Kuato Studios: Reinventing the education system by blending coding with gaming

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Name: Kuato Studios
Industry/sector: Technology
Date founded: 2011
Founder: Mark Horneff and David Miller
Location: London

Kuato Studios was launched in 2011 with backing from Horizon Ventures and SRI International, which both supported the firm’s “learnification” philosophy to evolve the way people learn, and also the way that society observes learning. What that means is combining game mechanics to specific learning skills – while it admits the subject matter is important, skills development is the main focus for founders Mark Horneff and David Miller.

MD Horneff carries 20 years of experience with games studios including Sega and Sony, working on the likes of Call of Duty. On the educational front, director of learning Miller, who started his career as an English teacher in the eighties, is on the English advisory panel for the Times and lectures at the University of Glasgow.

Essentially, the business is on a quest to change the idea of educational gaming, which was supported when the government made coding part of the UK curriculum in 2014.

The company, said: “Where others reinforce the 19th century model of learning and assessment (content followed by assessments), Kuato addresses the needs and styles of every learner by focusing instead on 21st century skills such as problem solving, critical thinking, and collaborative learning.”

Hakitzu Elite is one of Kuato’s successful developments, combining coding with adventure to teach students Javascript while battling robots in the process. The title has been used in more than one million coding sessions by children globally – equivalent to over 60,000 hours of teaching code.

On a wider scale, the firm provides additional teaching materials and student workshops, adding teachers through the process as game-based learning becomes a new factor in classroom teaching methods. Additionally, Kuato works with schools nationwide as part of the 100 hours of code scheme to provide free sessions to youngsters. In turn, the scheme provides Kuato with direct insight, as it said continuous feedback is key for design principles to achieve the right balance of gaming and learning, thus the team learns from teachers and schools.

The business added that even though it is making a profit, it plans to keep expanding the realms of education and the possibilities open to it through technology.

It’s a collective effort from everyone to build a true digital generation, as Miller opened up on the consequences of non-cooperation when he said: “Without such common purpose, we will stifle our own potential, fail our young people and choke economic growth. The new computer science curriculum is a step towards bridging the digital divide.”

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