Would you prefer your preschool-age child do less “Angry Birds” and more “Aleph Bet?"
Now, without removing his or her tiny fingers from the iPad (or other Apple touch-screen device), you can encourage just that. Not-a-Box Media Lab, creators of the PocketTorah and PocketTorah Trope apps, this week began selling The Aleph Bet App ($1.99) through the Apple Store. The new app, underwritten by the Covenant Foundation and boasting a recommendation from the Jewish Montessori Society, contains over 30 Hebrew words in three different games. Additional word packs will also be available for purchase in future editions of the app.
“We wanted to create something that was pedagogically sound, visually stimulating and engaging for young learners,” said Not-a-Box Media Lab co-founder Russel Neiss. “We know that for kids to keep coming back, apps need to be not only educational, but also fun to play with.”
The new app helps children identify and match Hebrew letters, practice writing and repeating each letter and teaches them to write in both block print and script.
While not the first Hebrew-teaching app on the market, AlephBet App — which features custom hand-drawn illustrations and includes original music by Dafna Israel-Kotok, a Jewish children’s singer-songwriter — is more “gamified” and user-friendly than some of its forerunners, Neiss said an e-mail interview.
It is also one of the few such apps designed for a preschool-age audience “Our app is specifically targeted for 3-5 year olds and designed to harness the “pass back effect' that early childhood educators and researchers have now begun to realize is an opportune time for teachable moments,” Neiss added, referring to the practice of parents handing mobile devices to their children to keep them occupied. “There's no start or end to the game and it allows [users] to pick up whenever, so it’s perfect for those quick moments when you’re in the car, the supermarket etc.”
For those overwhelmed by the proliferation of Jewish educational apps, a British day school teacher and blogger Channa Goldblatt, just created a new interactive spreadsheet on her LK Geek website, linking to reviews.
In addition, Y.U. 2.0, Yeshiva University’s online community for Jewish educators interested in educational technology integration, recently launched a section for recommendation and reviews of educational apps, both Jewish and secular