Norwegian app aims to make math cool

Wed Nov 28, 2012 5:18am EST
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By Joachim Dagenborg

OSLO (Reuters) - The startup behind the algebra app that overtook Angry Birds as No. 1 in the Norwegian app store earlier this year aims to replicate that success globally next year with four more mathematics games.

The goal of WeWantToKnow AS - to teach 12 years of math curriculum in some 30 hours of game play - is ambitious, but its founders are certain that the success of the first version of DragonBox, the algebra game which has been downloaded more than 50,000 times, proves the target is within reach.

The company will roll out a new version of DragonBox later this year and in 2013 it will introduce games for functions, probability, geometry and numbers, the other key fields of mathematics.

Teacher Jean-Baptiste Huynh created the first game after becoming frustrated with how math is being taught, teaming up with Rolf Assev, a key executive at No 5 browser firm Opera Software more than a decade ago.

Assev brought in other former executives from 1995-founded Norwegian tech star Opera, the oldest browser firm globally and the only publicly listed one focused on browsers.

The aim of WeWantToKnow is to redefine mathematical language for games and adapt the learning process into game play.

"It is the educational part that is really hard, and we have cracked the code. This type of game is going to be a "must have" in all future learning," Huynh told Reuters.

Currently, some 100 schools in the United States are testing the game in a joint project with the University of Washington.   Continued...