The “Mad About Math” competition was hosted by the club and the creator of the StraightAce app, Benesse America. The company is based in Japan, where one in five children use their products.
The StraightAce app is designed for 6th, 7th and 8th grade students. The math app challenges students progresses to more and more difficult math problems.
Contestants solved problems using the StraightAce application along with the audience, which was comprised of over 100 young students. Students in the audience who answered questions correctly received a one-month free subscription to StraightAce.
Likewise, contestants who didn't take top place and win a mini iPad instead received a free six-month subscription to StraightAce, which normally costs $40.
Terence Hughes, executive director of the Variety Boys and Girls Club, said that all of the computers in the club will have the StraightAce app. “The kids come to the club everyday to do homework and have fun, and this incorporates school work with fun,” he said.
Hughes said the hour-long competition was proof that the app engages students. “That's what these kids do,” he said. “They play with their phones and computers and iPads all the time.”
One of the students who walked away with a new iPad mini was 7th grader Emoni Halls. Halls' mother, Carolyn Rowe, said that she was proud of her daughter for competing and actually took off from work to attend. When asked if the iPad mini her daughter won would be used by the whole family, Rowe smiled and said, “I don't know, it's up to her.”
Justin Tedaldi, Business Development Manager of Benesee America, said the product took about six months to create, and he is happy to see students reacting positively to it. “These days more and more kids are interested in mobile learning,” he said.
The app, in Tedaldi's opinion, is a good thing because it allows students to learn and better themselves in an environment that is centered around their knowledge of technology.
“StraightAce was developed with the intention of creating something for the 21st century,” he said.