As part of the dissemination of a series of portraits of member companies of the Edteq Association (Enterprises for the development of educational technologies in Quebec), it is our pleasure today to present Nanomonx to you!
Nanomonx is the young Quebec company behind The constellation of the bear, the creation and sharing game that motivates elementary school students to write.
Comic strip workshops at The constellation of the bear
It was by giving comic book workshops in schools that Joseph Baril, head of applications at Nanomonx, had the idea to create The constellation of the bear. The aim of these workshops was to develop the interest of young people in writing, but his experience allowed him to see certain limits of this approach:
- the time spent by the young people on the drawing portion of the activity was very important, and ensured that the pupils had little time to write;
- students with more developed artistic talents obtained greater recognition from their peers than those with less talent, regardless of the quality of the texts;
- the lack of inspiration (or confidence in drawing) by many further limited the time spent writing.
It is by reflecting on how to promote writing with this kind of initiative, while offering an activity popular with young people, that the basics of The constellation of the bear have been established.
Motivation: premise for success
Following this reflection, the team consulted numerous studies focusing in particular on intrinsic motivation, the factors favoring the development of writing skills and the integration of ICT in schools. This made it possible to establish the foundations of The constellation of the bear today: an application adapted to the realities of schools and to the interests of young people which builds students' self-confidence in writing during the critical period that is primary school.
It is in fact during the elementary school years that the loss of motivation - and self-confidence - towards writing most often occurs among young people. This then has a decisive impact on the success of students for the rest of their academic career, writing being necessary in all subjects. However, studies show that the most lasting form of motivation is the so-called intrinsic one: motivating young people only by giving them a reward or a rating has little lasting effect, and may even prove to be counterproductive.
It was therefore necessary to develop a tool that appealed to the very interests of young people, in an environment molded to their passions. This is how the project became both a video game, appealing to their creativity, and a tool for sharing, two concepts at the heart of the interests of young people growing up in today's technological and connected world. In The constellation of the bear, writing is what makes it possible to concretize these two concepts: the pupils write for pleasure, to share their creativity.
At the service of students and teachers
A team of developers, illustrators and engineers always on the lookout for the needs of the education community and connected to the interests of young people was therefore formed to become the Nanomonx company. The constellation of the bear was launched at the start of the 2017 school year. After less than a year of existence, the game has succeeded in rallying teachers, who discover it a precious tool for working on writing in class, and students, who have fun while building their confidence.
Marc Suys, one of the founders, explains: “Our team is continually adding content to the game in order to keep young people energized by discovering new themes, thus regularly stimulating their creativity. "He continues:" Our class visits and our meetings with teachers also allow us to add configurable functionalities which are at the heart of educational needs. The “write to build” functions, screenshot and print, story writing by chapters and pre-built challenge templates are all elements added to the platform following suggestions from teachers and our observations in class. »For the start of the 2018 school year, several additions are planned to enhance the advantages of using The constellation of the bear in class.
“At Nanomonx, we are convinced that academic success depends first and foremost on teachers and students,” concludes Marc Suys, also specifying that The constellation of the bear does not seek to substitute for one or the other. “It is intended as a transmission belt between the competence of the teacher and the interests of the students. Our efforts are therefore always deployed to facilitate the linkage between the two! Beyond the production of a purely entertaining video game, we want to give teachers a valuable motivation tool in a learning area where there is little, languages. We will always be happy to discuss it with you! "