Mastermind Quiz Corner – Employing innovative gaming technology to educate the nation’s children

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Webmaster of GX Media Girendra Persaud explained to Guyana Chronicle the cutting edge technology that he and others used in crafting the website, which hosts the Mastermind Quiz Corner. “The project presented some new and very unique challenges that were both exciting to solve and to implement. I am very happy to a part of this game and to play the critical role as the developer and consultant,” said Persaud.
He explained that the true reward of the project “is to see every student at the Grade 6 level having the opportunity to experience the excitement of the game.”
Persaud expressed the hope that he will see the game one day becoming a requirement for all students who are preparing for the national Grade 6 examination in Guyana.
Explaining the gaming website’s technical details, Persaud explained that the website and the game engine were built from scratch using open-source technology.
“Initially the implementation was done using a free Content Management System (CMS) but we quickly found that there were limitations to fully support our requirements. This approach was quickly scrapped,” he said.
Persaud said that the final implementation was done with a bottom-up approach using PHP as the main scripting language, MySql as the game database, and JQuery for support to the effects and the general user interface of the game.
He said that other supporting software required to have a full game experience are Adobe Flash Player for animations, RealPlayer Browser Plug-in for audio.
The Game Engine, he said, has five major components: Question Randomization, Audio/Sound Effects, Scoring and Recording, Time Management (playtime and question time limit), and Session Management.
The game’s vision, as conceptualised by its mastermind, Chronicle Chairman Mr. Keith Burrowes, is to stimulate thinking among the target population, encourage them through healthy competition, challenge their intellect, evaluate their performance, and offer general practice for students who are preparing to write the National Grade 6 Examination in Guyana. The game is an online educational tool that can be substituted for general practice and performance assessment for the National Grade 6 Examination.
The game was developed to offer questions in five categories English, Mathematics, Integrated Science, Social Studies, and General or common knowledge.
The game challenges players in an online interactive environment that is time-limited and dynamic. It presents questions in a random fashion and players have a time limit to answer each question.

The game adopts a leader-board system that tallies accumulated scores (in all the subject areas) for each player. The players are positioned based on the total scores gained in the game.
The design of the game allows weekly prizes to be awarded to players with the highest accumulated score for a period.
To become a player on the game, a pupil must be accepted through an application process for membership. Application forms are available in the local newspapers and when completed can be dropped off at the Guyana Chronicle, Lama Avenue, Bel Air Park.
Once a player has been accepted, access information would be provided to him or her. Registered (accepted) players will be able to use all the facilities available on the game site, such as game play, profile management, and homework/question forum.
The Game website has several components. Of course, the Game is the main attraction. However, the site also has articles, which give players the opportunity to submit educational articles for publishing on the website; Online Homework/Question Forum, where members are able to ask questions and to provide responses to questions/comments posted by other players.
In addition, there are useful tool to encourage interaction among players. These include Photo gallery, where pictures of events of interest, game winners and anything else that is related to the Master Mind Quiz Corner can be posted; Front Page Random Facts, a system that generates random facts that are of interest to players; and Front Page Leader Board, which lists the top 20 players in descending order on the front page of the website.
There are also a New Players’ List, which lists the last 9 players to join the game; a Winners’ List: Lists the current (on top) and past winners of prizes, a Contact Page, an area that allows for online contact with the website/game support team; and a Help Page, which offers quick help by listing the current rules and modes of play.
Persaud said that the back-end management is equipped to allow the game administrators to fully manage the various areas and components of the website. These are User Management (managing back-end administrators); Player Management (editing, removing and general player maintenance); Reporting; Question Management; Game Mode Management (the game can be run in two modes, a time-based made where players are given a fixed time per day or question-based mode where players are given a fix number of questions per day); and Database Management.