Wednesday, 29 February 2012

Zondlescape 014 - the zondle story

zondle logo
games to support learning

A big thank you...
from the team at zondle!

Following the launch of the all-new zondle, developed thanks to feedback from so many fantastic people from around the world, we are proud to announce that zondle is now out of Beta.

We still have lots of exciting developments in the pipeline, which we'll be telling you about over the coming months, but in the meantime we thought you might like to know something about how zondle came about. So here's the zondle story, so far...

The zondle story...

Zondle has been put together by Ben Barton (CEO), Doug Lapsley (developer), and Wayne Holmes (Director of Education).

Doug and Wayne (an ex-teacher) have worked together over many years, developing various games-based learning titles, while Ben has had a distinguished career in educational publishing.

Zondle was inspired by our children (we have eight between us!), who wanted a way to make their learning and preparation for tests and examinations less boring and more effective. The aim was to develop something that helped motivate children to put in the time needed to remember key facts - upon which, with the support of their teachers, they could then build their understanding and learning.

And the key idea was separating out the content from the games, so that students and teachers could create games to support exactly what they wanted to learn.

After many a long hour discussing the possibilities and sketching out the approach, all the coding and designing took place in a caravan (honestly!) on a campsite in the wilderness area of Gairloch (one of the most Northerly villages on the West coast of mainland Scotland).

Zondle was built here!

In his web-enabled caravan, Doug, his very understanding wife and young children often had to cope with sub-zero temperatures (frozen taps and sheet ice between the van and the toilets) or acres of mud. But it was in the van that Doug designed the zondle character and wrote the 250,000+ lines of code that together make up the zondle experience.

While Doug worked on the design and coding, Wayne (who is completing a doctorate in games-based learning at the University of Oxford) worked on the pedagogy. His aim is to make sure that zondle helps teachers to use games to support how they want to teach. We knew we were onto something when Oliver, Wayne's son and harshest critic, then preparing for his first GCSE examinations, told us begrudgingly 'your zondle thing... you know it really does work...'.

Meanwhile, Ben took care of getting zondle known and out into the world - and the fantastic thing is that now, zondle is being used by thousands of people every day, in over a hundred countries world-wide. A big welcome to all of you!

Together you have created more than 80,000 topics, while more than one and a half million questions have so far been answered on zondle! So, many, many thanks for all your fantastic support!

We also want to thank a bunch of fantastic people who have all played an important role in helping us to get zondle where it is: Barry Corrigan, Ceri Williams, Chiew Pang, Chris Cox, Dawn Hallybone, Geoff Riley, Ian Addison, Jan Webb, James Heal, Paul Long, Jim Riley, Kirsten Cambell Howes, Larry Ferlazzo, Lidija Kralj, Lindy McGuiness, Liz Goddard, Marie-Pierre Graff, Nick Jackson, Peter Richardson, Ray Dogra, Richard Taylor... the list goes on and on, sincere apologies if we haven't named you.

We couldn’t have done it without all of you!

Please do get in touch, let us know if there's any way we can improve zondle for you and tell us how you're using zondle in your teaching and learning. We look forward to hearing from you!

Ben, Doug and Wayne