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Brazil Uses Serious Games Creation To Engage At-Risk Students

eLearning Inside News has recently posted an interesting article covering the groundbreaking value proposition of FazGame (MakeGame in Portuguese), a Brazilian-based edtech company.

“Being a country of great contrast, while a majority of the nation’s children and youth have access to education, in some of Brazil’s poorest neighborhoods dropout rates remain high. FazGame has found out that Serious Games creation may be one way to increase engagement and decrease the dropout rate in the nation’s most at-risk school districts.”

FazGame is an interdisciplinary platform that offers a fun and intuitive environment for students to create, share and publish educational storytelling games. The authoring tool is associated with the FazGame Portal, which allows publishing and access to the games at any time and place.

It does not require any prior design or programming knowledge: players can create “point and click” narrative games, composed by missions and scenes. This type of game allows the selection of interface scenarios, characters and objects, and ease insertion of educational content.

Carla Seltzer, FazGame founder, had previously worked for another startup, developing entrepreneurship education methodologies for kids.

“We were working on two projects at the same time: a point-and-click entrepreneurship education game and an eLearning for teachers,” she said in her interview to eLearning Inside News. “Then, I had the idea of FazGame to develop a platform where anyone could create point-and-click games with educational content to help spread the use of games in schools.

“The biggest project we have run here in Brazil is in a Rio de Janeiro municipality, with public schools in high-risk areas,” she proceeds. “These schools generally have students with lower grades and higher dropout rates, but if these students receive additional and engaging activities, they are more inclined to stay at school and succeed.”

“Games motivate students because they are an interactive activity, where they can be proactive and make decisions. FazGame also uses language that students are used to and enjoy. When we include the creation component we empower these students. Generally, in the beginning, students think they are not able to create a game. Then, they start using the platform and discussing the project with their groups, and they even don’t notice when the class time is finished as they are so engaged in the creation process. We have an example of a group of 12-14 years old students from a public school from Rio Grande do Sul that created a fiscal education game. The result was so positive that they were invited to present their concept to the largest conference on game science hosted in Brazil.”

Challenging 10-17 year old students to create their own games and tell their own stories, FazGame brings together teachers and students in a collaborative process of experiential learning. There are already over 200 educational institutions that have the use of the platform in their curriculum, reaching more than 22 thousand students.