How a Data-Tracking App Is Improving Education

December 7, 2017 - 3 minutes read

In Fresno, California, there’s a new reason for students to jump out of bed in the mornings. At Edison Computech, 7th and 8th graders are tracking their attendance, grades, and regular check-ins for points in a computer game called Strides. The game, developed by an Ohio company called Conquer Apathy, is an innovative way to engage students and help develop good habits that they will retain through life.

Stay Positive

A really unique aspect of Strides is that students don’t ever lose points. It’s about positive reinforcement. “We’re trying to avoid kids opting out because they see these super-smart kids are just going to win and [they] can’t compete,” said Paul Scott, coordinator of Fresno Unified School District’s software development team. “That’s not fun at all.”

This methodology seems to be work. Early user data shows that regardless of race and ethnicity, gender, and socioeconomic status, students who log into Strides two or more times a week have higher average attendance and GPAs. Collecting more points earns students badges (also called “cred”), which sometimes turn out to be fun “easter egg” badges.

Ages 7 and Up

Strides is accepting students from any Fresno public school, grades 2 to 12. It’s difficult to make a game that appeals to such a wide range of children, from adolescents to young adults. But researchers have seen teens and young children squeal at the same meme of a cute puppy, so why couldn’t this idea work?

A school-wide leaderboard helps students keep the competition going. It features anonymous points, but you can find your friends’ overall scores through a social component of the app. Stride even gives students feedback on their academic performance and habits. The developers constantly update the Strides app with more badges, ways to earn points, and even affirmations, like “I am the architect of my life; I commit to coming to school each day ready to learn to affect my future.”

The Future of Education Is Fun

Conquer Apathy has been collecting data but not fully analyzing it yet. They believe it’s still too early to learn any universal insights. However, some user data is already being used to improve the app.

We love Conquer Apathy’s unique utilization of mobile app development to improve education. We’re an LA-based app company, so we’re absolutely excited about the possibility of Strides getting more popular and spreading to our school systems just a few hours from Fresno.

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