“Students at the Margins” Fellow speaks about educating disadvantaged children through interactive gaming
In a room full of higher education experts, Antonio Puron is an outlier. He doesn’t have a background in promoting higher education, or any level of education for that matter.
Puron is primarily a businessman. He worked for the global consulting firm McKinsey & Company for nearly 30 years, specifically serving clients in the energy, chemical and petrochemicals sectors of North and South America. But in 2011, Puron founded an NGO called Inoma, devoted to providing free gaming-based education at the primary level.
“[Primary education] is the single most important determinant of how people advance to higher education,” Puron said in an interview with Salzburg Global.
Inoma’s gaming website, TakTakTak, currently offers more than 60 educational games to approximately 130,000 users worldwide. With mathematics, for example, children have free and unlimited access to interactive games that teach basic operations like addition and subtraction, up through more advanced concepts like working with fractions.
The breakthrough, according to Puron, is that TakTakTak games engage children intellectually without making them feel like they’re learning. The system allows the children to learn at their own pace, and meanwhile tracks their progression and offers suggestions each time the child logs in.
Puron said he hopes to expand the project into Latin America, Africa and Asia. While in Salzburg for the “Students at the Margins” session, Puron discussed a potential collaboration with session partner Educational Testing Services to offer the gaming system to refugee children around the world.
Jonathan Elbaz | 28.10.2014