Studying and learning can be as fun as playing mobile games. X-routes takes you out to play, learn and have fun.
Educational games are globally emerging phenomenon, but practical tools for education gamification are hard to find. The problem with most commercial educational games is that they cannot be modified by curricular needs, and that they cannot be played outside the classroom. With X-routes, we aim to help people to learn and to experience different environments. The most memorable lessons are learned in situations linked with physical activity, competition and visualized learning material.
X-routes supports teaching and learning by providing versatile new tools for teachers and compelling new ways of taking classes or courses for pupils and students. It gets people moving with functional checkpoints marked on a mobile map. Teacher creates a route, which students follow outdoors with their smartphone or tablet. Along the route, there are quizzes or informative checkpoints directing student activity. Correct answers and accomplished tasks can be rewarded with points.
Liiketoiminta- & markkinatilanteemme
X-routes is an educational mobile gaming platform targeted primarily at first- and secondary schools for transforming lessons to outdoor adventure games.
Mobile defines the growth of learning game market
According to several studies, playing games supports learning. For example, playing foreign-language games is proven to have a positive effect on learning. Markets are in fast growth: according to a report by Ambient Insight, learning games are going through renaissance as games are going mobile. The report estimates the learning game industry to grow from $1.5 billion in 2012 to $2.3 billion in 2017. The growth has been estimated to come from specifically the increase of mobile-based learning game market.
Mobile learning games are already now selling better than their counterparts made for PCs. This can also be seen from investors’ interest towards the market. In 2012, 31 learning game-based companies raised venture capital, and 23 of these were mobile-focused. Consumers’ interest towards mobile learning games can be checked from the top 10 app ranks in several countries.
The challenges of learning games targeted for specifically schools have also been evaluated. The weaknesses are currently linked with schools’ rigid purchasing systems and poor opportunities for content modification by class needs. However, if these challenges can be overcome, schools are undoubtedly an interesting and a fairly untouched market.
Educational Games Change Teaching
X-routes aims to introduce games as a part of teacher’s toolkit. As an application, X-routes is designed to adjust to every teacher’s individual needs, as the game content and scoring can be defined by the teachers themselves. There is a variety of question and answer formats which are also constantly developed: questions and answers can be submitted as images, open-ended text, videos or multiple choice. The format of X-routes is scalable and the end-result is always different with real-life merging with digital-life.
X-routes can be utilized for teaching new things and making the pupils to apply what they have learned. The possibilities are almost infinite since X-routes provides tools unlimiting teachers imagination and creativity.
Supports Kinesthetic Learning
Instead of sitting in the classroom, X-takes kids out and moving. Most effective learning is learning combined with action. It's also the most fun learning! Especially children with difficulty to concentrate and stay still for longer period of time will benefit tremendously from the kinesthetic learning experience provided with X-routes platform.
X-routes Already Piloted and in Operation
The first X-routes was piloted in Mikkeli, Finland in August 2014 as a part of Perfect Sports Month project. During the month, more than 70 teachers and educators created routes to the service and hundreds of students went outdoors to study with the service. Learning continues on the routes, which teachers get to create based on their curriculums - and imagination. In Mikkeli, students get to do arts, orienteer, identify plants, test math skills, learn about sexual health and run relay race.
Currently X-routes is operational as a feature called “Pelireitit” within regional, browser based Seutuhaku-service in Mikkeli, Finland. “Pelireitit” is actively employed by the teachers of primary and secondary schools of the region receiving enthusiastic feedback from the teachers and the kids.
Here is some feedback from the teachers using the pilot version of X-routes:
“I actively look for interesting applications to support teaching, gymnastics especially. I believe schools have responsibility to keep up with ever evolving technology in order to be able activate pupils to utilize mobile applications in sport activities in meaningful and motivating ways.”
“I have tested X-routes pilot version in teaching orienteering theory and health education. The pupils have have been eager to go through the tasks along the routes. The games introduce a welcome and enjoyable variation to school days. The tasks and lessons I have created to route checkpoints have included videos, images and text.”
Anna Haapalainen, teacher, Secondary and High School of Ristiina
“We have been using the pilot version of X-routes with different age groups of pupils. The game enables us to provide meaningful learning activities and has been utilized in various subjects, for example biology and math. Mere getting out of classroom and getting out and about activates the children’s cognitive process. With the checkpoint configuration tools of X-routes we are able to vary the content and form of learning material almost indefinitely."
"For future development, we would like to see the gamifying features of X-routes to be further developed; more variation, faster pace of game and possibility to collect points in various ways. Game-likeness and gamification are the new and major trends in education. However, forced, artificial game concepts do not work for in teaching. A good educational game easily merges to the subject and inspires the pupils to create, solve and innovate; to use their brains.”
