Not long ago a Kickstarter emerged for a console called Ouya (rhymes with Boo-yah!). Ouya is essentially a hackable, android based, home console. It’s also very cheap ($99!) compared to most other current gen home consoles, which retail anywhere from $200 to $350 (give or take). Needless to say it was a Kickstarter sensation, raising over eight million dollars. Slightly more than the ClassRealm Kickstarter pulled in…
The best part about Ouya is that just about anyone can design a game or app for it. The potential is staggering. As the ClassRealm team researched Ouya we had a collective thought – Why don’t we try to bring ClassRealm to Ouya? We could put ClassRealm, which is based on video games, on an ACTUAL video game console. We would be silly not to try, right?
Here are some ways that we feel Ouya could help ClassRealm (and vice versa):
1. Desirable Presentation
If you gave an elementary student the option of playing a game on the computer or playing a game on a home console which do you think they’d pick? If you said home console, you win! Home consoles represent the ultimate focus on gaming (and Netflix) for kids. If I had a console in my classroom I’d have to fend students off with a pointy stick to stop them from fooling with it. I’m sure I would be asked every day if they could play it, especially during indoor recess.
The Ouya would be a great place for students to see their data displayed. Want to check your current level or how much XP you earned in math class today? Jump on the Ouya. Sure, you could just go online, but the Ouya is on your TV! Now your mom HAS to see what an amazing Frost Wizard you are. Imagine if a student was playing another game on the Ouya and a notification popped up saying their classmate just earned 100 XP in the ClassRealm. They would certainly be more interested in getting on the ClassRealm app and reviewing for that test tomorrow.
Though ClassRealm is being built first and formost as an interactive tracking system for teachers, students and parents, we also want to add actual gaming elements to the mix in the near future. Every friday my students participate in Random Encounter Friday, a game where they battle each other to answer review questions the fastest via whiteboards. It would be a lot more convenient to hand the students a controller and have the console dole out questions. Heck, the console could even randomly pick the students or groups who will be battling! Not only that, but students could review during down time at home or as a fun way to recall information for an important test.
Ouya is cheap, price wise I mean. Convincing the school board or the principal to let you use one in your class is a much easier sell then say, a smart board. Or say they don’t go for it, $100 out of your own pocket to help your students isn’t going to break the bank (even on a teacher’s salary).
Let’s say Ouya takes off and ClassRealm is onboard. ClassRealm gets more exposure and gains more of a fan base from gamers, educators and the general public. Let’s say ClassRealm takes off and people see how teachers are using the Ouya in classrooms to help students learn and grow. Ouya gets more exposure and gains more of a fan base from the world of education. It’s a win-win situation.
So yes, ClassRealm isn’t technically a game… yet. It’s simply a system that makes school more fun for all those involved. We are taking small steps in the right direction (did I mention we have no funding at the moment?), but we would love to see ClassRealm show up on the Ouya in the future. Maybe we’ll be lucky enough to get a dev kit for free via their #myouyagame contest on Twitter. If not, we’ll have one showing up this spring which we can fiddle with. It’s just nice to know that the possibility is there.