Holi is the festival of colors celebrated by Hindus worldwide to honor and welcome spring. People usually spend this day with their family, and visit friends and relatives as they look to color one other. But with growing environmental concerns, water conservation and pollution, we see many people celebrating the festival in a humbler fashion. However, there are still ways you can get kids excited about Holi and make it a fun time for all.
👉 Design Color Bouquets
Let your kids express their creative abilities in making eco-friendly flower craft as part of the festival of Holi. You can use a wide range of colors, all of which are widely available in chemical-free variants. Children can create flowers from a small paper plate, plastic cups, and paper tubes to resemble a real flower. This can be a great activity with children because of its engaging nature, allowing them to learn new skills and develop their minds in the process.
👉 Holi Puppet Show
These days, children can be found staring at the television for hours. This is especially true during the holidays, when your child may have more time on their hands. While children may enjoy watching TV shows and movies, teaching your child about Holi by celebrating it in your own home can help instill pride in their cultural and religious heritage. Whether springing out of a pre-planned puppet show or spontaneously within a play session, these alternatives can help your child learn in an interactive environment.
👉 Make Organic Colors
Most people purchase synthetic, non-toxic powders, but there are many ways to make your own organic colors at home using natural ingredients and common kitchen spices. Natural ingredients like ground turmeric, henna powder, beetroot, sandalwood paste, and flowers like the red hibiscus can be used to make wonderful colors.
👉 Color Hunt
Another easy way to teach kids about Holi is to arrange a color hunt. Bring home three different colored balloons — red, yellow, and blue — and ask your kids to find matching objects in the house for each color. If you have more than one kid, you can organize a race. The one who finds more matching items first wins the race! This will add a fun element and help them recognize colors faster.
👉 Organize an art competition
Painting competitions can help children discover their hidden talents and boosts their confidence. Art competitions can inspire joy and excitement among kids, with the best paintings possibly made into greeting cards that you can send to family and friends. This would help remind them that we all have an artist within us who needs an opportunity to be discovered.
The festival of Holi is incomplete without some peppy Bollywood songs being played in the background. Get your kids to dance along with you on some upbeat numbers, and have a blast!
The Bottom Line
While throwing colors and having fun is certainly a significant part of the Holi experience, other aspects are to consider for added excitement. An unexplored yet captivating choice of activities would be to add some learning. By making activities educational and rewarding, learning will suddenly become quite enjoyable, with your kids being eager to participate in your next Holi celebration—passionately engaged while they are at it!
At Square Panda, it is our constant endeavor to deliver joyful learning experiences that engage children and empower teachers to better impart their wisdom. To know more about our comprehensive learning solutions and programs, visit our website: ecce.squarepanda.in
You might not think it, but room arrangements can actually make a big difference on a student’s performance. As a learning environment, it’s not too surprising that flexibility impacts success by putting the student at the center. Flexible room layouts allow for a more student-centric teaching and learning methodology. In fact, flexibility can be a driver for increased engagement and performance in students, teachers and the school as a whole.
Let’s understand what flexible classrooms are
Flexible classrooms are an innovative idea that strikes a balance between the two dominant educational paradigms: traditional classrooms (with rows of desks), and project-based problem-oriented learning. Each flexible room has its own unique set of features. Children and teachers adjust them to suit the activities they choose to complete while in those spaces. Because no two flexible-space classrooms are alike, and children who study in them may be from different grades, each flexible-space classroom presents unique challenges for those working in them.
Flexible learning spaces are not one-size-fits-all, nor are they static. There is no one right way to set up a flexible classroom; every teacher should decide what works best for them and their students. Below are some of its features:
✏️ Movable Furniture
A flexible classroom allows for the movement of furniture, creating a variety of seating arrangements to best suit a variety of different classroom activities, such as lectures, small group discussions, and lab exercises. The classroom arrangement depends on the curriculum and purpose for which it is being used. In addition, furniture should be comfortable, durable and sized appropriately for students.
Flexible classrooms are designed to give students choices about where they work and how they learn. For example, if a student wants to collaborate with other students on a project, they can move desks into a circle so that all members can be involved in the discussion. If another student needs space from others or wants time alone to concentrate on an assignment, they can choose a quiet corner or workstation away from the group activity.
✏️ Storage Spaces
A flexible classroom has shelves or storage bins for each child’s belongings to avoid clutter around the room. There also might be a little kitchen area where children can make snacks and keep their lunch readily available.
