Revision sucks! Simple fact. I remember studying A-Level biology and joking that there should be an A-Level in biology and a whole separate A-Level for all the bazilions of crazy terms used throughout the subject – Biology Language if you will. I remember revising, or rather I remember trying to revise and generally not getting very far. The problem is that trying to force facts into your memory is just hard work and down right boring. To make matters worse it isn’t even very effective for exactly the same reasons – boredom is not conducive to learning. Zammer tries to address the problems of revision by taking the process of reviewing knowledge and turning it into a competitive, head-to-head game.
We started life by winning the HackEd 2013 hackathon at Facebook London, sponsored by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. We entered as much out of curiosity as anything and really just intended to have a bit of geeky fun and poke around the Facebook offices a bit. We decided we wanted to make a competitive revision game app so we set off to help people “Slam their exam”, ultimately winning the event.
I am a primary school governor and have been quite involved with the Computing at School group so I know quite a few teachers. Speaking to a few teachers from various subjects and stages the response to Zammer was unanimously positive. It seemed that teachers shared our assessment that revision sucked but also, we had a lot of enthusiasm from primary school teachers where the competitive element could be used to consolidate numeracy, science and all the rest.
To get a slightly broader view we went along – on our first official outing – to Digital Summer Camp at Hackney community college. I spent the day teaching kids about algorithms. Meanwhile we chatted to teachers and pupils alike and even picked up a few Zammer champions; thusly named “Zampions”.
Now armed with all manner of enthusiasm we set out to build something actually useful and our plan was to test through the Autumn term, launching at Bett in January 2014. We decided that we wanted to make something that would support schools as well as individual learners so we set about creating a teacher tool-set as well as building a web based version of our game.
In the first half of the Autumn term we spent most of our time trying to make things work on school computers (Internet Explorer 8 :|) and get the main game processes to work properly for pupils. From half term to Christmas we looked more at the logistics of how Zammer would be used in a classroom setting and created GCSE Computing content with ernest.
Now, finally, we are ready to launch and are using Bett 2014 as a platform to do this. Schools and individuals can sign up for free at Zammer.co and will be able to access all our tools and GCSE Computing revision content FOR FREE. Come and chat to us at the Edmix Startup Pavilion at Bett to see what our game is all about and tell us which subjects or features would help you the most.
Every day we will be giving a chocolate based prize to the person who scores the highest on our CGSE Computing game and we look forward to meeting you!