The COVID-19 pandemic has altered the behavior of every single person, including children. They used to be kept away from gadget during classes, but now schools have been shut down and moved online. As a consequence, screen time has soared, but it is a much less risky choice than having to gather at school amid the outbreak.
Schoolchildren access learning materials online, watch their teachers’ presentation from the live stream, and upload their assignments. Social interaction with their peers is limited to that during online classes.
To solve the lack of socialization on online learning, StoryChopsticks launched StoryLand, a premium virtual school where students across the world can learn Mandarin Chinese through story creation while socializing with others.
“Our StoryLand is essentially a virtual school that opens 24/7. Students across the world may socialize, learn from native Chinese educators, play educational games, construct their own space, and create their own Chinese stories,” said Wan Ting, the Principal and Co-Founder of StoryChopsticks.
“Our original story materials and the publication of children’s creation further enhance offline learning. We’ve been weaving threads from the physical and the digital world into a social and contextual fabric for language learning,” she added.
Founded in 2016, StoryChopsticks specializes in providing comprehensive online Chinese learning through story creation to 3-12 years old. Its unique pedagogy was delivered by native Taiwan educators via a Disneyland-like virtual ground, StoryLand.
“While Facebook, Microsoft and Google are pursuing metaverse in everyday life, we are building the metaverse in education,” said Sun Yuanxin, the CEO and Co-Founder of StoryChopsticks.
StoryChopsticks is the first educational institution that applies the metaverse—a virtual-reality space in which users can interact with a computer-generated environment and other users.
The method is used because metaverse contains the elements of immersive learning, gamification and imagine-learning, creating an experience-based learning process for children.
Upon entering StoryLand, children will feel the experience of being in school, with classrooms, school yards and all the things with Chinese labels on them. The virtual environment will make children focus on the activities in StoryLand, as such an immersive-learning process is more fun and engaging.
StoryLand utilizes the elements found in video games, providing visual stimulations and the space for imagination. The gamification method is applied during classes through quizzes and interactive games.
Moreover, children can interact with their friends before or after class. They can create stories and upload them to the platform. StoryChopsticks even has a KidPublish program to publish the books written by the students. The first one is titled Zongzi-Child Rhapsody, written and illustrated by three students who are based in Singapore and the United States.
At the moment, most of StoryChopsticks students came from Indonesia (82 percent), and the rest are from the US, Malaysia, Singapore, Australia, Canada, and Germany. The number of students has increased three fold since June 2021, and is aimed to reach 700 students by the end of the year.
Mandarin Chinese is the most spoken language in the world if you count only native speakers. China’s population is currently at 1.38 billion, which means about 25 percent of the world’s population speaks Mandarin. With China’s growing influence in the global landscape, proficiency in Chinese is an important skill.
“Virtual learning can bring a high quality experience for the young mind. We are ready to be the best parent’s partner preparing the future for their beloved children,” said Sun Yuanxin.