Wie wirken Lernspiel-Apps auf Kinder?

Viele von euch haben sich bestimmt schon einmal gefragt, ob Apps wirklich unterstützend auf das Lernen von Kindern einwirken? Wir sind auf einen Forschungsbericht der Studentin Laura Holzhauer an der Justus-Liebig-Universität Gießen aufmerksam geworden. Sie setzte sich damit auseinander, ob sich die Medien Smartphone bzw. Tablet Computer dazu eignen „[…] um Kindern mittels Lernspielen das Lesen lernen zu vereinfachen bzw. ein Interesse daran zu wecken?”

Sie wählte für ihre Erhebung drei erfolgreiche iOS Apps aus: „Janosch ABC“, „Erste Wörter mit Lauten“ und „Lola’s Alphabet Zug“, und stellte 19 Vorschulkindern eines bilingualen Kindergartens einen iPod mit den Apps zur Verfügung. Laura beobachtete daraufhin mithilfe von Videoaufnahmen die einzelnen Kinder während der Nutzung der Apps. Anschließend interviewte sie jedes der Kinder.

Bewertung von Lese-Apps durch Vorschulkinder

Laura konnte nachweisen, dass der Nutzen von Apps vor allem in der Freude am Lernen besteht. Der Spaß am Umgang mit den Spielen liegt zum einen an der Gestaltung und zum anderen an den eingebauten Belohnungen. Ein Kind antwortete auf die Frage, welche der Apps ihm besonders gefallen hätte und warum: „Janosch ABC, weil die Buchstaben sich bewegt haben […] Lola’s Alphabet Zug, weil man sich Geschenke aussuchen durfte.“ Laura Holzhauer stellte fest, dass „Lola’s Alphabet Zug“ im Test besonders gut ankam.

Ein verantwortungsbewusster Umgang der Eltern mit diesem Medium ist jedoch grundlegend. Wir empfehlen euch, die Apps selbst zu testen und zunächst gemeinsam mit dem Kind zu spielen. Außerdem solltet ihr bei der Auswahl einer App die Meinung eures Kindes berücksichtigen.

Wir möchten uns bei Laura bedanken, dass sie uns ihre Arbeit zur Verfügung gestellt hat.

(Beitrag geschrieben von Johanna Kosin)

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Learning VC speak – Look Mommy! at Term Sheet Battle Berlin

Do you know the feeling when you had an argument, and right after you keep thinking about what clever things you should have said, that would have totally let you win that point…?

Yesterday, I was up on stage on the first Termsheet Battle Berlin, together with Sven, our co-founder, Bernhard Schmid, a VC from Xange Capital, and Brad Furber, who moderated the event.

We enacted a live termsheet negotiation around a fictional company (whose product and founding team was very similar to Look Mommy!s). I’ll link to the video here, when it is online.

Read on only if you are interested in termsheet stuff, because here is what I could have said, but did not think of yet:

Options Pool: Our employees are highly motivated, and it is easy for us to recruit great people. But not because of options, but because we attract people with kids. All our meetings end before 4pm. It is easily possible to work part-time, or partly from home. We have a kids room in the office, which we use when testing apps live, but also allows people to bring their kids in, when needed. Plus, parents love to create kids’ products and talk about them. They can do that when working with us.

Drag-Along (and Founder’s Vesting): Our company does not live just because of its founding team. We create assets that can have a value for a buyer on their own: An engaged audience and community of parents, who regularly follow our app recommendations; an earned reach of email list and installed apps; a trusted brand; a structured content base, that can be re-used many times and works internationally; positive business relationships with quality kids’ apps developers. These assets can be useful for publishing houses, for hardware manufacturers or they just continue to create value through the business processes we have set up. This is why we want more protection of founder’s shares.

Liquidation Preference: When things are running not well, this would reduce founder’s motivation drastically, while still allowing the VC to sell at a low price and have an ok return. We would rather be motivated by the terms to push through hard times, than realize that below a valuation of about 7M, it does not make much difference to walk away or not.

Anyhow, Bernhard did not move a millimeter away from the proposed terms. I will have to work on my negotiation skills! Also I did not know what extra things we can offer to the VC so that he would give in on some other points.

And hours later, I finally got the lawyers pun: “Do we cheat ‘em and how?” Hah. 😉

Thanks to Brad, Alex and Bernhard for making this huge learning possible for us!

iPads for Kindergartens in Maine

In April this year we heard about the project of purchasing iPad 2s for 300 kindergartners in Auburn, Maine, for the first time. One of the teachers at the school provided one of her students with her own iPad. The student lacked behind his fellow students in reading and writing, but with the iPad caught up in no time. Following this, the Auburn School Committee voted in April that every kindergartner should get an iPad. Now, in September, the first kids will get their iPads, see here. We’re happy to see this project progressing. Not few people, parents for the most part, were and still are against this unique project. This may be just the usual opposition against new technology, but in fact no scientific studies are available that learning with a tablet really does benefit learning skills.

