By: Laura Steiner
One of the big problems for parents with summer holidays is screen time, and how much to give kids. Enable Education has come up with an app to teach kids critical thinking skills. It’s a series of three cartoons based around a world they’re calling “Wiseland,” based around a character: Sophia the Wise. Each cartoon has a question posed by a video, and gives kids a choice between three possible options. “Critical thinking like this is applicable to every subject area.” Leask said.
The app was inspired by her teaching experience includes time with 18-25 year old adults who were unable to put together an argument. “They didn’t know they were allowed to disagree, or think their own thoughts,” she explained
The first three videos are on Fairness, Superheroes, and what makes a human. The video on Fairness is called: This Fair is not Fair.” It focuses on a carnival game where characters throw beanbags at a target to win a prize. They each open their boxes of beanbags to realize each gets a different amount of beanbags. The question then becomes Why do some people get more than others? Is it because of age (older/ younger), or because of skill level. “The name of the game is to get kids to go away, and think about it for themselves,” Leask explained. There is a space on the end of the app for kids to write or draw their own ideas.
That’s exactly how it’s worked according to parents involved in the testing. “A lot of the time, at 10 o’clock at night, they’ll hear this little voice from the bedroom. I’ve had an idea. I’ve been thinking about this; there are only three answers, but what about answer four, and answer five. I need to do know about this,” Leask described. The app is being marketed to parents, and a web portal is in the works with a marketplace aimed at teachers who want to buy lesson plans.
Each question costs approximately $10,000 to make. The plan is to eventually make it self-sufficient, but in the meantime there is a Kickstarter campaign underway. Leask says she’ll keep making them as long as the demand is there.