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This 15-year-old programmer from Burnaby blends gaming with education

Burnaby teen Nirmay Singh wins regional award for innovative educational game development.
Nirmay Singh from Burnaby North Secondary school integrates gaming and education with his website, The GameBox. Photo Nirmay Singh

A Burnaby teen is channelling his passion for gaming into seamlessly integrating learning and play, and changing the way kids learn.

Nirmay Singh is a 15-year-old student at Burnaby North Secondary school who grew up playing console games — Nintendo, Mario, you name it.

His dream was to make his own one day. That day is finally here.

Singh had a talent for coding and programming from a young age, taking after his dad, a software engineer. Singh, with the backing of his father and the help of countless YouTube tutorials, created a website called the GameBox, in which he integrates education and gaming, helping others learn through video games.

Speaking to the NOW, Singh said developing video games was a natural step given his love for playing them. The idea for creating educational games stemmed from his mother, he said.

“My mom used to be a teacher and now makes these resources for teachers to use in their classes," he said. "Since I like to make games, my mom thought I should make a few educational games that we could play on her site,

The GameBox — which offers a wide range of games covering an array of topics from math to language — garners over 1,000 users every week, and helps students (kindergarten up to grades 7 and 8) learn concepts in an engaging and interactive way, Singh said.

Singh recently won a $1,000 regional award from the Ingenious+ Youth Innovation Challenge, to fund his business.

“It’s a significant accomplishment for me,” he said. “ I wanted to have impact on education; like the way it is, teachers will just hand out worksheets and papers with questions, and I don’t think that’s good for learning. I enjoy learning and doing math when I’m playing a game. Because when you do a worksheet, you don’t understand why you’re doing it. If you have it in a game, at least you can say you’re trying to win the game. So you’re going to learn the concept and do better.”

The GameBox website is just the beginning for Singh. He plans to fly higher — rolling out apps and more.

However, the project he is most excited about working on is an artificial intelligence (AI)-powered game currently in the works. The game, which he hopes to release in the next few weeks, is meant for kids from grades 4 to 12 and is aimed at helping them learn words and languages, he said.

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