By Hugh John
Footee is changing. Not with the introduction of video technology, or the capping of transfer fees or a clamp-down on abuse of referees. But with Footee 2010, the exciting online education resource that fuses football’s huge global appeal with kids’ love of games, competition and social networking to deliver learning materials that are stimulating and fun.
Created by MotivatEd, Footee 2010 is aimed at children aged 6-12. Registration is free (there is also a ‘Golden Gamer’ subscription for less than £3 per month – details below) and allows access to the Footee website which is colourful, inviting and easy to navigate. It is also, says Phil Clegg, managing director of MotivatEd, “designed to help motivate all children in the classroom, not just football-mad boys less interested in schoolwork.”
With more than 100 games to choose from, including online sessions against friends and online chat facilities which are vetted by parents or guardians, subscribers to Footee are spoilt for choice. They can design their own avatars, explore the Footee Town – with its café, stadium, gym and marketplace – or earn points to buy players for their teams by playing games. There’s even the opportunity to collect and swap virtual stickers of their favourite players - the 21st Century version of playground footie card swapsies!
Participating parents will chuckle at some of the famous football quotes which pop up on the site. From Brian Clough’s less than modest “I wouldn’t say I’m the best manager in the business. But I was in the top one” to Eric Cantona’s gnomic “When the seagulls follow the trawler it’s because they think sardines will be thrown in the sea” we’re reminded that football is not just a game of skill and passion but of sly wit and observation. Those long suffering parents who have supported their kids on muddy pitches in the pouring rain or on damp Sunday mornings will relish the chance to pass on their tactical nous by joining their children in team building and selection activities.
Footee Facts provides enough trivia for even the most voracious young anorak. What was the lowest attendance ever at a World Cup match? Simple. That would be 300 when Romania played Peru in Montevideo 1930. Even the grand daddy of football statisticians, Match of the Day’s Mottie, would be impressed.
Clicking on the Parent/Teacher tab at the top of the page reveals a drop down menu with Lesson Plans and Activities and articles on ‘Footee 2010 in the Classroom’, ‘How Footee Links to the Curriculum’ and ‘Online Safety’. Activities are mapped to the curriculum and are intended to help users reach target levels at key stage 2 in maths, English, science, PE, geography and history. Tim Knight, one of the parents involved in the pre-launch trial was impressed: “Footee complements what my son does at school and it’s great to see him motivated to use the Internet for more than chatting and games.”
Children’s use of the internet and gaming at home, Phil Clegg maintains, “is already more sophisticated than any comparable ICT product in the classroom. Footee 2010 changes that by engaging kids on their level with content they want to use again and again. And every time kids use Footee, they’re completing wide-ranging curricular-based activities.”
Combining the extraordinary global attraction of football with a primary education curriculum that is now virtually standardised world-wide offers, Phil Clegg believes, huge growth potential. “We’re calling it Footee 2010 to coincide with the World Cup next year. We’re aiming for one million users by then.”
It’s an ambitious target but who’s to say they won’t achieve it?
Footee 2010 is free to kids, parents and teachers. The “Golden Gamer” subscription option is for those children who want a higher degree of personalisation and more games, and would like to enter cup competitions for prizes. It is also helpful for those parents wanting a complete educational analysis and recommendations as to what games their child should play next to achieve the next academic level – all available for less than £3 a month.
Go to www.footee.com and click the “What’s it all about” for a quick tutorial on Footee 2010
will.robson@motivated (07834 199314)