Learning site motivates kids with real rewards

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The web is already home to sites galore that offer educational games to make learning fun, but a new one is adding a slightly different twist by incorporating a way to motivate kids with virtual and real-world rewards.

offers what it calls the world’s first “learn, earn and play” experience by rewarding kids for completing educational games with prizes from popular vendors and family sites such as iTunes, Club Penguin, WebKinz, Star Doll and BellaSara. Created by executives from the family entertainment, educational content and toy industries, SmartyCard.com features bite-sized learning activities from supplemental education leaders Learnstar, Ignite and Learning.com. Activities are designed for kids in grades 3 through 6 and cover subjects including reading, writing, math, social studies and science. Kids begin by creating an account with their parents, who purchase a SmartyCard for them, priced beginning at USD 10 for 5,000 points on the site. They then choose from among the site’s thousands of activities and games, taking a quiz at the end of each to assess how much they learned. For scores of 70 percent or higher, the child “unlocks” some of the points on their card—how many depends on the difficulty of the activity—and can redeem them for subscriptions and virtual currency in popular online worlds such as WebKinz, or for physical items including CDs, toys, video games, books, crafts, science kits and DVDs, which can be shipped to their home.

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