✏️ Technology Integration
The current generation of learners have grown up with technology. They expect it to be part of their learning experience. They live in an interactive world where mobile technology allows them to connect with others continually, access information quickly, and multitask daily. It’s also essential to have technology available to support a flexible classroom layout, where students have the freedom to decide how they organize their time, space, tools and activities.
The technology used in the classroom takes many forms, including interactive whiteboards, projectors, document cameras, computers, and digital recorders. Technology will enable teachers to present content in numerous ways and engage students in hands-on learning activities.
✏️ Display Areas
Display areas also provide opportunities to revisit past lessons and concepts. Children’s work is displayed throughout the room to showcase student effort and encourage peer review.
✏️ Supportive Materials
Flexible classrooms contain various instructional materials that support multiple learning styles and interests. Materials may include elements such as blocks or number tiles, audiovisual aids such as videos and games, science kits, art supplies, maps, musical instruments, dress-up clothes, and dramatic play props such as puppets or play money, sports equipment, etc.
It’s important for teachers not just to allow flexibility, but also make use of it themselves. While some instruction will happen at the front of the room, for example, during whole-class discussions, teachers may occasionally move around the classroom while teaching and checking student progress.
The Bottom Line
Formal learning spaces are becoming more flexible and informal, creating a blend of work and lifestyle. While traditional classrooms are the most used learning spaces, they do not offer all the elements desired in a flexible learning space. A study has shown that flexible classrooms provide increased collaboration, more engaging material delivery mechanisms, close proximity between students, and teacher workstations that are not separate from students. Flexible classrooms can help create the right environment for learning for students and educators, and it is something that teachers and institutions everywhere need to closely consider when setting up their classrooms, for it can create a joyful learning environment.
Inclusive classrooms will be the norm in the near future. Educational institutions are already taking steps toward more-flexible spaces for students of all learning styles. Our programs are designed considering the differences in students’ learning styles and how teachers can be flexible in their approach to stay relevant and in tune with the needs of each student. To know more, visit, ecce.squarepanda.in.
The largest child care program in the world, the Integrated Child Development Services (ICDS), is a powerful testament to our nation’s commitment to children and their development. Spanning each region in India, Anganwadi centres aim to reach children across rural areas and marginalised and disadvantaged sections of society. There are 1.36 million functional Anganwadi centres and over 25 lakh Anganwadi workers and helpers across the country.
While initially conceptualised to address malnutrition problems and provide nutrition to young children and mothers, the Anganwadis have now evolved to include intersectoral collaboration between health and education. At present, these centres focus on food, nutrition, and early childhood education equally.
Why The Focus On Early Childhood Education?
A young child’s brain sees the highest period of brain development in the early years; if this development is not nurtured in a supportive environment, their growth can falter, causing irreparable damage and lifelong repercussions.
While recognising the important role of nutrition and food in the growth and development of children, our policymakers kept in mind the nature of ECCE, which involves a holistic intervention that covers health, nutrition, and foundational learning (including psycho-social and emotional needs).
As the primary care providers for a majority of the population — out of the 240 million children in India aged between 0-8 years, 74%, i.e., 178 million live in rural areas — Anganwadi workers truly are at the frontlines of early development.
These warriors have already proven their mettle while impacting nutrition across India. The United Nations International Children’s Emergency Fund (UNICEF) calls them instrumental to child development for the role they play in fighting malnutrition.
The New Education Policy (NEP) 2020 recognises the immense reach and potential of these centres. The guidelines now require Anganwadi workers to impart pre-primary education to their charges, thus turning them into early years’ educators.
While a visionary thought, certain challenges impede a swift transition for the workers: adequate knowledge of ECCE, qualification and training dedicated to early childhood education, structured curriculum and resources, and an understanding of 21st century skills and methodology.
Journey From Anganwadi Workers To Anganwadi Educators
As leaders in the early education space, we at Square Panda India believe we need a three-pronged approach to empower Anganwadis as the NEP 2020 envisions:
Training And Skills Development: Anganwadi workers will need to be skilled in the pedagogy of today’s changing world, including adapting to a teaching-learning methodology that is more hands-on, experiential, and play-based. The main objective of this training should empower Anganwadi workers with knowledge of ECCE, including the neuroscience behind early learning, an understanding of various early childhood education schemes, and a well-rounded understanding of nutrition and how it affects learning and the young mind.
