There is something magical about learning from a book. It’s a conversation outside time, intimate and asynchronous. In children’s books, it takes on another dimension. The author becomes a gentle guide, carefully easing notions and concepts into a young mind. The book becomes a voice, a set of tools for imparting experience. And engagement becomes the main challenge.
Children are notoriously difficult to engage in conversation. It’s hard to make them listen. Interactive books are probably the next best thing after an individual tutor: they are inherently engaging, with the medium itself enticing children to learn. Normally, however, they lack the means to practice what they teach, a way to connect the abstract knowledge with reality. The solution is simple and beautiful – games embedded in the books.
Games are fun to play and to make. Games are naturally iterative. Games are powerful tools for experimenting with new concepts. Games speak to children on a deep level, reaching where no other didactic methods can. Games can turn a good learning experience into an awesome one. They create meaning and make learning memorable. They motivate children to learn, to effortlessly absorb and utilize experience, with only heightened enjoyment as a side-effect.
When I’m writing the tools for making games in Touchoo Creator, I’m writing them for the 5-year-old me. That boy would have thought that games in interactive books are the most awesome thing since the Dinosaurs. I am sure he’s not the only one. Looking at the books we’re making with these tools, this certainty seems justified. In hindsight, tools for games in our books were probably inevitable – it’s a right and natural symbiosis.
Creator is growing up fast. With growth comes complexity, new challenges, new horizons. It is so exciting to see the things people make with it. I can’t wait to see how it will grow next. And I can’t wait to see what new and wonderful things the combination of art, education and play will bring.
Alex Tavor – Flex Team Manager