13 Yr. Old CEO of Innovative Educational Gaming Company

Anshul Samar is the CEO of Elementeo, a startup company seeking to combine fun and learning. This article provides an overview of the company’s goals, video of Anshul’s CEO speech, and a description of the company’s first game which teaches chemistry through a role-playing board game.

This is interesting to me on many different levels. Watching the video of Anshul’s CEO speech gives me the impression that this may have actually been a class project. Regardless, couldn’t a student activity like this be the jumping-off point for effectively integrating technology with teaching and learning?

  1. How many content areas/topics/objectives/skills would this kind of activity include? I’ve noticed 1) math, business and economics, 2) science/chemistry, 3) art and graphic design, 4) language arts, 5) perhaps copyright and patents, 6) ……???
  2. If this was a class project, do you think that the teacher could have ever imagined that this would be the result?
  3. Elementeo is seeking to put the fun back into learning. Has education taken the fun out of learning? It seems that these students think so. What does that tell those of us that are teachers?
  4. If this is not a class project and Anshul and his friends did this of their own initiative then perhaps we, as teachers, should reconsider what it is that we have our students doing. I suggest that a traditional lesson/unit on entrepreneurship would likely not teach students nearly as much about the world of business (and the other aforementioned content areas) as this activity likely did.
  5. While students weren’t necessarily playing games but rather developing games, this could be an example of effectively bringing gaming into the classroom and integrating it with the curriculum.
    1. Let’s begin to consider all the elements of effective teaching and learning (according to today’s research) that might possibly be identified in a class project like this. Such an activity might include 1) problem solving, 2) discovery learning, 3) legitimate peripheral participation and/or authentic/situated/contextual teaching and learning, 4) communities of practice, 5) collaboration, 6) project management (for those instructional designers among us), 7) ……???

    I think this could be a rich discussion. Please, please chime in.

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    Clif Mims is a Christian, husband, father, teacher, cancer warrior, and fan of the Mississippi State Bulldogs and Memphis Grizzlies.

    48 thoughts on “13 Yr. Old CEO of Innovative Educational Gaming Company”

    1. Awesome! I have seen education in a new light–we as teachers get so caught up in scores and rules and form–sometimes we have to let students go and let them create.

    2. Impressive! Give children opportunities to completely focus on their strengths and interests….and they become CEOs! 🙂 Kudos to all who encouraged Anshul to pursue this project.

      This would also be a great catalyst for a classroom discussion on raising standards.

    3. Bravo! to Elementeo and its creator, but especially to those who supported young Master Samar’s ambitious intentions. This is a great lesson to educators.

    4. I loved the idea provided by the game ELEMENTEO. The idea behind the product is fascinating, a thirteen years old is capable to create a game to learn material taught in school. As teacher we should reinforce this idea and provide tools for creativity. Our students are so used to complete given tasks and follow rules that they lost the capacity to create using their own ideas. We just need to change it.

    5. I to agree that the occupation of teaching is constantly evovling like may other professions such as doctors, engineers,mechanics, etc. and we as educators need to reevaluate the way we do things. What worked 5 years ago doesnt mean it works today. As evident in this post, our students are getting smarter and coming into the classroom with a wealth of already acquired knowledge and we are going to have to keep up. I an never amazed at the possibilities students come up with because they are endless. However I do think that this particular situation, though a brilliant idea, is more of the exception, than rule.

    6. Teachers do need to re-think and re-evaluate how they deliver instruction. Just as other occupations evolve, so has teaching. Understanding that the new way of delivering instruction is a part of this evolution is imperative for educators.

    7. I enjoyed watching this young man describe his educational product and confidently say that he needed $100k. This is exactly the kind of assignment our students need to push them to obtain higher order thinking skills. I can see how students could use a graphic organizer to develop their idea. Then they could follow up with a power point presentation which would allow them to research and flesh out the idea some more. Finally I think developing something online by using a program that allows you to print cards or to design a game online is a great final project. For new teachers like me I think that it is easy to be fearful of a project like this because we may not feel capable of walking through the process with the student, but I think the tools that I have listed above would be helpful.

