in accordance with the curriculum set by the Ministry Of Education.
The questions come in different varieties. Some are simple multiple choice questions while others require a written answer. If you need space for working, there is a button you can hit to launch your own virtual white board. Hit the button again, and your virtual white board is stowed away, so you can go back to choosing the correct answer. Each quiz that you attempt comes in sets of five questions. At the end of the five questions, you are automatically shown your score and the option to review the answers to each question, complete with a full explanation of each solution. This works well for self-motivated learners who can automatically learn from their mistakes and master the nuances of each topic.
Full parental controls
As your child plays and answers maths questions, you can monitor their progress through a separate admin account. You can link multiple student accounts to yours, which is great if you have two or more children playing. You can set the topics and sub-topics you want your child to focus on, and turn off topics your child has mastered. There is also a Study Mode which eliminates gameplay and turns the app into a maths machine that churns out solely maths questions. You can also set the play time for your child, from 15 minutes to 60 minutes to unlimited. A great feature is the comprehensive reports that show your child’s performance in each topic and highlight areas for improvement.
Pricing and availability
Brainy Arkies is free to download for both Apple iOS and Android devices. However, only paid subscribers can access the parent dashboard and certain aspects of the game – such as time taken to harvest resources and to build structures – are faster for the child. Subscriptions cost $9.98 per month but you get 40 per cent off when you sign up for a one-year subscription. For more information, visit the Brainy Arkies website.
Learn about how Brainy Arkies was developed here.
Oo Gin Lee is the founder of Gloo PR. He is a father of three girls aged 14, 11 and five.