Build An Early Learning Ecosystem: An early learning ecosystem cannot exist without the support of each of the early childhood education stakeholders – parents, pre-primary and primary teachers, principals, Anganwadi workers, administrators, and other early years’ educators. To create a nurturing environment for children, we need to combine the efforts of each of these stakeholders and build an early learning community to share knowledge and information, taking our early learning landscape to new heights.
Hand-holding And Support: To ensure seamless transition from Anganwadi workers to Anganwadi educators, they need to be supported by a network of resources that are easily available at their disposal. Technology and digital tools can be leveraged for a more comprehensive approach to reduce the Anganwadi workers’ burden.
India has left its mark on the world and the early childhood development sector with the ICDS scheme. The Anganwadis have the power to break the vicious cycle of undereducation, and holistically develop children’s minds and health equally. All that is needed is our support, investment, and an enabling environment.
Square Panda India’s Anganwadi Workers Upskilling Program aims to empower Anganwadi workers, transforming these centres to their fullest potential for children’s holistic development. Learn more about our programs here.
Early experiences during the period of rapid brain growth until the child is eight can influence future learning, health, and behaviour. Studies conducted by the Harvard Centre for the Developing Child show us that a child’s brain makes one million new neural connections per second in the early years. Subsequently, children deprived of developmentally appropriate stimulus in these early years are at risk of lagging behind their peers.
Given the widespread agreement in research and education literature that discovery-based methods could be more effective in academic and cognitive development, play-based pedagogy is a powerful mechanism to support early learning. Numerous researchers agree that learning through play builds a foundation for creativity, intellectual growth, and problem-solving ability in children.
*Why is play-based learning so important? Read this article to find out.
The importance of play-based learning has been recognised by the New Education Policy (NEP) of 2020, which outlines an educational transformation based on the principles of a play-based approach to early childhood education.
However, simply sending children off to play will not culminate in them acquiring essential foundational skills. Facilitators are needed at each level of the early education landscape, from administrators, to teachers, and parents, if we are to insert effective play-based instruction into daily activities.
THE BENEFITS OF PLAY-BASED LEARNING
A quick glimpse at how play-based learning strengthens many areas of a child’s development:
WHAT SKILLS DOES PLAY-BASED LEARNING DEVELOP?
Much of the early learning programs developed by experts include experiential forms of learning, including play-based instruction.
For instance, Square Panda India uses our expertise in Early Childhood Care and Education (ECCE) to design a curriculum that strategically embeds play into our learning system. Our program weaves in gamification and storytelling as a part of our experience-based learning model, ensuring children are constantly engaged and enjoying their learning.
These play-based activities and learning games expose children to a new skill:
HOW CHILDREN LEARN THROUGH PLAY
By his own admission, Albert Einstein’s introduction to scientific inquiry came about accidentally, with play. This pivotal event occurred when he was just four or five years of age, stuck in bed due to an illness. Seeing his boredom, his father handed him a magnetic compass to play with, and Einstein spent hours twirling the compass this way and that, wondering why the needle kept pointing north. This experience left a lasting impact on his mind, leading him to believe that a greater truth was hidden behind everything.
“Play is a powerful instrument to guide knowledge and education, and is, in fact, the key to learning. We’ve seen the research, and have found through our own expertise and case studies, that play-based instruction enriches the early education experience while reinforcing essential skills like literacy and numeracy, inquiry, expression, creativity, experimentation, and teamwork.”
– Ashish Jhalani, MD, Square Panda India
Young children learn differently from adults, taking inspiration from pretense and their imagination. Play brings together the logical and creative parts of their brain. Children tap into various skills as they play, creating an outlet for stress and anxiety at the same time. They begin to communicate ideas, develop a foundation for literacy and math, understand vocabulary, learn about actions and consequences, build deeper understandings about social relations, and recognise how their initiative influences decisions and self-choice. Researchers have even found that play helps children regulate their own emotions, helping them think before they act. Their experience with play-based learning helps children become thriving adults capable of living in any range of personal and professional environments.
“The heart (human values and ethics), the head (our minds), and the hand (our bodies), can be holistically balanced with play and activities”
Says early years’ author, educator, teacher trainer, and content developer, Sonia Relia
*Watch her educational series with Square Panda India, called Square Panda Thursdays, here.
