According to Ooka Island marketing director Joelle MacPhee, children have been learning to read in the same way for over 100 years — without regard for what level they’re actually at. And in an age of technology, parents may be paying a price; in Canada, many students struggle to read at their grade level.
But during her pitch on The Disruptors, MacPhee said that Ooka Island’s gamified platform ensures that kids learn to read at their level and “don’t fall through the cracks”. Ooka Island includes 80 hours of educational games and 85 e-books which are meant to teach kids how to read. MacPhee said that if parents use the platform three times a week for a year, they’ll read at a grade two level.
“We wanted to make something that meets kids where they’re at in front of technology and make screen time a valuable engagement tool,” MacPhee said. “We try to make learning to read as fun as possible by bringing in a lot of game-based strategies and fun elements that they’re used to in more non-educational environments.”
Co-host Bruce Croxon recalled when Ooka Island pitched to him on Dragon’s Den a few years ago; the company wanted $1.5 million for 30 percent of the company, but Croxon asked for 50 percent. They walked away from the deal. “They were just at a stage where I couldn’t see the valuation so I’m dying to hear how they’re doing. But a great company,” he said.
Watch the whole pitch below:
BetaKit is a production partner on The Disruptors. Tune in to BNN every Thursday night at 7pm for full episodes!