A former awardee of the SBIR Program at the Institute of Education Sciences (IES) within the U.S. Department of Education (ED), California-based Sokikom, has raised $1.025M in seed funding from private investors to scale up and officially launch its technology-based gaming platform.
Sokikom is a web-based program that engages students in grades 1 to 6 in guided, discovery-based, situated learning games. The games are self-paced and adaptive in that they adjust to the skill level of the individual game player. When students do not know an answer, the games provide cues to scaffold learning. The games cover standards-based concepts such as fractions, measurement, operations, and geometry. The games can be played by individual students or with fellow students through the multiplayer option, thus fostering collaboration and friendly competition and potential peer-to-peer learning opportunities. Formative data from the gameplay is provided to teachers to inform further instruction.
The initial prototypes of four games and a prototype of the adaptive component were funded by awards in 2009 and 2010 from the IES SBIR program. Iterative cycles of rapid prototyping were performed with 47 teachers and more than 1,000 students. Results from this research demonstrated that the prototype functioned well, that the intervention could be integrated within standard classroom practice, and that the games were engaging to students. At the conclusion of the 2009 project two 3rd grade classrooms played the games for a month as a supplement to regular classroom math instruction to assess the initial promise of the prototypes to facilitate learning. Compared to a control group of two classrooms that followed regular instruction and did not play games, playing Sokikom was associated with significantly higher scores on end-of-unit math tests for items that aligned to game play.
Since the beta-games were released to the public in 2011, Sokikom has been used by thousands of schools in all 50 states and by more than 100,000 students. Sokikom has been recognized with several industry awards, including the 2012 CODIE Award from the Software & Information Industry Association for the best educational game, theDistinguished Achievement Award from the 2011 Association of Educational Publishers, and the Winner of the Academic Gaming Solution from the Edtech Digest 2011 Cool Tool Award.
The IES SBIR program provides funding to small businesses for the R&D of products to improve student learning or to improve teacher practices in schools, and products to improve outcomes among infants or toddlers in early intervention settings or students in special education.
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For more information on the private investment in Sokikom, see here: http://techcrunch.com/2013/02/22/with-2m-from-zynga-co-founder-more-sokikom-wants-to-use-social-mmo-gaming-to-help-kids-learn-math/
IES SBIR Program Page: http://ies.ed.gov/sbir
IES SBIR Video Demo Page: http://ies.ed.gov/sbir/videos.asp
Abstract for Sokikom’s 2009 Award from IES SBIR: http://ies.ed.gov/ncer/projects/grant.asp?ProgID=20&grantid=891&InvID=657
Abstract for Sokikom’s 2010 Award from IES SBIR: http://ies.ed.gov/ncer/projects/grant.asp?ProgID=20&grantid=1058&InvID=657
Sokikom Homepage: http://sokikom.com
Sokikom Video Demo: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=d7PuKtut5lU