This isn’t just fiction – Brain Chase, an online learning program designed to provide a comprehensive solution to academic enrichment outside of the classroom, is bringing back their summer online learning program for the third year! With it, comes a real-life treasure hidden somewhere on Earth. Children in grades 2-8 act as a modern day Indiana Jones in a 5-week interactive online learning program packed with educational lessons and activities that include reading, writing, math, engineering, art, foreign languages and more. With the help of programs like Rosetta Stone, Khan Academy, myON and Google Books, week by week, these young adventurers complete challenges to unlock clues told through animated storytelling of Mae Merriweather and her team. The first participant to pinpoint the treasure within a two-mile radius will fly with a parent to physically dig up the treasure that will also contains a key to a $10,000 college scholarship! Unlike any other online learning program, kids receive various packages in the mail that include everything from personalized letters and high-quality adventure tools to help them on their quest. Recently co-founder Allan Staker spoke to Examiner about his experience, mission and goals for Brain Chase:
Meagan Meehan (M.M.): When was your company started and why was that specific name chosen?
Allan Staker (A.S.): Brain Chase launched in 2013. We chose the name “Brain Chase” because the program is an academic challenge wrapped in a massive, global treasure hunt, and the first student or team to locate the treasure wins. “Brain Chase” seemed to capture the essence of both the academic challenge and the race for the prize.
M.M.: How did you think up the idea for the Brain Chase and what was the production process like?
A.S.: Brain Chase began as a simple conversation between me and my wife, Heather. By combining my experience in the entertainment industry and her expertise in online learning, we set out to design a program that would keep our own five children sharp over the summer, but then thought it would be a lot more fun to involve the entire world. By encouraging self-directed online learning with fun animations, real-life adventure tools, exotic travel, hidden clues and buried treasures, kids are attentive and engrossed every day for 5 weeks in a program that provides great educational benefits. Our mission is to enrich children everywhere, one global treasure hunt at a time. The production process involves a monumental effort from a number of different teams across the country. We use screenwriters in Los Angeles, an animation house here in Austin, an industrial machining shop to craft the treasures, toy and tool manufacturers from overseas, a wonderful team of online teachers, an order fulfillment team that applies the wax seals and wraps the decoder rings, specially curated content providers in subjects ranging from engineering to foreign language, and a web development firm that pulls everything together into one seamless interface. We’re very program, and we have some fun tricks up our sleeves for this summer.
M.M.: To date, what has been the most rewarding part of working on Brain Chase?
A.S.: The most rewarding part is not only seeing the academic progress of our participants overall, but also hearing the individual stories of students whose lives are touched by the program. We recently had a participant who had lost a significant portion of her 4th grade year due to a brain tumor. She was entering the summer feeling behind, and very frustrated. When her parents signed her up for Brain Chase, she used the program to not only catch up with 4th grade math, but to complete much of her 5th grade work as well. She returned to school with the confidence of being ahead of her peers. Stories like hers are what keep us going.
M.M.: Where do you hope your company will be in ten years?
A.S.: We hope that Brain Chase is a household name to administers, teachers, parents and kids around the world.
M.M.: What advice would you give to someone who is striving to enter a similar industry?
A.S.: With Heather’s deep education background, we already had a good sense of the problem we were trying to solve, as well as the online resources available to tackle it. But bringing in an outside perspective – in this case, from the toy and entertainment industries – has helped us create a program that kids find irresistible. We’ve learned that it helps to look at old problems in new ways.
M.M.: Do you plan to expand?
A.S.: Beginning this year, Brain Chase is proud to offer spring and fall after school programs in addition to our summer adventure. We’re also introducing a variety of new electives to give students, parents, and educators even more choices.
M.M.: Are there any upcoming events that you would like to mention?
A.S.: In the prior years, we’ve offered local events and chases in partnership with libraries, museums, etc. We plan to provide the same this year and look forward to announcing very soon.
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Taking on their third successful summer online challenge, Brain Chase features a never-seen adventure of Tomoe Gozen, a late twelfth-century female samurai warrior known for her bravery and strength. With all new exclusive adventure tools and animation, this year is bound to have kids especially excited! Registration is now open for the all-new summer program here.
To learn more visit the official website, Twitter and Facebook.