The education space is evolving; early childhood educators, Anganwadi workers, and adults responsible for imparting education must strive to create a play-friendly learning atmosphere with an appropriate balance of play and academics to reach young learners naturally. This is the best way to bring tangible results to children’s growth.
See how Square Panda India is helping ensure that today’s young minds become tomorrow’s visionaries: ecce.squarepanda.in
Innovation and change have been the only constant over the past few years. We are facing a digital revolution, which completely upturns the way we currently function at work, at home, and even in educational institutions. The needs of the economy and nation are changing, thus altering the needs of 21st century learners. These young children need to develop skills that empower them to stand tall and garner future success, skills like critical thinking, socio-emotional development, foundational literacy and numeracy, and more.
Based on our years of experience in the early childhood education domain, we suggest these five ways to create an efficient 21st century classroom:
1. Introduce Technology
NASSCOM data names India as one of the top enterprise hubs, second only to the USA. Even the Indian government has recognised the crucial need for technology in education and is investing in ed-tech, setting up global standards, and emerging as a key player in this sector.
The Indian ed-tech sector has boomed since 2008; multiple start-ups, and increasing awareness have made this an attractive field. In a country like India, which caters to learners with varied needs and requirements, technology-led education is a valuable resource. AI & ML-powered learning makes classrooms accessible to every single student, regardless of their geographic location. Not only can tech be used to enhance learning for students, but can even be used in teacher training, and increasing educators’ digital literacy for a better teaching experience.
2. Blend Physical Learning Into Theory Memorisation based on repetition, or rote learning, is not the most effective way to educate young children. With a child’s attention span being relatively low and research showing us that periods of focused attention improve cognitive information processing (i.e. learning), a blend of different techniques like using games in teaching and incorporating play-based activities and instructions will show stronger learning outcomes.
A similar blended structure with teachers, Anganwadi workers, and other educators getting a chance to participate in activities and games themselves is precisely how training programs are to be structured. Educators learn to use the physical applications, tools, games, and activities so well that they are completely prepared to implement them inside their classrooms.
Want to set up a blended learning model in your classrooms and institutions? See our expert tips on how to get started here.
3. Include The Traditional With The Modern
India’s rich heritage has gifted us a wealth of learning tools that continue to hold value in today’s day and age. Every classroom, educational institution, and Anganwadi centre must take special care to adopt traditional games, music, art, and more alongside modern applications, linking children and their education to the past while bringing them into the future.
4. Transform Assessments
To paraphrase the revolutionary NEP 2020, assessments will undergo a shift from traditional rote memorisation tests, to ones that measure competency and higher-order skills, like critical thinking and analysis. This revision takes our existing teaching-learning process and optimises it to improve student outcomes across all levels of education.
Realigning this process as per the NEP’s vision will take the help of technology and tools, for better delivery of feedback at every step of the process. Many such assessment tools personalise the feedback for each student, and provide a snapshot of the entire class at the same time, allowing educators to evaluate progress at various levels.
5. Professional Development For Educators And Anganwadi Workers
For a well-developed early learning landscape, we need to enhance the 21st century skills of our educational community. These Early Childhood Care and Education (ECCE) stakeholders, comprising pre-primary and primary teachers, counsellors, principals, Anganwadi workers, etc., should be taught to understand early learning and the neuroscience behind it, basic digital literacy, and varied skill sets required for teaching today’s learners. Only then will they be equipped to create learning environments that nurture children with valuable life and academic skills, setting them up for a successful future.
In a step towards a stronger India, more attention has been accorded to developing crucial new-age skills in young learners. Advancing this vision is Square Panda India’s very own Aarambh initiative, which is powered by leading-edge technological innovations and the expertise of educators and neuroscientists. Our teaching-learning programs under Aarambh make us effective partners to various state governments and impact organisations across India. To learn more, visit ecce.squarepanda.in
Technology is growing by leaps and bounds, becoming more commonplace in our daily lives as the years go by. In fact, Artificial Intelligence has the potential to add $957 billion, or 15% of current gross value added, to India’s economy by 2035, according to an estimate in a study by a tech giant.
One sector benefiting from technology-the education sector-is yet to see positive results in a country like India. Globally, private investment in educational technology, broadly defined as the use of computers or other technology to enhance teaching, grew 32% annually from 2011 through 2015, rising to $4.5 billion globally.
