Roxie Munro on Gamification and the VALUE of Visuals


Roxie Munro on Gamification and the VALUE of Visuals

For the last few years, almost every Thursday the Facebook Group E.A.T. (Educational App Talk) group has had a special event: EduAppTalk chat. Participants are teachers, educators, parents, authors, developers, and publishers. I am the director of E.A.T. and schedule all of the hosts for these chats along with Jayne Clare, the co-founder of Teachers With Apps. As manager of the group and a contributor to Teachers With Apps, I publish a few posts about the chats with topics that look to me the most important and interesting. Recently, EdAppTalk had one of those chats: it was hosted by Roxie Munro on February 7, 2019. Roxie-Munro-studio-copy The theme of the chat was “The simple gamification of children's books and media, with an emphasis on using visuals.” Below are Roxie’s main thoughts/ideas/suggestions which can be helpful to many developers and educators. “ We're going to talk about why simple games are useful in teaching children, and why visual and good images are so important.” 7954963_orig “Teachers who play are more likely to bring joy into their classrooms, according to a recent study. Learning at its best already has game-like elements that are latent and waiting to be unlocked. Great teachers offer the kind of interactive, discovery-based learning that works so well. For their students, learning already starts to look a lot like a game.” “Bad graphics are harmful! Bad use of visuals deters learners — they can negatively impact learning if they are used inappropriately. When off-topic graphics appear on the screen, like being used for purely decorative purposes, learners will subconsciously try to figure out the message and reason for the image.” “Creators should always avoid pictures that are obviously stock photographs, boring generic graphics that display a clear lack of imagination and creativity, and poor quality images that are pixelated, low-resolution, over-compressed, or badly resized.”  “Designers should only use images that have a clear value, otherwise they are distractions at best and, at worst, give learners the wrong impression. Omit anything that does not directly support the idea or concept.” “I can't bear obviously computer-generated visuals that are generically created. Children should NOT be ‘talked down to.’ By that, I mean non-creative boring visuals. Children appreciate and recognize good art.” In Roxie’s opinion, not only coding, but of course the app ideas are important, but they need to be created with “beautiful and enticing visuals.” 2536220_orig “About 60% of kids are visual learners (seeing). The two other learning ways are auditory (hearing) and tactile-kinesthetic (doing). No one uses one of the styles exclusively, and there is usually significant overlap in learning styles. During childhood, each person advances through various stages of each style. Very young children are all kinesthetic learners. Visual and auditory preferences emerge later. But each person is born with tendencies toward one main style.” “The brain can see images that last for just 13 milliseconds. Our eyes can register 36,000 visual messages per hour.” “We can get the sense of a visual scene in less than 1/10 of a second. 90% of information transmitted to the brain is visual. Visuals Stick in Long-Term Memory.” “Visuals are processed 60,000X faster in the brain than text. 40 percent of nerve fibers are linked to the retina. Visuals have been found to improve learning by up to 400 percent.” More info about the artist Roxie Munro one can find at her website at and at Print books are available on Amazon and  the KIWi large stand-up murals (they also have table-top sizes) could be found at I would like to finish this post with two quotes Roxie mentioned in the chat: “Life is more fun when you play games,” Roald Dahl “Children up to three years old chose simple images based upon shape (based upon motor behavior and “graspable” qualities); from 3 to 6 children selected by color (perceptual appeal). After age 6 it was a combination of both – with shape a little more dominant (kids having been taught practical skills).” From the book ‘Art and Visual Perception’ A Psychology of the Creative Eye by Rudolf Arnheim. Links:
  1. 3 Roxie Apps
  2. Kiwi apps
  3. Maze trailer:
  4. Maze iTunes:
  5. Doors trailer:
  6. Doors iTunes:
  7. Jigsaw Puzzle adventure:
  8. OCG Studios website:
  9. 9. Masterpiece Mix
  10. iNK Think Tank
  11. Art and Visual Perception A Psychology of the Creative Eye by Rudolf Arnheim
  12. KidLit TV: Roxie Munro Draws an Amazing Maze
  13. 13.K.I.W.I StoryBooks About the Artist:
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1 Response

  1. Thank you for this pertinent article by Roxie Munro. Her work inspires me so much as an author. It’s been a privilege for me to have worked with an incredible illustrator who shared Roxie’s conclusions and admired her artistry prior to his untimely recent passing. He taught me much about the need to provide different versions of his illustrations for interactive apps and print purposes.

    Lengthy pilot work at schools also reinforced this summary and led to my choice of criteria for my projects.