Blog Post #5

Group: Bishoy, Ugochi, Tommy, Allison

20 FAQ’s:

  1. Where the app will be available (platform)
    1. Right now we have an elementary version of the app for android phones. Android is used more commonly among this age group in Kazakhstan, based on questioning our partners.
  2. Where do you get stats for your environmental goals?
    1. We have researched that the recycling rate is 11% in Kazakhstan right now, and projecting an increase to 40% by 2024 is reasonable because the infrastructure is already there, citizens just have to be taught how to be more sustainable; which our venture/app does.
  3. Roles of small businesses?
    1. Small businesses are a core part of our reward system. In our 4 categories, (in game customization, in game power ups, classroom rewards, and gift cards) small businesses would contribute gift cards for users to earn by actively using the app. It makes a win-win situation for both parties because small businesses can advertise our app to people in Almaty, and we can advertise their businesses in our app.
  4. Why did you choose this age group?
    1. Our app is for three age groups; 6-9, 10-12, and 13-16. We chose these ages because that is when children are the most impressionable and formulate lifelong good or bad habits. It is also the age range to most likely find an app/game engaging to play.
  5. Are there current gamification apps that have been successful?
    1. Grendel Games is a company in the Netherlands that has created many successful gamified apps. One of them is called Water Battle. It takes the users (primary school children) through a story of a character in the water network in a city in the Netherlands, and the user learns to use water and energy wisely. This is a very similar concept to ours, and they have found successful, measurable outcomes.
    2. An IEEE publication: “Using Gamification to Incentivize Sustainable Urban Mobility” discussed a case study on a green game called Viagga Rovereto which enhanced Rovereto, Italy’s sustainability in mobility.
    3. IEEE : “A mobile gamification learning system for improving learning the learning motivation and achievements”
    4. IEEE : “HomeSchool: an Interactive Educational tool for child education”
  6. How are kids going to influence their families on their habits?
    1. Children involve their families into their school lives, for example mothers tend to help children with homework, so the family will definitely be involved with a new and innovative idea.
  7. Verification and validation of concept
    1. We have been arranging for the app to be distributed among our partners, but we are still waiting for a final MVP to test it. But we have already heard from a few school teachers (including Xeniya Volkova) that our concept could work.
    2. We have surveys created to send out to students and teachers in Kazakh schools as soon as we hear back from our contacts.
  8. How will the reward system work?
    1. Each sustainable act will earn the user a certain number of points. To get to the next level they need a required amount. In our 4 categories of rewards, (in game customization, in game power ups, classroom rewards, and gift cards), users will be able to choose where they want to spend their points. Outside rewards such as classroom rewards or gift cards will require more points, therefore incentivizing users to complete more sustainable actions.
  9. Inner workings of the app?
    1. There will be a storyline to engage the user, and tasks and quizzes for them to complete to progress forward in the app’s levels.
    2. Will be answered more effectively with a 20 second video. We can send the link to you afterwards if you would like further information.
  10. How is your app an example of a smart city innovation?
    1. Smart City innovations can range in scope. Ultimately it is some sort of technology that improves citizen’s quality of life. We have written a paper for IEEE’s GHTC conference that was accepted titled “A Taxonomy of Smart City Innovations.” We can send you the link afterwards if you would like to read it.
  11. How can you quantify the impact of the venture and is this impact even a significant role in the potential increase in the recycling rate in Almaty?
    1. We quantify impact using the number of active users compared to the number of schools and students in Almaty. For example our goal is to implement our solution at 4/8 international schools in Almaty. We also plan to quantify by calculating the recycling rate, and also by our quizzes in the app to determine if the students gain knowledge as they play.
  12. What market share might this app have in Almaty?
    1. So there are not a lot of gamified recycling apps in Kazakhstan currently, so we aim for a decent market share of 20%?
  13. How have you tested the app among students, teachers, etc.?
    1. Unfortunately due to many covid restrictions, we haven’t been able to test the app among students or teachers, but as soon as it is possible/safe, that is our next step.
  14. What role do your partners play in the venture?
    1. Our partners in Kazakhstan play a big role in validating our app. Throughout our creation and development process, we shared our progress with our partners to get feedback, criticism, and any advice or recommendations that we could use to improve our process/designs.
  15. What social / cultural barriers are expected?
    1. Their methods of teaching, project management, and achieving goals are different. We use a more active and persistent approach, which sometimes clashes with their work ethic.
    2. Kazakhstan is being affected by covid as well, so communication is more difficult now.
    3. It’s a new form of teaching, so it will be met with skepticism.
    4. Environmental literacy and sustainability is a few field of study being implemented into school as far as we know from a few of our partners
  16. How are you planning on funding the development of the app?
    1. We are currently working on a proposal for IEEE SIGHT funding.
  17. What is the significance of using the Saiga antelope?
    1. The saiga is an endangered animal native to the Kazakh steppe, so we wanted to integrate the idea of increased sustainability and recycling with improving the environment for endangered saigas.
  18. How are you incorporating Almaty or Kazakhstan into the design of the app?
    1. All of the sustainability acts will be mindful of the user’s location and what is available and accessible to them in Almaty.
  19. What about students who don’t have access to a mobile device? Will there be a web-version available?
    1. Once we have our app worked out, we can then work on a web-version. However, phones have become progressively less expensive, so most households in Kazakhstan have at least one mobile device.
  20. Why do you think your approach of using gamification and education will be successful?
    1. Literature: In reading many publications about gamification successes, if it includes some form of “persuasion” it is able to change habits. The paper “Gamification of Persuasive Systems for Sustainability” emphasizes this. Also more IEEE papers back this up with successes in children with dyslexia, and ADHD learning to manage better.
    2. Strategy: We will have a storyline to engage users, and rewards to incentivize and persuade effectively.

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