    8. Part of my comment will refer to the topic of breeding creativity out of school children. Anshul is a perfect example of a child that has has the opposite effect. He was a very articulate 13 year old. He was much more articulate than a lot of the adults I run across in daily life. School and education needs to foster more creativity in children. Our system now dumbs down children and expects so little that they have nothing to excel or surpass. Chemistry games like Anshul’s would get more children interested in chemistry and other science fields that go lacking. Too many children and young adults today cannot make change or tell you the chemical composition of a water molecule. This coupled with the Shift Happens video does not bode well for our country’s future. This is one of the reasons I have felt led to go into teaching. The present education system needs more men and person’s male/female that have succeeded in the business world. Children need to learn to think creatively. This is one of the types of HOTS we discussed in this course. Creative thinking involves higher order thinking, but thinking outside the box. Seeing a new path that know one even knew was available. Just as Shift happens talked about problems we don’t even know need solving are coming upon us in just a few years. The product we are turning out with the present education system is broken down and needs attention from many fields of our country. Business leaders, science and math fields, and other areas need to come together to better educate our young children. Mark Hamsley

    9. I don’t think that”education” per se is what has sucked the fun oxygen out of learning. It is the “industrial production” type of education that “high stakes testing” has encouraged that has killed spontaneity, creativity and fun. But the use of technology could be a starting point from which the “Empire strikes back”, since it allows students to use tools that they have fun using anyway, in their learning process.

    10. I found this article to be very interesting. As a new teacher I am often trying to find fun projects that incorporate all of the various skills we are learning. The students enjoy the lessons and I have found that they retain the information so much better. I wonder how many Anshul’s we potentially hinder by not using these strategies.

    11. Games are great for teaching, not entirely unlike the way Mr. Miyagi taught Daniel paint the fence, wax on wax off . . . This is a gaming is a great way to teach chemistry. So is blowing stuff up in a lab. Really, my favorite lessons in high school chemistry classes were when something was on fire or something exploded. Our lessons need to be interesting. Think, would you want to sit through your class?

    12. This is a very interesting story and should cause teachers to rethink their expectations of their students. I’d wager a guess that none of Anshul’s teacher would be able to do what he did. This is a great reminder of what adolescents can accomplish.

    13. This encourages me to pursue an idea I had about kids creating a business in art class. They could begin by creating the whole facade of the store front and building it (tactile) and then move into the graphic design realm of creating a brand- logo, tag line…etc. They could finally, create a website for the company or at least on online presence- store front! ohh boy!

    14. The creativity of these students is amazing! I think schools need to provide an environment where this kind of thinking is encouraged, but students are also compelled to stay in school unlike the Bill Gates and Mark Zuckerbergs of the world.

    15. 13 years old! No way!! Kids can do anything. No way I could bet him at that game ever.

    16. This is amazing! And to think, I’m twice his age and probably couldn’t come up with something like that! This gave me some great ideas for how to make school more fun for my students.

    17. I would definitely by this game. Lots of people talk the talk but he’s walking the walk. When I study I have to be creative I sing things to remember and draw representative pictures so I love the creativity at thirteen. Hello teachers your students don’t have problems or bad they are BOrEd!!!!

    18. Sweet! Im always looking for ways to make the learning experiences a fun but serious and valuable one! LOL! The future is promising for the young children of today.I want to contribute as well! Way to go Anshul!

    19. It never seems to amaze me creative our students could be if we instill high expectations in them. This young man is definitely on his way to designing a world of innovative technology to enhance teaching and learning. I’m very impressed and hope to one day impact the lives of not only my children, but others from what I have learned in your DYNAMIC IDT 8061 CLASS. This is awesome!!!! Thanks for sharing. I LOVE YOUR BLOG!!!

    20. I wish they would have used this kind of stuff when I was in school. I am fascinated to how the students can up with the game. I am not that creative now, much less when I was 13.

    21. I am fascinated that young students created a web-based game for students. This would have been an interesting alternative than my chemistry teacher who was always dressed to golf right after class.

    22. It is absolutely amazing what kids can come up with if we allow them some creative edge. I know of several pre-teen and teenaged kids who really get into role playing games. What an awesome way to teach chemistry!

