Online Educational Games for Preschool Kids
Apr 1, 2009 E-Learning/CALL 1966 Views
What do parents actually want?
Earlier surveys have shown that parents generally want their preschoolers to get used to computers early on, but not get addicted to it. Parents expect kid's websites to be informational, easy to use and suitable for their age. They look for puzzles, games and activities that teach essential concepts of early childhood education, such as alphabets, phonics, numbers, analytical skills etc. They also look for rhymes, stories and other entertaining content. Studies have shown that when kids are taught in a subtle and entertaining manner, it is stress-free and lot more effective. A fun learning approach goes a long way in addressing their short attention spans, and motivates kids to learn.
In today's scenario, most parents find limited time to sit with their kids in front of the computer on a regular basis. Educational websites for preschoolers should be easy to use with the ability to engage kids without requiring parents to babysit them all the time.
What do most educational web sites offer?
To our surprise, our research showed that most educational web sites for preschoolers fail to meet these basic expectations. A large number of websites offer online educational games, activities and content in a highly unorganized manner with no standardization. Each site had its own content style and navigational structure, requiring kids to read and understand verbose instructions on the screen. As most preschoolers can't read yet, it becomes mandatory for an adult to help and supervise. Typically, games are not age specific and are unintuitive in their design. Large number of games rely on the kid's hand-eye coordination, and did nothing to help them learn a new concept.
Even the websites that are more education-oriented, actually do not 'teach' or explain concepts to the preschoolers. They ask questions in a game format that mainly 'test' what the kids possibly already know. Teaching a topic requires age-specific audio-visual content that explains the 'why' and 'how' of the topic. It is the biggest shortcoming in the web sites for early childhood education.
Bridging the gap
Raylit (http://www.raylit.com) is an online educational website for preschoolers that focuses on 'teaching' and letting kids learn on their own. Raylit features interactive sessions packed with preschool games, videos and fun learning activities. Raylit has funny cartoon characters who talk to the kids, and teach them early childhood education curriculum covering analytical skills, English language, early math, science and general knowledge. The content has a healthy balance of learning and entertainment interwoven together into an interactive and engaging personalized experience for preschoolers.