The aim of Pictoo's NameGames™ is to engage infants (from 8 months until 4 or five) with the names and faces of friends and family. The idea is that a constant familiarisation with pictures of loved ones enhances the bond with them. The Founder and of the app, Psychologist Dr Jordan P. Lippman argues that the app develops verbal and communication skills as well as encouraging positive relationships amongst family members which, in turn, has an impact on self-esteem, social skills and future educational success.
At the Educational App Store we were very excited to see this app. It is so rare to see apps that are based on academic research and we were intrigued to see how the world of academia, coding and design would come together and produce an app. The result? Success. The app is fabulous and attains EAS Recommended Status.
The app can go beyond a familiarisation of family and friends because you can take pictures of or upload any object that you wish. Once you upload the picture, the app asks you to speak into the device and to record the name of the person or object that is in the picture. This is great when it is for people as they themselves can record their name and make it even more fun to associate, name and voice to the picture.
Once the app is set up, Pictoo, the playful and colourful giraffe, asks you to find the object or person in different scenes. Sometimes, there are pre-determined objects within the game that come up and you are asked to find them. The games are fun and very engaging. My niece was concentrating very hard and using her little fingers to tap in the right spot during the games thus really engaging her fine-motor skills.
We asked the creators of the app some questions in order to offer more insight into the app:
How did you come about the idea for the app?
My wife and I’s family is spread all across the country and we have always been concerned how the distance would affect our children’s relationships with them. We found the infrequent visits and sporadic phone and FaceTime calls were not doing enough to help them get to know their family members.
I decided to take action and do something about it. About a year ago, I came up with the idea for the app NameGames. It teaches infants and toddlers the names, faces, and voices of family members. By playing with the app, my kids are constantly reminded of their relatives in an exciting, developmentally appropriate setting and we are able to devote the little time they have with relatives to fun games and activities rather than learning who everyone is... Not to mention the joy those relatives experienced when they heard their name said for the very first time!
How did the relationship between the research lead to the creation of the app today - and, how does the technology improve the learning outcomes in children?
Namegames’ foundations are deeply rooted in the research surrounding cognitive development in children. From how the intelligence mechanism of the app responds to the child’s interaction, to the complexity of the background images influence on difficulty. There are multiple levels of corrective feedback that help guide the child through the learning process and the animations for the correct answer were crafted to form the strongest correlation between correct responses and rewards.
Technology in the modern era is a controversial tool when it come to learning in children. We approached the design of the app conscious of the fact that we had to create a product that allowed the child to explore the learning environment while simultaneously being guided with both visual and audio cues. This system creates an ideal learning sandbox and helps familiarize children with the rules of gameplay while learning the names and faces of the important people in their life. (for more on this please see the description and rationale attached)
How have you tested the app? What has been the feedback?
We have 2 PhD’s that specialize in Cognitive Development in young children on our board. They are currently conducting an in-depth study of the app’s influence on learning acceleration in children. Preliminary results reflect a positive correlation between using the app and name recognition.
I recently had my in-laws come to visit for the first time since the baby was born, he is 9 months old now and not only did he recognize grandma by giggling with excitement, but said ‘Grammy’ without missing a beat...in all the face-time calls we’ve had with her he never made the connection. That was a very emotional moment and we have been getting emails from parents using the app with very similar stories from their own experiences with the app. This outreach has made me feel like not only had I helped create a wonderful and fun app, but something that will ultimately strengthen relationships.
We love the personalisation aspect of the app very much. The app really engages the child with the world around him/her. The quality of the app is great and the illustrations are truly beautiful. You can download the app here for the enjoyment of ALL your family and friends! Happy learning!
From the Developer
- Teaches children (8 months +) the names and faces of the important people in their lives
- Fosters strong, early relationships with family and friends
- Turns your photo albums into interactive learning games
- Develops important skills that underlie reading readiness
- Editor's Choice Award Winner
- Developmentally appropriate for children 8 months and older
- Import or take photos of family and friends
- Record names with custom audio
- Learning goals are aligned with Early Learning Standards from across the country
- Intelligent game engine adapts to the skill level of the child
- Pre-Literacy & Language Skills
- Facial Recognition
- Fine-Motor Control
- Hand-Eye Coordination
- Knowledge of Self & Others
- Quantitative Reasoning
- Categorization Skills
About Pictoo's NameGames™
Our mission is to take learning and make it personal! As parents of young children, we create fun, developmentally appropriate educational activities using familiar people and objects to help each child reach their full potential. Our unique edu-tainment products strengthen important relationships between children and their loved-ones by engaging them in shared, rewarding experiences. Each game has been carefully crafted by our team of PhDs, specializing in cognitive psychology, learning and development.
For more information, visit www.pictoosnamegames.com