Social game developer Zynga is moving into school spaces in an official capacity as Words With Friends receives an educational edition.
First introduced in 2009, the mobile sensation Words With Friends has been made over for use within school teaching settings.
Words With Friends EDU is the result of Zynga's refit, and it's being released as a free download for iPad, Android tablets, and on the Web.
The new version of the app is intended for teachers and pupils of grade school years 4 to 8 – children between the ages of eight and 12.
Zynga, which found early success through Zynga Poker, FarmVille and CityVille on Facebook, acquired the studio behind Words With Friends little over a year after the app launched in August 2009.
Remarkably similar to enduring board game Scrabble and first available on iOS and since 2011 on Android systems, Words With Friends became one of the App Store's Top 10 free games of all time, Zynga said at the launch of Words With Friends EDU, with the spin-off's inspiration currently hosting an estimated 55 million matches "at any given moment."
The educational edition has been altered to provide a focus on vocabulary common to textbooks, assessments and required reading, while learning is incentivized through the use of milestone badges and avatar customizations.
On the teaching side, teachers and parents can stay up to date with how students are progressing through the game's milestones and the US's corresponding Common Core State Standards Initiative.
The Words With Friends EDU move follows Microsoft's January 2016 acquisition of Minecraft: Education Edition (also known as MinecraftEDU), which leverages the ubiquitous building block play space of Minecraft to provide education opportunities across all manner of subject areas.
TeacherGaming, the company behind Minecraft modification MinecraftEDU, had also adapted rocket construction sandbox Kerbal Space Program for classroom use and, through an online store launching July 28, is to support several other independent titles including language learning game Influent, the astronomically inspired Universe Sandbox 2, and vehicle construction sandbox TerraTech. — AFP Relaxnews
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