Insights

Working with universities, a great experience for Emile

We’ve been working with Manchester Metropolitan University for two years now. 

It has not been painless and it has not been cheap. 

However, the results are (I believe) breath-taking.  

By 2014, we had supplied Cyber Coach into more than 10% of the primary schools in the UK and Ireland and were looking to expand our product offering. We were obviously aware of the changes in the Key Stage 2 curriculum and were particularly keen to produce a new MFL resource. But rather than produce just another resource, we were looking for a uniqueness, a real reason for schools to use our new resource – above all the excellent resources out there. 

We met Sarah Lister (a MFL specialist) and Pauline Palmer (a primary maths specialist) based at Manchester Metropolitan University and they introduced us to Content Language Integrated Learning (CLIL). We were blown away by the depth of research and acceptance of CLIL in Europe and beyond. 

CLIL is about teaching a language in the context of another subject – in our case, teaching French in the context of Maths. At its core, CLIL insists on students simultaneously learning the language and the maths as well as really engaging with the resource. 

So we have spent the last two years designing and building over 200 maths games that are genuinely engaging, with constant input from Sarah and Pauline. We have looked at successful gameplay mechanics such as tetris, flappy bird, fruit ninja, where’s wally, etc., and adapted them into a fabulous Key Stage 2 maths resource called “Emile”. Throughout the process, Sarah and Pauline were ensuring the games meet not only the UK’s National Curriculum but also follow the “Big Ideas of Maths”. 

Working with a huge organisation such as Manchester Metropolitan University, with layers of management, is a culture shock to a small, dynamic SME like Cyber Coach. However, the knowledge these organisations have and the reach they provide are priceless. 

With not a small amount of pride, I am pleased to say Pro-Vice-Chancellor Professor Richard Greene is hosting a “Digital Play and Learning in Schools” event on 28 September, where we will be launching Emile in the UK. Anyone who’d like to come is more than welcome!

We will also launch Emile in South America at Bett LatAm as we are now taking part in BESA’s Trade Mission to Mexico in October, following reseller enquiries.

If I was to give advice to an SME about to work with a company that has more than 10,000 employees, it would be this: expect pain, but with a bit of endurance, also expect some fantastic results!

Glen Jones 

Managing Director, Cyber Coach/Emile