A group of passionate educators from Singapore have developed a unique and fun way to incorporate games in their school for youth with special needs.
Along with their advanced teaching techniques, these teachers have used gaming – both online and at in person meetups – to launch a one-of-a kind school and community to help students overcome special learning barriers.
Swords & Stationery (S&S) is an educational program tailored to help young people with certain learning difficulties, such as Dyslexia or Autism Spectrum and Attention-Deficit Hyperactivity Disorders (ADHD).
“I wanted Swords & Stationery to be a safe place for kids and youth (especially those at risk of delinquency) to play games, make new friends, and have fun,” explains Shaun Low, one of the founders.
The educators use role-playing games and board games as a tool to teach their students subjects like English, History and Social Studies in a fun and interactive way. The school also partnered with psychologists and occupational therapists
The Challenge: Become a Family-Friendly Game Hub
While the educational center focus on teaching, Low thinks it should not be limited as such. “I want to encourage game masters to bring their groups here to play. I would thus need a way to incentivize people to come over, purchase stuff, and participate in activities,” he says.
To meet that need, the online portal of S&S received an event calendar, a blog and additional learning resources. But that was not enough.
The Plan: Create an Inclusive Store Experience, Online and Offline
At their school in Singapore, the team made sure they had space to host events and designed a store where families and students can find items such as dice, books and board games.
The next step was making it attractive as an inclusive, family-friendly gaming community in the area, with the goal of being a comprehensive system to gaming and learning online and offline.
A virtual wallet system was the answer. It needed to let users earn digital points and use them during checkout, making the cycle of engagement and payment friendly and appealing.
The Solution: The MicroPayments WordPress Plugin by CreativeMinds
“I definitely did do a bit of research before coming to the decision to purchase MicroPayments,” remembers Low.
Among the candidates were WooCommerce Wallet, which didn’t have the ability to rename the virtual currency, and WooCommerce Store Credit, which seemed too focused on handling coupons.
“MicroPayments is the only plugin that has sufficiently met my needs,” he adds. “It has helped me to create a virtual currency called ‘Blue Doubloons’. Although it is basically just store credit, I can tie it in with my company’s branding (being that the primary colors are blue and teal).”
“It’s not just a pragmatic solution to providing customers with store credit, but a very appealing one too. And it’s just so easy to use. You can change the name of the currency, even the name of the virtual wallet!” says Low.
Using the MicroPayments Plugin in S&S
Low changed the default name “virtual wallet” to “virtual treasury”. “Points” became the “Doubloons”.
Users can either get Doubloons by participating in in-house events or tournaments or by purchasing them online. The plugin enables them to create discounts – so if users buy over 200 points they get a discount, for instance.
They decided to fix the rate on 10 doubloons = 1 Singapore Dollar. Users can apply the virtual currency during checkout, or to buy gift vouchers, making the virtual wallet a versatile business and learning ally.
Low’s take on MicroPayments is straightforward: “It is the plugin to get if you want a no-hassle wallet/virtual currency system that’s super easy to customize. Also, support is fantastic.”
He also adds that he feels the pricing is justified: “Rarely do I spend $69 and think I got a good deal, but with MicroPayments, there’s no doubt about it.”