    23. I’m a huge advocate of using gaming/simulation in the classroom. I used this technique for a couple of years in some of the Marketing classes I taught. The particular game that I used added a “real world” aspect to the business concepts the students were learning in class. Plus, it was fun for them, which motivated them to become more engaged with the content.

      Hats off to Anshul Samar! That’s true entrepreneurial spirit!

    24. Chemistry is one of my least favorite subjects, but I would definitely play his game; and I’m sure I would learn more from the game than I did from two years of Chemistry classes. Games like his appeal to my competitive side, and I would want to learn all I could just so I could beat my opponent. What a great idea.

      Dr. Mims, this entry was about a year ago. Any word on if he made his goal?

    25. I think Anshul is cool and like him, at 13, I thought textbooks were boring. I like what he is doing by creating the board game, I loved and still love playing games. It appeals to that fun seeking side of all teens and preteens while teaching an arguably difficult subject matter. I have always been a creative person who loved working with technology. I wish that I had a teacher who could have helped me tap into my critical thinking and problem-solving skills even more. Maybe I could have created something too. This inspires me to continue and expand on teaching my students to use higher-order thinking, problem-solving and to think outside the box. I will show this to my students so they can know that they can do anything. Hey, my brain’s not dead and I’m still young. Keep your eyes and ears open for something from me one day.

    26. I was very impressed with the creativity displayed by Anshul. I agree that children learn more when presented with fun and engaging activities, and technology is providing the tools to make this happen. I believe teachers have to integrate a variety of methodologies and resources into their classes to capture the attention of various learners. Games are excellent tools that promote learning and retention. We should encourage students to create games to help each other learn. This would be a good way to encourage creativity and critical thinking skills in our schools.

    27. What a fantastic way for kids (& adults) to really learn chemistry! Not only is this an excellent learning experience for the founders of Elementeo, but I’m sure all of the children who have played this game have learned more about chemistry than I did sitting at the back of a classroom memorizing the periodic table. Sometimes I find myself thinking that creative learning methods are restricted just to English, Social Studies, foreign language, and the like, but the creators of Elementeo have proven that even scientists and mathematicians can have fun too.

    28. When I turned 13 I was trying to find a basketball and my friends, that is so impressive.

    29. After careful consideration, I can see the point of standards and how they direct learning. It is an effective way to focus teachers and students alike. But it is important to have a certain flexibility in the standards to allow for the Anshul Samar’s of the world.

    30. Wow, what a very articulate and poised young man! It is very reassuring to see that young students can be so creative and innovative when it comes to education. I tend to get apprehensive with the advancement of technology, especially outside the classroom, with Nintendo and other such games because it seems to pull children away from the fun of learning. It is great to see technology playing a role in making learning more fun. I believe students learn much more when they are enjoying and interacting with their lessons. I hope there are more Anshul Samar’s out there in the world contributing to the advancement of education.

    31. I was impressed with Anshul Samar. Congratulations to his parents and teachers for believing in him at such an early age. I used to teach fifth and sixth graders and all they were interested in was playing video games. I feel great joy to know that there are still students who are willing to go the extra mile to stimulate their minds.

    32. This little boy is awesome. I was really shocked at what he accomplished, and the students. When I was his age i don’t think that I would have had the mind to do what he did. His parents should be very proud. He gets ***** stars from me. He lived up to the challange

    33. Children today are not like children 20 yrs. ago. They absorb information a whole lot faster. I have a 5 year niece who is learning Spanish and sign language. I didn’t learn Spanish until college and I dont know a thing about sign language.The point is kids need to be challenged more. Teaching children to think creatively like Anshul should be mandatory.

    34. I was also impressed with Anshul Samar. It is amazing to see a 13 year old on this level, with his own business and website. Many kids now are only interested in playing video games and watching television. I say thumbs up to his parents in raising such a smart and articulate child.

      I do agree that teachers need to put fun back into education. I believe that this keeps the students attention longer while they enjoy the learning process. But I do not believe that traditional teaching should be removed from the classroom, because children need to also realize that life is not always fun and games. The traditional teaching provides structure for the students and also prepares them for higher education.

