The Australian Government may soon make another contribution to the app development field with a play-based language app that helps teach foreign languages to children.
In 2015, the Australian Government funded a program called Early Learning Languages Australia with $9.8 million for a trial program containing 35 different language learning apps. The apps covered five languages: Japanese, Mandarin, Arabic, French and Indonesian. Seven apps were created for each of the five languages.
The apps can be used on tablets and are being trialed to assess the efficacy of play-based apps for children trying to learn a second language. The trial covered preschool and kindergarten-aged children.
App Creation for Problem Solving
This is a classic problem-solving app, even though many people didn’t even know there was a problem. In the 1960’s, 40% of Year 12 students were studying a language. Currently, only 12% of Year 12 students are studying a language.
The Government hopes that showing and teaching children a second language at an early age will spark interest in them and help them become proficient in at least one second language by the end of high school.
The trial is currently running across 41 preschools. In the preschools, according to Simon Birmingham, Education Minister, the most popular language is Indonesian.
The apps have characters called “polyglots” who sing, rhyme and generally help children play with the language. This fits into the “Learning Through Play” initiative in Australian preschools. The first app was called “The Polyglots: Playroom.” They described it as “an exciting place filled with characters, animation, play-based learning and surprises.”
The app takes children to different places in the world. The characters speak to them using words in the foreign language. In the beginning parents thought their children would misuse the tablets and feared that the apps would not be effective. In one centre, the parents were so impressed with the results that all of them ordered additional materials.
According to an owner of two preschools, the apps have helped children learn about different cultures. One class had an Arabic student who was “ashamed” to speak Arabic in front of others until the Arabic version of the app was used in her class. Now she is one of the most popular children in the class.
The apps and program have been so successful that the Government recently announced an expansion of the program to 1,000 more preschools, requiring an investment of $6 million.
Why We Like This and What it Means to the Fledgling Mobile App Developer
We would like to state this right in the beginning: we know you don’t have $9.8 million to beta test an app or a series of apps. But we love this series of apps and think you can learn a lot from them.
The Government perceived a problem and went about trying to fix it. Educational apps are a huge industry, both in Australia and across the world. If you are interested in children and learning, you have to see the potential for apps that allow children to learn through play. Now that the Government has “let the genie out of the bottle” by giving their de facto approval to using play-based apps in preschool, any idea could end up getting a nice fat contract from the Government.
Play-based learning apps don’t have to go through the Government to make it into schools, though. Preschools in particular are given a wide berth when it comes to their offerings. They are required to help children learn through play and provide a plethora of activities, but those activities can be of their own choosing. For example, most preschools use “Hooked on Phonics” to give children a head start in reading and writing.
Do You Have a Great Educational App in Mind?
If you have an idea, it may come to fruition sooner than you think. It starts by contacting us here at SmarterApps. We have investors who will be happy to listen to ideas. If your idea is viable to them, we may be able to reach a deal with you where we share the app creation process and the investors share your profits. Everybody wins.
To learn more or to get started, contact us today via the contact page or call 0417 150 796.