Today, Mangahigh (www.mangahigh.com) launched the first curriculum-compliant, games-based learning site focusing on maths for secondary school students. Led by Dr. Marcus du Sautoy (maths professor at the University of Oxford and Simonyi Professor for the Public Understanding of Science) and Toby Rowland (co-founder of King.com, one of the world’s largest casual games companies), Mangahigh has already been acclaimed by Vic Keegan in The Guardian as leading the revolution in formal teaching. John Humphries on Radio 4’s Today program also welcomed the launch of a company that is making great efforts to help reverse the downturn in the standard of UK maths education.
As a parent, I wholeheartedly welcome this launch. My 10 year-old son has no problems sitting for hours playing games on his computer, yet ask him to focus on maths homework for 10 minutes and his focus wanders. So, by engaging him with maths through a medium that he enjoys and at a quality that he expects, I know he will learn and have fun doing so. It sounds so simple, maths and games – why has this not happened before? Many companies, individuals and institutions have tried and failed, but the reason Mangahigh will succeed, as identified in The Guardian, is due to the heritage of the two leaders of the company. The result of bringing together a games expert and a maths visionary is games that are worth playing for their own sake, with maths at the core.
With the UK behind Tunisia, Belgium and the Czech Republic in the international performance tables for its maths standards, some new thinking was overdue. Mangahigh has certainly bought that new thinking and its warm reception by the media is proof of this.