    35. Wow! I am extremely impressed with Anshul Samar! I think that students that can come up with a game like this would most definitely get bored in a classroom setting where all the teacher does is lecture. I don’t think that lectures and note-taking should be totally wiped out of the classroom, but more educational games and activities should be incorporated into the lesson that is being studied.

      I feel that games and activities, that promote student involvement, may allow children a better way to learn and remember the information being studied.

    36. This is beyond awesome, on so many levels. The children exhibited thinking that more than just gifted, it’s phenomenal. I would love to play this game, and I actually enjoyed chemistry. This would make a wonderful alternative to just lectures and labs in the regular high school, though I would not rule out those two techniques either. I beleive the game should be used in conjunction, not as a total replacement. That said, I do believe teachers should find ways to present information with as much entertainment as possible. That does not mean making a mutli-level Real Time Strategy Card game for every subject, but just presenting the information in a way the teachers wishes it had been presented when they were in school.

    37. What these students have created is amazing. It shows that when kids have something they are interested in, they can do incredible things. Students need to be challenged and allowed to use their imagination to create things.

    38. Too often there is a focus on the basics, the pseudo-science of teaching and standards. This article shows that adults aren’t feeding the need for children’s curiosity that involves storytelling. The art of story telling has seemed to have been lost. Role playing games often focus on storytelling. I haven’t played the game so I shouldn’t say things that are misleading, but I wouldn’t expect this type of game from your students. Kids are capable of all sorts of things, but having access to computers is a privilege not all students have.
      There is another interesting restructuring going on in the way of learning. Here’s an interesting NPR clip that had some interesting things to say about the topic. It also went on and I admit I didn’t listen to all of it, BUT the beginning part said things I agreed with.

    39. I can see where the students are coming from. It is emphasized so much that students need to do well on standardized tests, so in response to that teachers are trying to get through as much information as possible without leaving anytime for fun. It is sad really. I think in order for this to change on a larger scale we need more students like Anshul and standardized tests need to change. I like the creativeness and element of fun being put back into learning. Anshul keep up the amazing work.

    40. Anshul is my son.

      This wasn’t a school project, but something that he came up with a few years ago. He went through many many trials before he settled with this one.

      As Clif lists, the amount of learning has been enormous as it required integration of many other skills including writing, speaking, organizing, technology, money, teamwork, and so on. Anshul was exposed to many of these skills due to some of the prior activities that I and other parents ran/organized in his elementary school.

      In my view, many kids of this generation are very sharp; but it is just that we do not take them seriously. In my view, if there are a few awards (even if much smaller, say $50) to encourage kids to come with ideas, there would be quite a few kids thinking about things perhaps not just in their own domain, but other areas as well.

    41. This might (because, as you point out, Clif, we don’t actually know if this is the result of something from school or just something that these kids did of their own volition) be a great example of the whole notion of teaching 2.0. I’ve noted that you’re kind of headed in that direction, Clif. Am I right?
      I also think that you’ve asked some questions that merit discussion. I’ll share some of my thoughts, but I’d really like to see others around here share their ideas, too. I think this is an important discussion for educators to be having these days.
      My responses.
      Yes, I do think this kind of activity could be a great opportunity to integrate technology with the curriculum in some really amazing ways. I don’t think that the teacher truly can ever envision where students might “go” in an open ended learning environment like this. Discovery/ authentic/ contextualized/ problem-based/ situated learning can really put the learners in the drivers seat and how far they go is primarily up to them…and tying in with your next question, this can also be influenced with how motivated they are by the lesson or project. Finally, yes, I think we are continue to see the the potential contributions that gaming can play in education.

    42. this is way cool. i wish that we could do this at my school. i bet me and freinds could totally think of a game to sell and we might even be able to make ours a computer game instead oof just a board game.

    43. I teach 13 year old students. This article has made me think that I may need to greatly increase my expectations of what it is that children of this age can do. This story just blew me away. I’m going to share this with my teaching team and perhaps we can brainstorm activities and projects that foster this kind of teaching and learning.
      Thanks for sharing this Clif. You’ve got a great blog going.
      Travis T.

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