Would you like an education with that?

Last night I attended the official launch of the Tiny Shops Burgers app by Sydney-based startup, hawt.

The app is an educational game in which you are the manager of a busy little burger shop. The customers line up and place their orders – say, a burger, small fries and a drink – while you ring up their bill on the cash register, accept their payment and return their change.

If you keep the customers waiting too long, over-charge them or short-change them, they’ll become unhappy and you’ll lose them.

Screenshots from Tiny Shops Burgers

The time sensitivity of the game reminds me of Diner Dash in that it demands increasingly proficient priority management and faster performance as you work your way up the levels.

Beyond pure speed however, Tiny Shops Burgers also demands accuracy. Your success in the game is dependent on your getting the mathematics right, which must be done mentally (Heaven forbid!) while under pressure.

More screenshots from Tiny Shops Burgers

I recommend Tiny Shops Burgers because it gamifies a subject that plenty of school children dread. Not only can it develop their arithmetic skills, but also their financial literacy, awareness of foreign currencies, and (arguably) an appreciation of customer service.

But does it work?

I’ll answer that with a quote from a Year 5 student from Hurstville South Public School:

“I don’t like maths but I love this game!”

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10 Comments on “Would you like an education with that?”


  1. That’s the beauty of gamification – if done properly students won’t even be able to recognize that they are learning! The game sounds great, I’m going to check it out. Have you heard of the game “Math vs. Zombies”? http://goo.gl/0PEZg1

  2. Ryan Tracey Says:

    While I’ve heard of Plants vs. Zombies, I haven’t heard of Math vs. Zombies.

    Thanks for the tip Randy, I’ll check it out!

  3. Stacy Charter Says:

    Such an adorable app. I was only just starting to teach my students about money and how to add them up so this will be really helpful to me. So far, I’ve been letting them play “cool” math games on http://www.jumpstart.com. My attention has also been caught by the Math vs Zombies. I love how people are turning technology into a unique learning experience!

  4. Ryan Tracey Says:

    Thanks Stacy. JumpStart looks very cool!

  5. Mark Says:

    Thank you for sharing That’s the beauty of gamification

  6. Ryan Tracey Says:

    Thanks for saying so, Mark.

  7. Anonymous Says:

    Tiny Shops Burgers is now on Google Play Store as well…

    https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=au.com.hawt.playtinyshopsburgers

  8. Ryan Tracey Says:

    Hey, that’s great news!


  9. Excellent article!
    What i believe is ,for students, Gamification serves the purpose of minimising negative emotions that they usually encounter in traditional forms of education. It lets them approach knowledge and skills, using the learn-by-failure technique that is popular in game-like environments, without the embarrassment factor that usually forms a part of classroom education. Instructors on their part can efficiently achieve their set objectives and use currency-based tracking mechanisms to get feed-back on their students’ progress. It is also recommended that instructors remember that gamifying education may require long periods of fine-tuning and most definitely should not replace the original value of human teaching. Gamification in education can be a powerful strategy when implemented properly, as it can enhance an education program, and achieve learning objectives by influencing the behaviour of students. Research states students believe elements such as point systems, leader boards, player profiles, teams, progress bars, and achievement badges to be useful in creating enjoyment for a game. Overall, students seem to favour the following from a gamified learning system: social interaction, engagement, feedback, and increased learning. These seem to suggest that Gamification is particularly suited to learning approaches such as social constructivism and that gamified systems or activities should have a strong focus on feedback.
    I am a researcher at http://www.zold.co and we are working on a similar study. Would love to read more from you.
    Thanks :)

  10. Ryan Tracey Says:

    Thanks for adding your insights, Aakansha.


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