CLEVELAND — There is no doubt kids love video games.
Right now, Roblox and Minecraft are two popular ones, and a local school district is using something similar to reach students and get results.
Wednesday, Elmwood Elementary School in Garfield Heights hosted the kickoff celebration for the Heroes League Game-Day Statewide Skills Competition.
The gym was rocking with cheers and laughter, and when kids are that excited about something you know it's working. Just ask fifth graders, Kristina and Derek.
"It's about helping people," said Kristina Cobb. "I really like it."
"It's a really fun game to play," said Derek Hill. "It teaches you how to be a better person in the real world. I've learned some science in there and you have some superpowers in there too."
The educational video game simulates life, teaching students both hard and soft skills. The creator, who is a father of five, a lifetime educator and entrepreneur, says it's about increasing excitement and engagement.
"The kids are in there with their buddies in their school and around the world even," said Scott Dow, creator of Heroes League. "It's multiplayer. So, they're working together just like in the real world, and just trying to level up — just like in the real world!"
There are more than a dozen different characters in the game all teaching something unique. Like Gritster who teaches resilience. The Gold Angel teaches entrepreneurship. Mito Chondrian specializes in health and wellness. And one of the favorites among the kids is the Mental Ninja who teaches social and emotional learning.
The game is proving to be a winner for students.
The creator says he's worked for 10 years to perfect the platform through pilot studies with students around the world, and with input from more than 100 gaming and educational experts.
Heroes League is made for Chromebook, which all the students have at Garfield Heights, and is designed as a tool for teachers to use as they'd like and for kids to play during free time.
"From the data we're looking at with schools, the more time students spend in our game the better they do on their state reading, math and science tests," said Dow.
Elmwood's vice principal says they're excited about the early results for their students, especially among fifth graders. Where data shows the best results because they tend to spend the most time playing the game.
In Ohio, local boards of education have control over curriculum decisions and Garfield Heights was one of the first in the state to sign on to Heroes League. There are now 10 districts statewide using it.
The champion of the Ohio skills competition will be named in April. It is based on who accumulates the most points and skills learned through challenges.
Dow says Heroes League is available free of charge to school districts. They just need to sign up.
CLICK HERE FOR MORE INFO: Heroes League Game Day – Learning Skills that Matter
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