Being a pro book reading, activity and play centric mom, I do limit my daughter’s screen time. I am not someone who would pull out the ipad and engage my child because in my opinion it is addictive, it can harm the eyes and I’d rather prefer movement based activities.
When I was contacted by ‘Play Shifu’ – an augmented reality fun based learning app for kids I was hesitant about trying it out. And then, I took it up thinking that we’re in the tech-age and I need to keep pace with changing times. If it is educational, then why not?
So firstly, here’s the definition of augmented reality (from google) – a technology that superimposes a computer-generated image on a user’s view of the real world, thus providing a composite view.
Augmented Reality enables us to connect physical and digital worlds. It can be used in varied ways to use any real world object and show a digital content over it – like photos, videos and digitally created content (3d objects). It is being used extensively in multiple sectors like medical science, education, entertainment (for both children and adults), military, tourism, manufacturing etc. You can refer few examples here.
Children in the age group of 2-10 years are malleable beings in their most formative years. For them, play is an important vehicle for developing language, cognition, and social competence.
Development and learning occur in and are influenced by multiple contexts. And a practical and uniform context – is the real world – connection with the real world or a physical object gives the best reference point and piques their curiosity. What better way than Augmented Reality for an enabler! It also serves the purpose of converting screen time into something meaningful and good.
Play Shifu uses AR to engage kids (2-10 years old) through flash cards. These flash cards (various versions like cosmos, ride, safari) get scanned through the play shifu app and are helpful in teaching spellings, puzzles, descriptions and functions. Of course, the scanning and the animated 3D image (bringing life to the image on the card) on the screen once the card is scanned brings in a lot of curiosity, interest in the process of learning. Even research verifies that animations have more impact on the brain than text and images.
I was sent 3 sets of cards
– Jeep Safari (animals)
– Ride (Vehicles)
– Cosmos (Planets and the solar system)
The app is downloadable on andriod and ios. Once downloaded, it is activated with a play shifu code and voila the kids can enjoy playing around with it.
– Enjoyable, fun learning and engaging
– Travel friendly (it comes in a box along with a stand which can be carried around easily)
– Inexpensive (250 INR for a cylindrical box of flash cards) – app is free as of now.
– Not difficult to figure out
– The initial stage os setting up requires tech support (The play shifu team is helpful though)
– The child (mine 4 years old) can’t do this on her own and requires me to do it with her. so no free time for me 🙁
– Can be addictive for the child (the screen in general is). It is up to the parent how much time would they want the child to spend on the ipad
Conclusively, my husband and I want to push my daughter in the direction of learning more and more about cosmos, the different professions and animals and this app totally exceeded our expectations.
Moina is a work-from-home mom to two girls. She loves to pen down their childhood and her motherhood musings.