We’re seeing terms like Artificial Intelligence (or AI) and Machine Learning (or ML) being used very frequently in conjunction with education. We’re decoding these terms, and what changes they can bring to the Indian education landscape, in this article:
What Is ‘Artificial Intelligence (AI)’: It’s also called ‘Machine Intelligence’, and describes the artificial simulation of human intelligence, by machines. Examples of AI include Apple’s SIRI, self-driving cars, Presentation Translator for PowerPoint (it creates real-time subtitles for what the teacher is saying), and more.
What Is ‘Machine Learning (ML)’: A branch of Artificial Intelligence (AI), ML helps systems and software analyze and interpret patterns, by experience and exposure to repeated tasks. ML gets computers to perform tasks without being explicitly programmed for them. Apart from Siri, Alexa, and all the others, ML is used in GPS navigation services, social media platforms (Facebook can recognize a photo of your friend the instant you upload it), the spam filter in your email inbox, and even language learning apps like Square Panda and Duolingo, who use the games and exercises played on their system to calibrate and cater learning as per each individual learner’s level of learning.
“India will have the highest population of young people in the world over the next decade, and our ability to provide high-quality educational opportunities to them will determine the future of our country.” – (NEP, 2020)
We think the new policy by the Ministry of Education perfectly sums up our nation’s future requirements, to create a globally competitive, employable workforce of citizens. For this reason, AI and ML will need to be an intrinsic part of education, right from the early years.
Here’s what we think the future of education will look like, with AI and ML:
Smart Content Will Be Everywhere: Smart learning and smart content include any type of learning that is studied online, including video lessons and recorded classes. Textbooks as we know it will change, with parts or even whole chapters being converted into digital lessons. These new syllabuses will help children of all ages and academic levels, increasing their engagement to a greater extent.
Learning Will Get More Personalized: What we will see as the education landscape changes, is more adaptive learning methods adopted by schools and states as a whole. AI and ML have the unique ability to ‘read’ a child’s data in real-time, and adjust the curriculum to cater to that learner’s particular learning needs. Children coming in the invisible ‘middle strata’ (those who don’t attract attention by being at the top OR the bottom), will not fall through the cracks. Educators will see the benefits of adaptive curriculum, with having to put in extra efforts, which thereby frees up their time for other tasks. Not just learning, but each child’s response and feedback to learning will be personalized too, allowing parents and educators to understand individual children’s performance in detail. Multi-level classrooms, with children of different grades packed into one class with just one teacher, like those seen in rural areas, can make the best use of this personalized approach to learning.
Technology To Support Teachers And Educators: There are multiple instances of AI and ML being used in classrooms across the globe, with varying degrees of success. Not only does the technology get more affordable as time goes by, but it even allows teachers more time to work on lessons and plans, by taking care of all mundane administrative tasks like note making, collating data, etc. that is, for now, a task most Indian teachers have to do manually. For instance, our early education platform at Square Panda has a ‘Portal’, to help monitor learning in schools and at home, in real-time. Read all about it, here. All the evidence points towards AI and ML being a strong source of support and aid to educators, and are not to be taken as replacements. After all, education wouldn’t be the same without a ‘human touch’.
An Unbiased Assessment And Tracking System: On account of providing real-time traceability and trackability, AI and ML systems have started to flourish in the edTech segment. Grading and checking will soon be done via a programmed system, removing the possibility of human error and bias with it. Negative feedback will be done away with, increasing a child’s enjoyment of learning, without fear of repercussions.
Increased Reach: India has a vast geography, with multiple remote, hard-to-reach areas; these make equal learning opportunities harder for children in such areas. Technology enables children all over India, especially in the remote areas, to access quality education right from the early years. To make up for the intermittent internet connectivity in such areas, the tech can even be customized to work offline for long periods of time. AI can enable easier access to offline content, and even provide automated tutoring and mentoring programs for different learning styles. The near future could see a greater degree of interlinking and connection between the schools and students, allowing students to take courses and classes that were otherwise out of reach for them.
Skilling: The performance matrix in AI algorithms helps the machine determine what the child is likely to excel in, while enhancing skills that are applicable in the real world. AI and ML can also help train teachers, skilling them to solve quality issues in the education sector. The enhanced skill set children develop can help them compete on a global level as well.
The education sector in India has predominantly been ruled by human-to-human interaction. With the recent pandemic, this rule is slowly changing, and moving towards a slightly more digital learning landscape. Artificial Intelligence and Machine Intelligence advances are here to stay; educators need to plan for involving digital methods alongside traditional learning, gradually preparing the next generation to leverage the global AI revolution to our country’s advantage.