The Auburn School Committee wants to change this. As we can learn from the article, half of the kids will get their iPads in September, and the other half will get them in mid November. The aim is to compare the reading skills of the two groups. The results might qualify the school for research grants, which would advance research in the tablet-learning-field and give the school an opportunity to purchase more iPads for students. When we look at the Auburn School Department’s website we can see that they call this their “Advantage 2014” – the aim is to improve the literacy and numeracy mastering rate from currently around 60% to 90% by 2014. We’re eager to see this happening, and will keep you posted.

Puzzling on the iPad

In this video 19 month old Ryan is playing the app My first Tangrams HD:

„Tangrams“ itself is a popular puzzling game for everybody, and here was adapted into a version especially for kids; this includes simplified rules, a creation mode for kids to use their creative abilities, and kid-friendly presentation of the game.

In the video it‘s amazing to see how easily little Ryan can fit together all the pieces, although it‘s not clear to us whether he can finalize the puzzle. Judging from his abilities seen in the video and his will to finish what he has started though we might guess he will.

By playing the game he‘s not only training his fine motor skills, learning to identify objects as what they are (triangles, squares etc.), and training his combination abilities – fitting together forms and pieces – but also he‘s obviously having a lot of fun. Although it‘s no problem for him at all to put the shapes where they have to go, he still has some trouble fitting the same shaped pieces at the right place – he‘s especially struggling with putting the pieces in the right direction and most of the time does it mirror invertedly. However,  he doesn‘t give up and it‘s great how easy the task in general is for him.

Another highlight is how obviously proud Ryan‘s dad is about how fast and easily his son comprehends the task at hand.

Households with children own more electronics than average households

A Nielsen study looks at how many households use what kinds of electronic media devices.

 

diagram on electronics distribution in households with children

As you may have guessed, video gaming systems are much more common in households with kids under the age of 12 than in the average household.

Interestingly, also smartphone distribution is much higher in families than in other households. The report explains it by saying that “electronic-intensive households tend to be those with kids under age 12 who actively lobby parents for the newest device .” And later: “Kid-inclusive households seem to be more tech savvy, dialing up 12% more smartphones than the average domicile.”

I believe it may also be explained by demographic factors. Parents of young children are around 25-45 years old, an age group that uses computers and cellphones heavily, while also having a job and being able to afford a smartphone.

As many play with their smartphone every day (says another study), it seems only natural for parents to allow their kids to play with it as well. Which is why parents are looking for great educational apps, which is why we founded Look Mommy!.

Using the iPad in Kindergarten improves reading skills dramatically

Over at iPadEducators Kristi Meeuwse, a kindergarten teacher in the US, reports on her experience with iPads in her preschool classroom.

To her, the main advantage is that she can give individual tasks to her 30 individual students.

“With the iPads, I am able to use applications to target very specific and individualized needs of my students.  For example, I can give extra practice with naming letters and sounds to those who are struggling and can give my advanced students the opportunity to interact with above grade level vocabulary words. “

Just 14 weeks into the program, the results are astounding:

“Last year, before the implementation of iPads, 46% of my students were reading books on grade level, 39% were reading books above grade level and 15% were reading books below grade level.  After the implementation of the iPads, 100% of my students are reading above grade level.”

This means that from an average classroom, where some kids are reading below and some are reading above grade level, with iPads kids have improved their reading skills so much that now 100% are exceeding grade level skills.

I hope to hear more about this pilot project and its outcome!

A proud dad shows us how his son uses the iPad

I love how natural the iPad handling is for this 2-year-old. And how excited his dad gets about it. Watch:

httpv://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MGMsT4qNA-c

This is what he writes:

“My son Bridger just turned 2 last week and I bought him an iPad, mostly an excuse for me to get one and he actually can use it perfectly! His speech, understanding, word recognition, and even hand eye coordination have improved within just a short while!! I am so amazed and thankful for this amazing learning tool that my son has! I wanna say thanks to Apple and all those that have given my child such a head start in life with this amazing instrument! My son can read tons of words now, he knows every animal and dinosaur and he just turned 2 years old!!!! If you have a child around 2, don’t rob him/her of knowledge, go buy him/her an iPad!”

It’s great that he chose educational and creative apps. I see Drawing Pad, Word World and Just Me And My Dad.

I also love how attentive he is regarding his son’s learning. From what he writes in the video description you see that he notices what words his son speaks and recognizes, and how is fine motor skills are improving. A great combination of education and care.