Was Write to Read the first app you worked on?
Yes Write to Read is my first app, but before that I’ve worked more than 15 years developing other kinds of teaching resources and published more than 100 titles.
What inspired the app?
I had a project in my Year 1 class working with ICT and the Write to Read Method. The method is based on letting the students write from day one at school and learn to read by writing. In that process I noticed that many of my students had difficulties using the computer for typing stories. In particular they had problems saving the stories and importing and editing photos. Those challenges took away some focus from the writing process and I therefore decided to develop a simple and effective tool for the students to use. For that purpose it was obvious to implicate the iPad because of its user-friendliness, portability and integrated camera.
How difficult was the design stage?
Especially one part of the development was quite comprehensive and difficult. To make sure that the app would live up to the defined learning and usability standards, we set up a test in cooperation with a couple of scientific researchers. They followed and filmed two test families during a period of two months. The evaluation took quite a long time, but it was definitely worth it, because it gave rise to a couple of important improvements.
What features of the app do you feel make it stand out?
Especially that the children after writing a sentence using their current level can make an adult “translate” the writing into a proper or correct text. When the children compare their writing with the adult’s they begin to observe, assimilate and learn words and syntax.
I also want to enhance the specially designed keyboard that incorporates the sounds and the names of the letters. Besides that the vowels and consonants are marked in red and blue frames respectively. All features that make it easier for the children to create a proper text.
Is the app aimed at a specific age of student?
The primary target group are children from 3-10 years of age, but both younger as well as older children can benefit from using the app. Younger children can create books on their own by recording stories that complements pictures taken with the iPad, or by typing more or less randomly on the keyboard and having an adult add the conventional writing afterwards. Older children can use the app as a book template to create longer and more complex books.
Have you been happy with the reception for the app?
We first launched the app in Denmark, where it quickly became the best selling educational app. We actually reached the top spot in “All Categories” for a couple of days. We are now heading for the English spoken countries and hope for a good reception there as well.
Are there any updates planned for the app?
Right now we are working on some new sharing facilities, which make it possible to store books made with the app on Dropbox, Google Drive and SkyDrive. With those features it becomes possible to work on a book from different devises and work on it at any time and everywhere.
We are also preparing an iPhone and iPod Touch version that we hope can be launched in the beginning of September 2013.
Do you have any new apps in development?
We have just made arrangements with a couple of scientific researchers for a project focused on foreign languages for children from 5-10 years of age.
We have also made the first sketches for a math app based on meaningful learning and everyday experiences.
Janus thank you for taking this time to speak with us and congratulations on your remarkable app.
Find out more about the Write to Read app by checking it out on iTunes.