Interested in adding AI and ML to your teaching? Check out our Square Panda early literacy platform, which uses an adaptive engine to develop early English literacy in young children aged 2-8. As a child plays with our educational games, our software runs in the background, analysing patterns of play, frequency of words played, challenges faced, to suggest letters/words that the child should be focussing on next, inside the games themselves. This data also reflects in our ‘Portal’, allowing educators and parents the ability to monitor progress in real-time.
Stay tuned for our next post, on how we intend to spread early literacy even at the heart of India, and later, another upcoming post where we’ll be talking about how Square Panda is building a safe and kid-friendly ecosystem inside our platform, along with tips to keep every young learner safe while online.
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Change! Everyone loves it, don’t we? That said, nothing about your favourite early reading app has changed much; we’ve just added some features that we’re sure your little learners will enjoy.
WHAT DOES SQUARETALES INDIA VERSION 2.3 HAVE?
New Books! We’ve added a new set of books for your early readers to learn from. Subscribe and enjoy 5 sets of digital books including: – Pan, Cam and the Bug – Pan and Cam Hum – The Cub in a Tub – The Hot Pot – Dot, Dot, Dot: Review #
Reduced App Size! We listened to feedback, and made as many optimisations as we could to reduce the size of our app.
Animation! What were once mere images, are now cute little animations, to boost your child’s engagement as they learn new letters, words, and word sounds. Where these animations appear: – In our blending engine, ‘Swipe Phonics’. – Inside the digital books
Want to see how this looks? Try SquareTales out; get the first 5 books for free, from the App Store and Play Store.
Other General Fixes – Subscription price corrected to rupees, instead of showing in dollars. – Users can now move to the next practice word, without earning a star, if they choose. For that end, we added the ‘Next’ arrow beside every practice word.
These little things can make a big difference in how children engage and learn with SquareTales.
BEFORE YOU GO New to SquareTales? Get started with our User Manual, or contact customer services to guide you.
Download from the App Store and Play Store today. Visit www.squaretales.in for more information about our unique early reading app.
He’s got an impressive 24+ years of experience, in multiple disciplines, no less, under his belt. The shot caller at Square Panda India, he was recently promoted to Global CTO.
He is passionate about his family, basketball, and making a social impact.
Introducing our MD and Global CTO, Ashish Jhalani, who very kindly agreed to sit down with us for a special interview, where he divulges details about his journey to Square Panda, early education, and his favourite character from our games.
Watch the interview here, or read the transcript below:
FROM ECOMMERCE TO EDUCATION. WHAT INSPIRED THAT TRANSITION?
“I spent almost all my life in the e-commerce field since I first started working. Transferring to education was a big decision, but it kind of comes down to wanting to do something more than just build businesses and have an impact on a very little number of people. Here in education, it gives me an opportunity to impact millions of kids, especially here at Square Panda, with us having a presence in the US, in China, and in India, and then obviously, in each one of these countries there are millions of kids that are in need of literacy, and it gives me an opportunity to reach to all of those kids. So yeah, it is more of a social kind of a move at this point. You want to make an impact and not just build businesses, but here, it gives me an opportunity to do both.”
WOULD YOU HAVE USED SQUARE PANDA, HAD IT BEEN AVAILABLE WHEN YOUR CHILDREN WERE YOUNGER? WHAT INFLUENCES YOUR DECISION EITHER WAY?
“At first, challenges: would I want screen time for them? NO! Or yes. But if we looked at the product, I think I would want to use it for my kids. One, because I was a second language learner, my wife was a second language learner, and we wanted our children to obviously learn better than we did. So, I think I would have chosen Square Panda as one of the products for my children to learn from. I myself used different tools initially to learn English, so I think I would use something for my kids as well.”
AI (ARTIFICIAL INTELLIGENCE) AND MI (MACHINE LEARNING), THESE TERMS ARE NOW BEING USED IN THE MOST IMPORTANT OF ALL SPHERES, EDUCATION. HOW DOES SQUARE PANDA TAKE ADVANTAGE OF THIS TREND?