Mari Muinonen, teacher, Primary and Secondary School of Rantakylä
The initial revenue model of X-routes is based on annual fees paid by schools. The amount of annual fee is based on the number of pupils of the school. This model will ensure the affordability of X-routes to schools of all sizes all around the world. Once a school has purchased use rights to X-routes platform, there are no limitation on how many pupils can attend a single game or how many games a school can create.
Customer will purchase the use rights for X-routes from a webshop found in X-routes product landing page. With use rights customer will be able to configure the games and allow players to join each game through web interface. Also game statistics and other game management features will be provided. Mobile applications for playing the games will be downloadable free of charge from Google Play and App Store.
X-routes is built on our proprietary cloud-based platform which provides virtually limitless, cost-effective scalability to handle large customer- and user volumes in global scale. This enables us to maintain high quality of service and user experience in all situations.
We have conducted preliminary market research by interviewing teachers in Finland and North America through our personal channels as well as studying global education trends through internet research. All the signs show that there is an evident momentum for rapid global entry with millions of users within three years of service launch.
Provided this financing round is successful, our next steps are to productize X-routes into a globally viable package with 4 language versions, produce brand identity as well as marketing materials and initiate preliminary marketing activities, such as paid social media marketing and content marketing to primary reference groups. Additionally, we will launch a web shop from where the service is available for purchase.
Our plan is to gain credible customer base by the end of 2015. In numbers, this means 600 (20 %) schools in Finland, 100 (2 %) in Sweden, 100 (3 %) and any attainable number of schools in Germany, UK and North America. At estimated median price, this equals to 400 000 EUR of revenue during 2015.
As soon as convincing customer base and revenue stream are established we will execute a second financing round to fuel large scale global marketing effort and setting up of local presence at key market regions.
The team behind X-routes are the owners and CxO team of Observis Oy, founded late 2010. Our experience and working history has proven to nicely supplement each other in building Observis and creating new ideas and turning them into products and services.
CEO, Observis OyPrior to founding Observis Oy together with Heikki and Ville, Tommi has worked at Environics Oy in international project management and sales assignments for 17 years. Environics Oy is an international company specialized in measurement technologies and monitoring systems. http://fi.linkedin.com/pub/tommi-kainulainen/17/ab1/756
CTO, Observis OyPrior to founding Observis Oy together with Heikki and Tommi, Ville has several years of experience as a software designer and architect in demanding software and system projects at for example, Nokia, Sonera and Environics Oy. http://fi.linkedin.com/pub/ville-kanerva/0/109/424
COO, Observis OyPrior to founding Observis Oy together with Ville and Tommi, Heikki has worked at University of Eastern Finland as the Project Manager of ToMoVaKe-project. He has also worked in process development and project assignments at Stellac Oy, a provider of thermal wood modification technology and process systems, and at Savonlinnan Puhelin Oy in business development. http://fi.linkedin.com/pub/heikki-isotalus/b/43b/225
CCO, Observis OyPrior to joining Observis as a partner, Timo was working at Environics Oy as the Area Manager of Asia-Pacific region. Besides Environics Oy, Timo has more than 15 years of experience in international sales & marketing at companies such as Symbicon and Agfa Graphics. http://fi.linkedin.com/in/timopaakki
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According to National Survey of Digital Game Use Among Teachers, produced 2014 in the US by Joan Ganz Cooney Center, with support from Bill and Melissa Gates Foundation, the three greatest barriers teachers face in using digital games in the classroom are
- Insufficient Time
- Lack of Tech Resources
Failing to address these issues with X-routes would be fatal. Therefore, the deployment and implementation of X-routes must be simple, quick and hassle free for the teachers as well as pupils. Additionally, monetization strategy must include distinct purchase models for school, teacher and parent levels, thus supporting variations in nation, state or district procurement practises.
The fourth greatest barrier found by teachers was the difficulty to find games that fit curriculum. Since it will be impossible to build a game platform for each imaginable curriculum, X-routes must provide flexible tools to support teaching of any subject, regardless of teaching system or teaching schedule.
Commercial Expansion Risk
Our strategy is to take X-routes international from the first launch and global after the second financing round. The risk here lies in the second round financing. The first launch must create market traction large enough to attract substantial capital investments. Serious global entry will require 1,5 to 2 Mio € funding to have a chance of being genuinely successful. Therefore, our goal for this financing round should be met and, preferably exceeded in order to facilitate successful first launch.