Announces Competition Winners and Wiki in Support of Game-Based Learning

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Successfully using crowd-funding to power crowd-sourcing—all to help kids learn.

BigLeap, the world’s first crowd-funding prize and reward network for social good, is excited to announce the winners of its first crowd-funded prize focused on building reasoning skills in young children through the power of play.

This first BigLeap competition, spearheaded by Silvia Bunge (Associate Professor of Psychology and Neuroscience at Berkeley) and Bill Ritchie (co-founder and CEO of ThinkFun Games), challenged people from around the world to create innovative new low-to-no cost games that can help improve youth reasoning skills. A $10,000 prize purse was initially crowd-funded and thirty-one entries were successfully crowd-sourced.

In order to ensure a robust judging process, Bill and Silvia created a two-tier judging process. Part of the feedback came from three experts in learning and gaming:

  • Kathy Hirsch-Pasek, a Professor of Psychology at Temple University and an expert in playful learning
  • Roberta Golinoff – The H. Rodney Sharp Chair in the School of Education at the University of Delaware and an expert in childhood learning
  • Mark Engelberg – A renowned game and puzzle inventor

These three judges helped identify the most promising game submissions which were then tested in a real-world student environment by over 100 students.

“The great thing about using real students as part of the judging process is that it really teases out the best concepts. Something that sounds conceptually great on paper might turn out to be un-engaging in real life,” stated Silvia, whose Building Blocks of Cognition Lab managed the entire student judging process.

Based on both sets of feedback the first place $5,000 prize went to the simple yet compelling maze-based game called Mazing Race, submitted by Andy Geremia. In this game students construct mazes from common physical objects and then use those creations in timed and social competitions.

“What impressed me about this game was how it is designed for players to use their own imaginations and then is flexible enough for easy tinkering and improvement,” stated Bill Ritchie.

Other prize winners included:

  • Kansuko for Kids, by Jonathan Meck (2nd Place and $2,000 winner) - A logic game based off of the classic Sudoku that uses a modified board and incorporates basic addition to challenge a kid’s mind.
  • Bloc Runners, by Matthew Renner (Runner-Up and $1,000 winner) – A game in which players traverse a geometrical map by arranging puzzle blocks in order to complete a level and reach an exit.
  • Brainswarming, by Tony McCaffrey (Runner-Up and $1,000 winner) - A group problem solving game that stretches creative thinking, logical diagraming, and more.
  • Hoop Sums, by Daniel Scher (Runner-Up and $1,000 winner) - A team-based game that gives children the mental math practice they need to become fluent in addition while at the same time providing elements of logic, problem solving, and fun in the form of thought-provoking puzzles.

Based on the successful submission of over thirty compelling games the organizers decided to tap into the power of the crowd yet a third time by creating an open games wiki at to host all of the submissions as well as provide a place for the public to post future learning games.

“Our ultimate goal for any Challenge is to drive ongoing and real social impact,” said Victor Cho, co-founder of BigLeap. “Identifying the winners for this first competition really was just the start in many ways. The greatest innovation has limited value if it’s not put into practice. So I’m incredibly excited to see this Challenge move into the next phase--where we can tap into the power of the crowd for a third time and have them improve on, expand, and spread and share these games.”

To visit or contribute to the games Wiki please visit:

For full details on the original Challenge please visit:

About is the world’s first crowd-funding prize and reward network that enables anyone to drive social change through competition-based challenges. The BigLeap platform connects passionate advocates of social issues with the funding and resources needed to solve them in innovative new ways. Unlike other crowd-funding sites or traditional nonprofits, only distributes a reward or prize when a challenge has been successfully solved. Because contributors can opt to get their money back if a challenge isn’t solved they are effectively guaranteed that their support dollars will have an impact.

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