Converting games into educational apps
"The driving force behind most things I do would be my desire to be successful. Whether this success comes in the form of winning a game of chess when I was younger, getting an A on a college project, launching a successful campaign or raising money for our start-up, the euphoria which accompanies such accomplishments is unlike any feeling in the world."
Rather than seeing the rise of smart devices as an obstacle or distraction to a child’s education, Play.My.Way. Co-founder and CEO, Salma Imad Jawhar a solution that works with the habits and hobbies of today’s ‘always on’ generation, not against it.
Launched in March, 2016, Play.My.Way. is an ingenious award winning app that, once installed on a smart phone or tablet, allows parents to support their children’s learning in a unobtrusive way. At parent-specified intervals, Play.My.Way interrupts any running application with an educational question, and will only return to the app once the question is answered.
Parents have complete control over the grade levels (1-9), the subjects and chapters (Language Arts, Math, and Science), time between questions, and other options. After a test is completed, parents can access a detailed report to see their child’s performance as well as strength and weakness points.
Game for a lesson
This ingenious app that seamlessly marries learning and play (a goal that all parents strive for!) was the result of several months of research and development. “Like many people in this day and age, my family and I are always connected,” says Salma. “Whether at work, school, home or at friends’ houses, we’re always connected either via laptop, tablet, smartphone, smart watch and smart who-knows-what-else-they’ll-come-up-with! To that end, we tried to think of an idea that would get the most benefit out of the massive amounts of time the kids spend on their smartphones and tablets on a daily basis.”
Salma’s own career began in advertising and communications, before a friend and now her co-founder and colleague lured her away to the world of tech and start-ups. “After working at several [communication] agencies, I finally launched my own boutique agency in 2009. Fast forward to 2015, one of my very good friends, Dr. Ahmad Hammoud (chairman of Scope for IT services, and father of five) approached me with the idea of Play.My.Way. After several months of brainstorming, planning, mockups and seemingly endless discussions about V0.1, Play.My.Way. was live on the app stores, and now I lead the business as Co-Founder/CEO…and here I am!”
In the right hands
As with any new project, the success of Play.My.Way. depends on getting it out there and in the hands of parents and their children. Salma and her team have found Facebook to be an invaluable resource in generating interest and excitement around the app. “Facebook has been phenomenal in growing our business,” says Salma. “I would say with a very high degree of confidence that over 70% of our users have come directly from Facebook, and this has helped us in more ways than one. Paid advertising performance aside, the viral impact which Facebook has had (and continues to have) on Play.My.Way is evident right on our page. Some of our published posts have hundreds of people mentioning their friends and family members and urging them to get the app for their kids.
Salma’s extensive business experience means she is extremely well placed to dispatch advice to other women who are starting their own projects or entering the world of entrepreneurship. “I’ve had the chance to assume an advisory and mentorship role with several startups and businesses,” she says. “It’s been very fulfilling.”
It’s a small world
By embracing technology Salma is also able to travel the world, learning from some and teaching others, while spreading the important word and work involved in Play.My.Way. “We’re no longer tied to physical locations and in-person meetings to get things done,” she says. “And this has done wonders for people, both personally and professionally. For me, especially now, while I’m in London as part of the UK Lebanon Tech Hub accelerator program, this has allowed me to network in London, develop our product in Beirut, test it in Bangalore and advertise it to the whole world, all from the comfort of my desk.”
The future of Play.My.Way. is bright and shining, with plans to bring onboard education content authors who will provide even more questions for Play.My.Way. and make it a global proposition, helping children and parents to learn outside of the traditional school or tutoring systems. “Play.My.Way is one of the few apps I’ve seen which truly has the potential to solve a problem shared by most parents and really disrupt the “educational/parental control” apps category. Today Play.My.Way has no direct competitors. It is the first of its kind. We take huge pride in this.”
Learn more about Salma Imad Jawhar Play.My.Way.