This is actually the first time we have spotlighted something on the site that isn’t actually available yet. There are several reasons for me taking the time to do this for the upcoming Interactive Playkit. Firstly the developers Appy Kids who are also based here in Dubai and we like to support local innovators. Secondly Dinesh and his team have been friends of ours for some time now and we know that we can rely on them for the highest quality educational technology. Thirdly, and most crucially, I’ve been hands-on with an early version of the Playkit and it was superb!
So what is it? The Playkit is the latest educational toy that can interact with the iPad. If you’re familiar with other such toys like Osmo or the Tiggly toys, you’ll have an idea of what this means. In this case the toy itself takes the form of a set of flashcards, featuring letters, numbers, shapes and colours, that the Playkit app can recognise. Take a look at the clip below to see it in action:
What sets the Playkit apart from other iPad enabled toys is the fact that within the app there are literally dozens of different activities that the cards can be used to interact with. So for example, the letter cards can be used to progress from games that simply identify phonic sounds through to split digraphs, word building and more. The games are also story-driven rather than simply repetitive drills, something that is intergral to engaging early learners. There’s real depth and progression built into it. In fact the educator who helped the development process is an brilliant ADE based here in Dubai called Michael Pazinas who specialises in linguistics -so you’re definitely in safe hands!
There are several other aspects that make this a versatile tool for the classroom:
- The toy itself acts as a stand for the iPad and unlike the Osmo, is designed in a way that ANY version of the iPad, including Minis and Airs, can be used with it.
- Preceding a similar concept that Apple’s iOS 9.3 looks to be incorporating, young students will be able to use cartoon avatar cards to log into the app via the iPad’s camera! A fantastic touch that will enable even the youngest learners to interact with the platform independently! - There is an accompanying tracker app which parents or educators can use to track progress as well as time spent in the app – another excellent touch.
-Several expansion packs are already in the works including MFL based sets, Music cards and more so the initial experience with the Playkit can be broadened and allow students to start to engage with other areas of learning too!
The best thing of all is that you can currently pre-order kits via the crowdsourcing campaign on IndieGogo and make a huge saving on the future retail price. If you opt for one of the Educator bundles, you’ll get an even better discount and even get access to a special iBook full of tutorials for harnessing the kit in the classroom! I’ve already ordered two myself (one for each of my daughters) and we’re looking at putting one in every classroom from FS1-Yr1 at my school.