A few weeks ago Little Boo and I were invited to the TVO Studios here in Toronto for the launch of two new educational games - Hop, Frog, Hop and Ribbit, Frog, Ribbit. These games can be played online at the TVO Kids website, and are also available as apps for the iPad, Playbook, and Android tablets. And they are free!
These two apps were developed in conjunction with researchers at the University of Toronto's Ontario Institute for Studies in Education (OISE) and are designed to improve working memory. Working memory is keeping information actively available in your head for short periods. It is critical to being able to follow instructions in class and plays a key role in all learning areas, especially in mathematics. So, clearly this is a good thing on which to improve.
Substantial studies go into the development of these and the other educational resources developed by TVOKids., and it was truly interesting to get some insights into how new educational apps come about. TVOKids and OISE have been working in partnership on these ventures since 2005.
Educational value aside, these new games are fun, with great looking graphics, and are challenging enough to even keep the big kids and adults entertained. Essentially you are watching and memorizing patterns and then repeating them back. The difficulty of the games increases as you play, but if you reach a level too difficult for you, the game doesn't end - it sets you back to a slightly earlier level. This allows you to practice and develop the observation and memory skills required.
Here is a video from the day. You will see both Little Boo and I in this clip, talking about our experiences with the apps:
And of course, this is TVOKids we are talking about, so they had lots of fun ready for us during our visit.
While we were waiting for the presentation, Little Boo entertained himself with froggie colouring pages and drawing on the wall mural:
More importantly, and the biggest surprise - we got a studio tour and were able to meet Gisele in her Big Backyard and Dalmar in The Space.
You can play these games online at http://www.tvokids.com/games or download them for play on the go at http://www.tvokids.com/apps/. Enjoy!