“AI and MI are hot topics at this point, be it education or finance. But in education, specially, we are talking about how can AI and MI help. Here at Square Panda, we take ‘first steps’ (referencing the fact that our educational games create a foundation to language learning and early literacy); all of our games are adaptive games. As children are playing these games and learning, each child learns differently. So if your child is making a mistake with a certain letter, word, etc., we recognise that. Obviously, our games ensure that the child has enough practice and enough repetition to learn that particular issue that they were having. That’s just one step. As we build our products further, we are building more algorithms to understand the demographics of the child, to understand what their patterns of learning are, and have them integrated against the new products, the new games, and the new curriculums that we are building up.”
WHAT IS THE SQUARE PANDA MISSION STATEMENT?
“Our mission here at Square Panda is very simple. We want to empower all kids with the power of literacy. We want every child to have education, we want every child to learn a language, and a language that is common across the globe.”
WHAT ARE THE GOALS SQUARE PANDA HAS?
“The goals Square Panda has is to make education and literacy, affordable and reachable to the masses across the world, may it be in China, may it be in India. We want to make sure that every child gets an opportunity to be literate, learn the language of English—which is a primary language across the world—and find better jobs as they grow up.”
WHO IS YOUR FAVOURITE CHARACTER FROM OUR GAMES?
“My favourite character in our games is obviously Square Panda. He has got this unique thing–pandas are never square, but he is square…and I like that. So, yeah, my favourite character is Square Panda.”
WHAT SETS SQUARE PANDA APART FROM OTHER EARLY LEARNING SYSTEMS?
“What sets us apart at Square Panda is realistically, our ability to be adaptive. Like I said, every child learns differently. That’s what Square Panda is all about. Now, obviously, we have many other important aspects too, but what differentiates us; one being ‘multisensory’. Our playset is unique in what it offers. It gives the child (the ability) to still continue to develop motor skills, etc. while using the digital adaptive platform. Now, let’s not discount the amount of research that has gone into building our curriculum. Though the user is seeing the games, the children playing it interact with the game, there is a large amount of curriculum that helps them learn, and there are learning goals for everything that the child is doing in our games.
What sets Square Panda apart in most cases is the innovation we bring. We currently have our meta game out—‘SquareLand’—where we are continuously adding more interactions, more engagements to the product, where we can complete the learning goals of each early learner. In addition to that, we have products such as ‘Buddy Reader’ that is coming out that will help children read better. In the future, we have other products that will help the child complete their full cycle of learning–from reading, to writing and recognising letters, etc. So, Square Panda is an innovative company; we are going to constantly be innovating new things. Not everything can be talked about, but there are things that are continuously in the pipeline to be introduced to the markets in India, in China, and in the US.”
You know how there is a manual inside every device and product you own/purchase? The one that is extremely important and holds the guide to using said device or product properly? We decided our Square Panda users needed one user guide of their very own, to guide them along their journey to early education and literacy.
We recommend every first-time user read our cheat sheet of instructions, before using our playset and Smart Letters.
Firstly, let us explain the terms we use while referring to the Square Panda phonics playset:
Your guide to using the Square Panda Playset:
Your guide to using the Square Panda Smart Letters:
According to a study conducted in 2002, learners performed much better when they were introduced to ‘realistic’ coloured objects, rather than simple black-and-white or even random coloured objects.
Young learners use colour and shape to identify things and describe them. It offers learners a sense of security and stimulation when they are taught using one or two colours. A riot of them, however, seems to make beginner learners anxious and overstimulated.
Yellow (in small amounts) is a happy colour, and boosts growth and development. It can also help stimulate the memory and improve concentration.
The combination of blue and red, purple takes on both their qualities, soothing and calming like blue, and attracting attention, energising the mind, and increasing athletic ability like red.
Caring For Your Playset, Smart Letters:
Like any other electronic device, taking our playset and the letters for a swim is not the best idea! We did design them to be durable, but if they get wet, dry them off with a cloth as soon as possible.
Letters not reading correctly? They may have something stuck to their bottom side. Clean the letters with a damp cloth and then dry them thoroughly. Make sure to keep the letter slots of the tray just as clean, as small bits of food or other debris can affect the reading of the letters. If your letters are still giving you a problem, contact us, and we’ll do our best to solve your problem.
Remember, the settings button uses a ‘long press’ function. We thought that might be enough to fool kids, and prevent them from accessing the settings page. We applied the same reasoning to the ‘adults only’ menu, asking for a code which is entirely in words. The assumption was that if your kids can read those, then they are probably ready for more advanced learning tools.
Come back next week for an in-depth look at our incredible progress monitoring tools for kids…
– Sanjana Shukla, Content Writer, Square Panda India