We’re fascinated with the future of learning for our future thinkers — kids.
Three quarters (75%) of children under the age of eight have access to a smartphone or tablet. The undeniable prevalence of screens eats into time that may otherwise be spent reading with parents, but growing up on a tech diet means many children are becoming more apathetic towards traditional content such as books.
As they have access to thousands of stories brought to life in a multimodal, fun, engaging and immersive way, this is hardly surprising. So, how might we use technology to create interactive, engaging learning experiences that are so good, that kids don’t even know they’re being educated?
We looked to some of the incredible tools already out there for inspiration.
A unique gaming tool, Osmo Play Kits has been helping kids learn since its launch by Tangible Inc in 2014. The tool, which can be connected to iPads, turns physical objects into digital experiences using the front-facing camera to recognise and monitor its surroundings. Specialising in subjects such as Maths and Geography and leveraging memorable animated characters and themes, the tool targets kids on devices they’re already familiar with to make education interactive and enjoyable. Having been shipped to 2,000 schools since launch, the tool seems to have the seal of approval from educators and parents alike.
Who says learning to code is just for college? Cubetto, powered by a physical programming language made of colouring blocks, is a coding toy for kids aged three to six. Through a series of stories and maps, users are taught the basics of computer programming and STEM skills, all without the necessity of a screen. The toy, created by Primo Toys, is Montessori-approved and LOGO Turtle inspired, and offers yet another way to teach young children relevant skills in a typically challenging subject.
Imagine dropping your laptop and not feeling sheer terror. Enter Hackball — a computer you can throw — although its sole purpose is not actually immortality. In fact, the interactive ball helps teach kids to program, with the ethos: ‘Make it, hack it, play it.’ Using IOS or the OS X app, users can leverage the Hackball’s internal sensors to change its behaviour when dropped, kicked or shaken. The gadget creates an active, engaging digital experience, encouraging creativity amongst its young audience, and even allowing kids to create their own games using a simple building interface. Now that’s pretty cool.
The lack of education in schools about money (and how to save it) is an area of concern for many. But smart device Pigzbe, the first family-friendly product built using the blockchain, may be the answer to teaching children aged six and above more about finance and its value in the digital world. The tool is made of a physical device, an app, a payment card and a family-friendly cryptocurrency called Wollo. Family members from far and wide are able to set tasks or chores for the main user, and award whatever number of Wollos they see fit. The device then notifies the child that there’s an opportunity to earn some more of the currency. Not only does Pigzbe ease children into independence — it also teaches them the value of money, a lesson that can only be learned in practice.
Created by premium tech company Within, Wonderscope is an IOS app allowing children to look through their devices instead of at them, by transforming ordinary spaces into extraordinary landscapes. The application is powered by AR and encourages movement, reading aloud and interactive play within the space users are in. In a climate of increasing concern around the amount of media being consumed by children, Wonderscope offers an opportunity for young people to use their imagination and explore their surroundings in a whole new way. We like that.
With all of these exciting and educational new tech launches in mind, Rehab’s content team lead, Nicola Thompson, wrote a piece on the rapid growth of e-Learning and the benefits we expect it to have on children. From Tamagotchi to tablets, Nicola reflects on how far tech for kids has come and the opportunity we have to add value for future generations.