After trying to figure out Cheryl’s birthday, I had this clawing thirst for knowledge, at least to prove to myself that passing my primary school education wasn’t just a fluke.
Elevate, named Apple’s App of the Year in 2014, was just what I needed. While everyone else was busy training the muscles in their arms and legs, the founders of Elevate went straight for the big guns, targeting the most complex organ in our body — the brain.
How Elevate Works
Elevate uses the concept of edutainment to promote communication and analytical skills. This is achieved through the use of quizzes, which are presented in various mini-games within the app. Goodness knows we all love doing quizzes — the fact that Buzzfeed has a dedicated section for it is evidence enough. The challenges become increasingly difficult over time to suit the cognitive development of users of the app.
The mini-games are backed by experts in neuroscience and cognitive learning, and they claim to have proven benefits for players both at work and in confidence. And just like that, Elevate has turned me into a closet mugger. If you think it is too embarrassing — not to mention costly — to hire a personal tutor to help you improve your language and mathematics skills in your twenties or thirties, then let Elevate do the job for free.
Elevate: Coming Soon To An Apple Watch Near You
It is almost a year old, and already has more than 5 million downloads on both the Apple and Google Play stores. Given the popularity of the app, it’s not surprising that Elevate would want to keep up with the competition by partaking in a piece of the Apple Watch pie: it has announced that it will be available on the Apple Watch, with a version called Apple Dash that will come with four new mini-games.
If the Apple Watch is not for you, though, don’t fret. In an interview with USA Today, founder Jesse Pickard promised that games which will encourage more skills training will be added to the app this year. He said, “We want to broaden the skills we cover — help people pronounce words better, improve their grammar, read faster, calculate tips better, get into budgeting. We’re just scratching the surface now.”
The app only allows users to access three tests for free; any more and you would have to pay for a monthly, yearly, or even lifetime subscription. (Guess the team behind Elevate took a leaf out of the Ministry of Education’s mantra regarding lifelong learning.)
Since I didn’t subscribe for the Pro version, I was only able to play a miserable — albeit stimulating — three games each day.
In a report by AsiaOne in 2014, the Department of Statistics valued the tuition industry in Singapore at $1.1 billion. This value is forecast to grow even more this year, as the competition heats up amongst students and parents alike.
Elevate is hardly a threat to the education industry; while it does promote and even aid cognitive development, the app doesn’t quite go in-depth enough to provide the skills that students learn at official institutions. That said, I see it as a complementary programme for people who, like me, need a mental refresher course on fundamental problem sums.
Elevate should be in every Singaporean’s smartphone; not only because it is fun, but just so that our kiasu minds will be kept flossed and satisfied on a daily basis.