Edouard Mendy, educational “gamer” at a school in the suburbs of Paris

Armstrong, 8, claps the hand of Édouard Mendy, having just passed a “perfect” in the geography test of PowerZ, an educational video game involving the Senegal and Chelsea goalkeeper, who came to play at a primary school in Drancy .

The great moment for the students of the Diderot school in this city in the northern suburbs of Paris remains the game played with the African champion, broadcast on large screens for the approximately 120 people present in the refectory to enjoy it.

Of the fifty students, plus parents, siblings, none knew that the surprise guest was a soccer star. The PowerZ teams are also there for an education project that will be launched in February: supporting students from CE1 to CM2 in the discovery of the PowerZ metaverse.

“Doudou” Mendy makes a star entrance. White T-shirt, beige jogging tracks, big smile, the kids jump on him, some even dare to give a short hug in the arms of the goalkeeper who fended off a shot by Mohamed Salah for a Senegal-Egypt qualifier for the World Cup in Qatar ( Nov 21 – Dec 18).

“I am very involved in this project, for me children are the future, education is the foundation,” he told AFP.

PowerZ “gets it right,” Mendy adds, “we found an app to bring both fun and learning together, it’s great.”

– “Very connected, but often poorly connected” –

“We have a generation where the children are very connected, but often poorly connected,” continues the goalkeeper, father of two boys aged 4 and 6, who fell in love with this game, especially the fact that it is free, or more precisely “free to pay”. Those who install it are free to pay whatever they want.

“To be useful, it must be free, to create a mix that we no longer necessarily find in school,” justifies PowerZ CEO Emmanuel Freund, lamenting that “digital tools, accelerators effective at learning, being underused”.

With his team of about fifty people, accompanied by “specialists in video games and education”, such as the publishers Bayard and Hachette, he therefore designed “an educational fantasy game, but not another +serious game+ (game serious)”. And the students really love it.

While they wait for Mendy to arrive, they feast on the many possibilities of this universe, such as the “mule’s game”, where you have to memorize the lines of a poem to help the mule move forward. In the door game you have to quickly cross corridors with mental arithmetic to open one of the three doors with the correct result of the operation.

– “It teaches us things” –

Like Armstrong, black tracksuit and teardrop (very touched to play with Édouard Mendy), several champions have been selected to share a role with the 2021 Champions League winner.

Kelyna, 9 years old, a student of CM1, is greatly applauded by the audience when she places the invention of photography between the reign of Louis XIV and the invention of the telephone.

She also succeeds flawlessly in this game where you have to put events in chronological order, and in turn are entitled to a slap in the hand, footballer style, with Mendy.

“It teaches us things, I like the game of dates,” she slips, glasses and braids tied in a ponytail, except for one that hangs over her blue T-shirt, adorned with a red pearl.

Shaking the head of his son Ishmael (8 years old), Khalid Saddiki (46 years old) explains that “you have to interest him, otherwise he won’t concentrate. This game is a great initiative, original”.

Emmanuel Freund, who plans to “launch the US version this summer” and has “raised 10 million euros for the development of the game internationally”, welcomes the investment of Mendy, financier, without disclosing the amount, but above all personal. His own avatar, with his green goalkeeper outfit, also participates.

“Drancy is a first step”, concludes the Senegalese goalkeeper, “I have a greater ambition for PowerZ, it is to see it on a global scale, because there is real potential”.

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