Home » 11th Grade Friends Join Forces to Improve Student Engagement through Gamification

11th Grade Friends Join Forces to Improve Student Engagement through Gamification

Mar 7, 2024 | News

High school can be a swirl of priorities, experiences and emotions even on the best days.

How to impress that special someone?
How important is that test?
How to get your parents to give you more independence?
Where to apply to college? What to study after graduation?

With so many things on one’s mind, paying attention in class can be spotty even for the most well-intentioned students.

Denis Romain, inspired by the observable impact of tangible rewards on student responsiveness to teachers, conceptualized a gamification-driven solution that would encourage active participation by transforming the learning experience into a rewarding journey that would entice students.

Although initially starting this endeavor with another partner, Denis welcomed Bassam Boualwan to the concept last fall. Bassam had been selected to participate in ACS Athens OPEN with his own concept last year, but opted to shutter it and join forces with Denis, whom he has known for six years, aligning their visions for a more interactive and participatory academic environment.

In addition to the evolution of the team, their concept has also shifted in the past year. The idea initially utilized blockchain technology and cryptocurrency for rewarding student engagement while also providing financial education; however, the team opted to streamline and focus on the part of the concept that resonated most with students and mentors, alike.

“Our goal is to make this easy for teachers and interesting for students,” explains Denis, now an 11th grader. “Our approach introduces a customizable interface that teachers can adjust to reflect the behaviors they want to reward. Students can redeem their rewards for tangible benefits.”

The validation received from fellow students during customer interviews fueled the team’s enthusiasm. Witnessing unparalleled excitement and suggestions for compelling incentives from their peers solidified their belief in the transformative potential of their idea.

“Since this is a concept designed by high school students, it reflects what actually motivates us,” Bassam emphasizes. “The marketplace currently has options that might motivate elementary-aged students, but when it comes to teenagers, you have to make sure your incentives aren’t cringe.”

As Denis and Bassam progress to the next phase of their entrepreneurial journey, they are set to create a prototype that will materialize their vision, including the incentives designed uniquely for their primary demographic. They are also weighing input provided by teachers during customer interviews to create compelling yet balanced ways to incentivize engagement by taking lessons from massively successful platforms, including Snapchat and Duolingo. The two are excited to build the interface, gain proof of concept and see the concept grow in scale – first at ACS Athens and then other high schools globally.

Both Denis and Bassam have found the ACS Athens OPEN experience to be invaluable, and they encourage fellow classmates to consider submitting their idea in the next round.
“If you have an idea you believe in, that is a good way to start,” said Denis. “The program, the process, even the mentors – who give you genuine, transparent feedback – help you grow. Not as a kid – as a future entrepreneur.”

In the end, Basam sums it up by saying “ it is the closest you can get to the business world while in school.”

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