NZ Home Schooler wins the World Education a Games

Twizel pupil Joshua Toon, 8, beats 6 million kids to win World Education Games

Twizel 8-year-old Joshua Toon describes his victory at the World Education Games.

Twizel whizkid Joshua Toon can make a claim to being the smartest 8-year-old in the world.

Joshua has just returned from an awards ceremony in Sydney after he swept aside more than 6 million children from 159 countries to take out first overall for Year 3s in the 2015 World Education Games.

His total points score of 4,727 across three categories – science, literacy and maths – was a whopping 344 points higher than that of his nearest competitor, a boy from Australia.

Twizel's Joshua Toon, 8, was the top year 3 pupil in the world in the World Education Games.


Twizel’s Joshua Toon, 8, was the top year 3 pupil in the world in the World Education Games. 

As well as winning the overall award, Joshua took out first in science by three points with a score of 347, and his score of 1,578 in maths was good enough for a bronze medal behind boys from Nigeria and Pakistan.

“I was like, wow, I really did it. I tried and I got it,” Joshua said. “I was feeling really happy then, especially when I found out I was going to Australia for a trip.”

The World Education Games, created by Australian-based company 3PL Learning, involved an online speed and knowledge test, which ran over three days in October.

Joshua, who is home-schooled, has the perfect skill set for it.

Firstly, the car-loving youngster has a near-photographic memory. When he goes on a long drive, just about every number plate he sees is matched to the make and model of the car and stored for future use.

Secondly, and almost as importantly, he’s “extremely fast” at typing.

The maths section of the games is a sprint race, and Joshua answered an average of about 100 questions a minute. Science is less of a sprint, with more points given for answering difficult questions.

“I think science is probably my favourite of the categories because it has history in it too,” Joshua said. “It asks things like when did Thomas Edison invent the lightbulb and I like those sort of questions.”

As a 6-year-old, in 2013, Joshua placed second in maths and third in science in New Zealand in the 4 to 7 years category of the games, but said this was a far better feeling.

“I was actually able to smile for photos this time. Last time, my two front teeth had just come out so I couldn’t do it without feeling embarrassed.”

For his efforts Joshua had won a new generation Microsoft Surface Pro laptop, worth about $1,500, and had made his parents, Kalyani and Trevor Toon, “very proud”.

“He would never have done it without a bit of a mother’s push,” his mum said with a laugh.

“He has the talent of being able to think very fast on his feet and it’s great that he’s using that. I want him to keep going but also to keep staying humble.”

Joshua might face some family competition in coming years, with younger sister Kayla also expressing an interest in taking part in the games, Kalyani said.

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