- Title: Child's play goes hi-tech at IFA
- Date: 7th September 2017
- Summary: BERLIN, GERMANY (SEPTEMBER 5, 2017) (REUTERS) WIDE OF MARBOTIC STAND IN IFA TRADE HALL
- Embargoed: 21st September 2017 13:13
- Keywords: Berlin Marbotic IFA pupils Arduino childfen ArkLab hi-tec learning drones
- Location: BERLIN, GERMANY
- City: BERLIN, GERMANY
- Country: Germany
- Topics: Science
- Reuters ID: LVA0026XLLAAJ
- Aspect Ratio: 16:9
- Story Text: The use of new technology in early years learning is growing fast, so it was perhaps unsurprising to see a number of hi-tech pre-school educational gadgets on display at the IFA fair in Berlin.
French firm Marbotic is becoming increasingly influential. Company chief operating officer (COO) Michael Turbe says its kindergarten learning system is used in 40 percent of Dutch infant schools, as well as many in France, Australia, and the Middle East.
Its system blends classic wooden block stamps with iPad apps to teach reading, counting, and basic arithmetic.
Wooden bricks shaped like numbers and letters fitted with magnetic sensors can be placed by children onto a tablet screen, which acts like a sheet of digital paper.
With the Smart Number app, children learn the value of numbers using the same method taught in Montessori schools, before discovering how to add and subtract. They also learn how to spell each number.
"We are providing two exercises," said Turbe. "The first one is an exercise where you are using your hands with a stamp. Here they will discover the two digits - where it's placed and how to write it - in the free mode. As soon as they understand it, we can ask them more and more questions."
Smart Letters uses 26 wooden letters to teach toddlers how to read.
"Parents are more and more in charge of home schooling, and they like the idea of having their kids using the tablet for proper things. It's much better for kids to learn educational things with a tablet than to spend hours watching TV or cartoons," said Turbe.
Perhaps even more ambitious is Taiwanese firm ArkLab's four-axis drones for children, allowing those aged as young as four to learnt how to build and control simple UAVs (unmanned aerial vehicle).
"You just give them the bricks and they will try it by their own," said co-founder Jacky Chung. "They will try to figure out the best solution for making their own drones. You shouldn't have to teach the children too much. We are trying to influence self-learning."
A tablet app allows them to control the drones. "It's a drag and pull option that will be very easy for children to control and make their own app. We also sell a real controller but personally I really just recommend children to do their own app by themselves."
Also on display was French product Lunii, which was launched last year. It's a digital bookshop - a story teller aimed at those aged between 3 and 8, allowing them to press buttons that choose a story hero and second character, a location, and an object. Lunii will then adapt these into one of a total of 48 stories.
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