Due to the coronavirus outbreak, schools in Maryland are out of session through at least Apr. 24. When schools closed a couple of weeks ago, parents became overnight teachers. Meanwhile, teachers had to reevaluate how they disseminate information to their classes.

Now, most parents are not only trying to educate their children but also working from home. As the weeks continue, most parents are looking for tools like Legends of Learning to assist with their children’s education.

Founded in 2016 by Pikesville native Vadim Polikov, Legends of Learning is an educational platform used at home and in classrooms nationwide.

“We believe teachers are legends, and we made this platform for the classroom and for teachers to send home to the legends of learning at home, who are the parents,” says Polikov, a graduate of Duke University where he received a doctorate in biomedical engineering. “The platform lets teachers and parents assign specific content for kids to play through, or the kids can pick what learning games they want to play based on what they are learning.”

Through research studies with Vanderbilt University, Polikov found students who supplemented with learning games outperformed their peers who received the same instruction from the same teacher.

And with approximately 4 percent of students in the United States using Legends of Learning on a regular basis, the platform is ideal for parents during this unprecedented time.

Jmore: How does Legends of Learning work?

Polikov: “Research on screen time shows it’s not about the amount of screen time, it’s about the quality of that screen time.”

Polikov: There are 2,000 educational math and science games for students in grades third through eighth. There are two modes of learning built into the Learning of Legends platform. The first is for teachers who use the content in their classrooms and create a playlist of games and assessments for students to play based on their curriculum.

The teacher can also inform students of what games to play while at home through a playlist, which is a great option for right now. With schools closed, the teachers still have the ability to send home assignments via Legends of Learning. The second mode is for parents, and can be played at home without the direction of a teacher. Parents can assign their child these engaging games and know they are practicing grade-level math and science.

Why create learning games?

Human brains are wired to learn through experience and play. That is how we grow up, learning through play. Game developers figured that out and make entertainment games that take advantage of the human psyche.

These same developers are now making highly engaging educational games that get to the core of human nature, learning through experience and play. When these games are introduced, students are not only more engaged and more likely to complete assignments, they are also learning better because is this the natural way of learning.

Many parents already worry about too much screen time, and these games are played on the computer. Should that be a concern?

Research on screen time shows it’s not about the amount of screen time, it’s about the quality of that screen time and what the screen is being used for.

If your child is engaging, interacting and learning from the screen, that can be just as good, if not better, than other types of engagement done in the classroom. Studies prove students who play learning games outperform students who get only traditional instruction from the teacher.

How can parents use Legends of Learning while their kids are out of school during this pandemic?

Polikov: “This program allows parents to make sure their children are learning during this time.”

This program allows parents to make sure their children are learning during this time, while still being able to do their own work or accomplish tasks around the house. The games test kids on their knowledge and automatically progress the child through to the next level of the curriculum if they show they know the content.

The kids do all this while fighting bad guys, going on quests and customizing avatars. Plus, if they are using Legends of Learning in their classrooms, the students can see how their classmates are doing on the games.

Worksheets are boring in nature and parents usually have to hover when their child is doing them. Games are the opposite; they are fun and exciting by nature, and allow for parents to get other things done simultaneously.

How will parents track their child’s educational success?

A parent can sign up for a free teacher’s account and get back-end data on their performance just as their teachers would. We are excited to be offering everything, including platform upgrades, for free right now. It’s a tough time for everyone, including parents, teachers and students. We are working hard to roll out new features every day to continue helping teachers and parents during the coronavirus outbreak.

For information, visit legendsoflearning.com/.