Educational app The Digits: Fraction Blast which launched today on iOS combines an educational live-action video show and interactive gameplay to introduce math concepts to children struggling with math comprehension from the ages of seven to 11.
The Digits: Fraction Blast was developed by Battery Powered Games in association with the educational entertainment organization Funda. The app features a 45 minute video and more than a dozen mini games that teach a math curriculum focused specifically on fractions. The Digits originally started as an educational YouTube video series aimed at teaching kids math. Members of the design team for the show have worked on such shows and movies like The Suite Life of Zack and Cody and Paranorman.
“The Digits is about taking these next-generation story platforms like apps and social video like YouTube and using it to make the Sesame Street for the YouTube generation,” says Scotty Iseri, founder and creator of Funda. “It bakes in all the interactivity that you can have with the modern digital technology, but uses it to teach a math curriculum.”
Iseri says he was inspired by his nine nieces and nephews to make the app. For example, he told us how he saw the kids attempting to touch a TV screen, thinking it’s a touch screen.
“I started watching how my nieces and nephews were playing with their technology, and they dive right in. They demand that their stories interact back with them.”
The Digits project began as a fellowship with the Center for Asian American Media (CAAM) after Iseri watched math comprehension drop for children between seven to 11 in the U.S., which is the critical age range to capture the kids’ attention. Iseri saw apps that weren’t effectively conveying educational concepts or grabbing kids’ attention.
Some of the gameplay elements include navigating through asteroid fields, shooting rocks in the desert and playing the bass guitar, all while teaching math concepts like geometry, angles, division and more in an engaging way.
Unlike the majority of educational apps, says Iseri, The Digits follows the STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) curriculum and the app was also created under the guidance of a cirriculum designer and implemented by a 20-year veteran school teacher.
“I was surprised to learn how many educational app companies don’t have an educator on their team. Some do, but a lot of them focus on ABCs and 123s.”
For parents, the app features a subscription service that sends emails telling them when kids play a mini game or watch a video from the YouTube channel, what they are learning and easy ways to talk with their kids about the math they learned. Iseri says they are looking into push notifications as another delivery method.
The Digits: Fraction Blast first released on Android in September. Iseri says they used the Android app as a testing ground to push the app forward on iOS.
The app was funded by angel investors, but Iseri couldn’t disclose who or for how much.
The app is available for free, but to unlock all of the content costs $2.99 through an in-app purchase, and $9.99 for the subscription service for parents to receive emails about their children’s activities.