Futaba Classroom Games better than ever in 2013
Futaba Classroom Games better than ever in 2013
For an educational app to be successful, it needs to be interactive and provide benefit for students and youngsters. Far too many apps have focused on looking great and being stylish but have failed on the most fundamental aspect. Being able to provide an interactive and collaborative focus to education is at the heart of the best iPad apps and it is always good to see kids having fun while learning.
Interaction and two-way communication should be at the heart of most good relationships and businesses and it is good to see when a company takes user-feedback on board. This is the case with INKids’ Futaba, with their unique multi-player Classroom Games For Kids app. The app has been well received by critics including “App of the Month” by the Tennessee Board of Regents and a prestigious “Editor’s Choice Award” in the August 2012 edition of Children’s Technology Review. The makers of the app have been working with teachers to find out what they want in an update.
Teachers are constantly involved with the design of the app
According to John McCann, a Director at INKids – they receive requests for new features to Futaba on a regular basis and take every suggestion seriously. Based on valuable feedback from teachers using Futaba in school districts across the US, Canada, Europe and Asia the UI of the app has been upgraded to make the process of adding and organizing content even easier. Futaba’s content can be amended for multiple classes and each grade level in K5 and this is a powerful feature for tailoring the learning process for each class.
Mr. McCann indicated that audio was one of the most anticipated features that numerous teachers requested. With a recent update, teachers now have the ability to add their own voice to the games with the added bonus of having some onboard content having voice audio already integrated. Giving teachers the ability to add their, or even their students’ voices to match the content helps in providing a higher level of consistency of teaching to a classroom and ensures that the teacher remains in full control of the educational output of the app.
Given that teachers have been providing the feedback for the updates to the app, it is no surprise that many of the improvements are based on the teacher’s interaction but there have been other improvements too. A single-player mode has been integrated and makes for a more genuine and exciting learning experience while studying alone.
While the multi-player element of the app is one of its strongest points, it is important to ensure that single players get the chance to learn and have fun too. The key benefits of using this app in single-player mode revolve around an increased opportunity for the development of memory retention as well as providing support for cognitive development too. This upgrade makes the app a vital purchase for home users or parents looking for their kids to have fun while learning at home.
Supporting the Common Core Initiative is just the beginning
Additional content has also been added for K-5 students and this is in line with supporting the Common Core Initiative across the United States. This additional content includes an added focus on:
- The 50 states of the United States
- American presidents
- Flags of the Americas, Oceania, Africa and Asia
- Over 1,000 synonyms from A-Z that are suitable for 4th grade students.
Close support with Apple has been well received
When we talked to Mr. McCann, he also suggested that recommendations for upgrades to the app have come not only from customer support emails, but Apple sales representatives. INKids regularly communicates with Apple’s representatives to learn about the most sought after features of applications that teachers could use.
During 2012, INKids, were privileged to get the opportunity to attend Apple’s Educator Sales Marketing Meeting – the event was only open to 30 developers, many of whom have had their apps featured by Apple. Many of the suggestions from the Apple Education Marketing team will apparently be rolled out during 2013, including a way to bypass Dropbox for sharing content – Futaba will soon include it’s very own free cloud service to make sharing content between devices easier for teachers.
Starting off 2013, Futaba Classroom Games has again received the distinguished honor of being featured as New and Noteworthy in the iTunes Store (Education). The start of the school just after the holiday break has had many teachers looking for advice and recommendations for applications that support their curriculum.
INKids operates in the global marketplace and currently works with educators on all continents to ensure that the content of Futaba works well to integrate with their regional curriculum for the benefits of all students in K5 classrooms. It would be easy for the creators of a successful and well received app to rest on their laurels and hope that interested customers find the app. It is therefore good to see that the team behind the Futaba Classroom Games For Kids app have been proactive in making their app even more indispensable for the classroom. Combining fun with functionality is crucial to ensure that kids get the best learning opportunities and the upgrades and improvements have made this app an even more important purchase.