Learning, Innovation & Tech

Bombs & Breakthroughs

Smart Holiday Gift-Giving? Hands meet tech

CJ Westerberg, December 7, 2011 8:44 AM


  Videos Below

Want to know how educational "toys" can be incubated and developed?  Interesting behind- the- scenes interview with co-founder, David Merrill, of Sifteo, about this very topic in the video below.

These "intelligent" tech games are presented in a series of three cubes (you can add more), manipulated like building blocks, but where each appears to be a mini-technological wonder.  One of the games was developed in collaboration with a Montessori educator.  Here's an excerpt from Sifteo's blog:

At Sifteo, we believe that the cubes are an excellent tool for language and literacy, no matter what age the player may be.  However, working with an education specialist with a great deal of experience in reading instruction, Dr. Victoria Matthews, we decided to create a game for pre-readers.   We discussed ideas with her and came to the conclusion that pre-readers need a fun yet focused way to learn letter sounds.  Isolating the sounds gives a learner the foundation they need for greater phonemic awareness.  For a game, we wanted to give the the player something manipulable that could boil down the letters to their basic sonic attributes.

Looks like a smart gift for the holidays.  Cool, right?  Would love to hear feedback, especially if you've tried this out  (Disclosure: The Daily Riff doesn't have an affiliate relationship with Sifteo, and we've not tried this "hands on" yet). 

We love to hear how entrepreneurs are developing products and tools that are education-related, yet as fascinating, is the process of creation and development of them.   Merrill talks about the inspiration, the collaboration, and striking a work/life balance (with his wife as co-founder), among other topics in the first video below. 

1st video - Merrill interview - 4 minutes - via Fast Company
2nd video - Sifteo trailer 


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It had long since come to my attention that people of accomplishment rarely sat back and let things happen to them. They went out and happened to things.
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