Grammatikus tries to make grammar a game

grammatikusGrammatikus is an online game where students use grammar to save a world. Yes, its a game aligned with the Australian National Curriculum where users aged 10-16 can improve, consolidate or extend their knowledge of the English language.

The producers of Grammatikus have taken on a big task. Gammification for teaching is usually aimed at the more obvious targets of maths or science; not, I would argue, because the subject matter lends itself to online gaming, but because the target teacher-market has a higher probability of ‘getting’ the concept. So targeting the teaching of English is a big move – and one they manage to pull off.

The background game is nothing new. You’re a character in a quasi-medieval fantasy out to save the world one task at a time. You can customise your character and follow the over-arching storyline by completing tasks centred around your understanding of English and grammar. Grammatikus does a nice job of both teaching and testing. Certainly the game’s presentation is slick and I liked the fact it didn’t get lost in the gameplay; all too often with educational games students can burn through time navigating the environment rather than being facilitated in learning something.

Grammatikus also does not dumb-down its teaching, it tackles some heavy concepts head-on. For that reason it really needs the backing of a good teacher. I would also suggest not relying too quickly on the students’ assessment of Grammatikus: I can easily see students rejecting it on the basis of the content, which in theory they have to learn anyway, rather than on the product itself. For motivated students there wont be a problem; for less motivated students Grammatikus may well need just as much scaffolding as other teaching methods.

The game is compatible with computers and tablets as it’s web-based, which also means no negotiating with IT-teams for installations and updates. It comes built-in with reporting and tracking for teachers. Right now there’s a free trial available – final pricing, however, is vague and requires a specific quote.

Overall I was very impressed with Grammatikus after playing with it and I love the fact it’s from an Australian company and properly aligned with the curriculum. It’s great to see an Australian company tacking a big task like this so brilliantly. Grammatikus is certainly worth a good look if you’re a teacher or parent with students in Years 5-9.

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