"DragonBox is making me reconsider all the times I’ve called an educational app “innovative.” Many educational apps are some form of flashcard, a way to enforce rote repetition and memory with some veneer of interactivity and multimedia layered on top. To be honest, I’m pretty tired of interactive picture books — yes, there are definitely some fun ones out there, but they’re not really any more “innovative” than pop-up books read out loud by an adult. It’s just an extension of the medium.
Here, though, we have an app that is allowing kids to learn a tricky subject through a gradual introduction of new rules and concepts — just like playing through an in-game tutorial where you first learn to look around, then walk, then jump, then pull out your weapons and fire, and then you’re off and running and you never had to sit down and read a manual. When the developers tested their app with hundreds of students in Norway, they found that more than 30% of them were able to solve equations after an hour of playing the game, and that rate more than doubled after two hours."