Recently, my parents made the decision to move all the way across the country in order to fulfill their dream of living near the ocean. While I am beyond happy for them, the move meant that a lot of keepsakes that they were holding onto for me and my brother now live in my basement.
My schoolwork from 4k through 4th grade provided a night full of belly laughs for me and my husband, but I couldn’t help noticing that a majority of it was pretty . . . repetitive. There was one entire school year where it appears the teacher just assigned us a different animal to make out of that lick-it-and-stick-it construction paper.
But one of the coolest things I found was a certificate I got in 4th grade that proclaimed “You have been licensed to operate the Apple 11e computer!” Can you imagine what the certificates look like nowadays? Probably something like, “Your 4-Year-Old has Mastered Advanced HTML Coding Principles!”
Kids are learning so much about technology. Not only that, they are using technology to teach themselves basic things like math and spelling. One local tech start-up, SparkNET, is working on creating mobile applications (apps) that will help little ones master these tricky subjects using bright, fun characters. This makes for fun, interactive learning and a lot less construction paper animals!
SparkNET is located in De Pere, and for the past few years, they have been focused on creating innovative iOS and Android apps to serve a wide range of users. Some of their apps include MemeSomething (a meme generator), LitBound (a literature quiz game), and Tiny Hoarders (an addictive item collecting game for kids and adults). So far, SparkNET has 22 apps available through either the App Store or Google Play.
While fun apps are. . . well, fun, educational apps bring a greater reward. Being able to provide a platform for kids to learn in a fun and engaging way is one of SparkNET’s main goals. Here is an overview of some of the learning apps that SparkNET has created thus far:
- Type Defender – Learn spelling by quickly copying the words as they appear. Parents and teachers also have the ability to load a custom list of words so the child can use the app to study their specific lessons.
- Ogre Academy Math – Kids solve math problems in order to stave off the hungry ogres. You can choose progressively harder problems as the child’s grasp on math develops.
- Weather Cubby – Youngsters will learn how to prepare for the changing seasons and dress themselves by picking out appropriate clothing for the characters in the app depending on a weather forecast.
- Ad Lib for Kids – This app features ad libs that are especially designed for kids. They input the words they want to use in their story and they can even personalize the characters by adding their face or the faces of friends and family members.
Technology is exploding right now as these devices are becoming affordable for many families. We need to embrace the educational possibilities that come with them. While I have seen many people watch a small child play with an iPhone and shake their heads sadly, I have seen many others realize the potential locked in those tiny minds. The key to raising a child that has a hunger for knowledge and the ability to problem-solve is to give them the tools and watch them blossom.
Let’s revisit my Apple certification for a moment. Can you imagine if the technology had existed in 1989 for me to continue to learn how to operate various computer systems? I would be running my own technology company in Silicon Valley by now! The good news is that this technology does exist now, and your kids have access to it.
Click here to see an overview of each of the apps that are currently available as well as links to the Facebook and Twitter pages for each of these apps. Watch for upcoming apps and help spread the word about the local company with big dreams for educational growth.
And if you’re a mobile app developer, SparkNET is interested in your skills. Apply at the above link.