Symmetry School: Learning Geometry
Symmetry School is the first app in a software suite entitled “Spraoi School” from Dublin based company PixelSoup. We are very excited about this app because the app has been featured in The Guardian as part of a list “50 Best Apps for Kids from 2013 that Parents can Trust”. A lot of research went into the app as PixelSoup pilot-tested the app with 600 children in four schools. The app’s design is beautiful and the educational content is based on curriculum. The teaching method is highly engaging and mesmerising. We award the app with the top EAS Certification of 5 Stars.
The aim of the app is to figure out reflective and rotational symmetry. The user must understand the effects of different axes of symmetry on reflection and rotation in order to develop spatial awareness and problem-solving skills. There are three modes of play, “Easy, Medium and Hard” so as to keep the user engaged and motivated on building his/her ability.
The app is very easy to use and can be worked out by simply getting stuck in. I remember when we had to learn this subject at school and we would have to draw the shapes in order to practice. It would take so much time! However, now you can simply practice quickly with the moveable shapes and when you are done, you can email the results to your parent or teacher so that they can see how you are doing.
What is most interesting is that the app tells you in how many moves you should complete the piece. Each try is counted as ‘move’ and there is also a clock timing you. This indicates how quick you are to work out the pattern and place the shapes, in the correct position, in the correct box. The process is also great at developing fine-motor skills.
In addition, the app can be played in six languages: English, Irish, German, French, Spanish and Mandarin. You can use the app in the classroom to teach, or, the app can be played at home as a fun game that builds on these mathematical skills.
There is also “Free Play” option where users can create their own patterns to play with and figure out.
Have a look at the research video using Tobii Eye-Tracking Software. The video demonstrates how easy it is to use the app and how intuitive it is to learn the educational concepts.
EAS: What was your inspiration for creating this app? What were the problems that you were trying to solve?
We’re a design and development team with a unique mix of backgrounds and a wealth of experience in e-learning design for K-12 core curriculum products. So, of course, with the release of the iPad, we were incredibly excited by the possibilities for more engaging, hands-on learning experiences!
As parents, we quickly realised that the bulk of educational apps on the App Store were aimed at preschoolers. Our team have kids ranging from 2 to 10 years, so we wanted to address the glaring gap between preschool apps that teach basic literacy & numeracy skills and apps for older learners. Speaking to teachers and educationalists, we discovered a strong need for supplemental, short-form games that fit easily into a classroom teaching period, yet remain engaging enough for children to want to play outside of the classroom! With all this in mind we began development on the Spraoi School series. ‘Spraoi’ (pronounced ‘Spree’) is the Irish word for ‘play’, and the concept of learning through play is at the heart of all of our educational apps and games.
With our first release, ‘Symmetry School: Learning Geometry’, we worked hard to create an app that allows learners of ALL abilities to explore symmetry in a really engaging, game-like way. Geometry, the mathematics of shape and space, is a fun and practical way to introduce and develop mathematical thinking. Through a series of pilots and user tests, we developed an intuitive learning experience that allows children of varying ages and abilities to explore hard-to-grasp concepts on their own terms and at their own pace. Through intuitive sticky game play, learners are aided in developing an essential foundation in spatial reasoning, problem solving and visualization.
In short, we aspire to develop educational content that is as compelling as any game!
EAS: How do you see the future of mobile learning?
Children today are digital natives — they’re constantly exposed to new technologies and devices and already use them for a broad array of social and entertainment purposes. Bringing these devices into the classroom can only enrich the learning experience, as well as bridge the gap between concrete ‘classroom’ learning time, and more open-ended learning in day-to-day life.
Parents and teachers we’ve spoken to are incredibly enthusiastic about the idea of more integration between school and home devices. This is why we work to ensure great teacher support for our products: Symmetry School has a homework module that enables students to send their results to a parent or teacher, a whiteboard version of the app is available for classroom use with every purchase of the Symmetry School iPad app, and we have an array of supplemental materials available for download.
We think the idea of a ‘class without walls’ is at the heart of successful mobile learning, and it’s something we are resolute on delivering for all future apps in the Spraoi School series.
From the Developer
Have fun and learn with Symmetry School – a multilingual (English, Irish, French, German, Spanish, Chinese) captivating, brain-twisting game designed to support and encourage mathematical development in your child.
Symmetry School’s intuitive learning experience allows children of ALL abilities to learn through play, exploring hard-to-grasp symmetrical concepts on their own terms and at their own pace.
The Guardian (Technology Apps Blog) - 50 Best Apps for Kids from 2013 that Parents can Trust
The Guardian (Technology Apps Blog) - 20 Best iPhone and iPad Apps This Week (Friday 24 May 2013)
the iPhone Mom - 5/5 “Symmetry School is a goldmine of educational fun and a great way to keep your mind active during the summer and all-year round!”
Geometry, the mathematics of shape and space, is a fun and practical way to introduce mathematical thinking, and Symmetry School encourages learners to use their intuition and imagination to explore symmetrical puzzles. Through gameplay, learners are aided in developing an essential foundation in spatial reasoning, problem solving and visualization.
Suitable for home or school use, Symmetry School has been developed in-line with international curriculum requirements for short-form K-12 learning. Symmetry School fits easily into the classroom time period and each app purchase provides access to a supporting Whiteboard version for teachers. There are supplemental print activities available to download, as well as a handy 'Email Your Result' module used for homework activities.
• Learn to recognise reflective and rotational symmetry.
• Use an understanding of reflective symmetry to complete the missing half of a pattern.
• Use an understanding of rotational symmetry to predict and describe the results of rotating patterns.
• Recognise simple spatial patterns and relationships and make predictions about them.
• Develop a foundation for understanding symmetry at later levels.
• Solve problems and learn to work systematically.
• Develop fine motor skills.
• Have fun and learn!
Symmetry School has been rigorously user tested through multiple school pilots, with the appropriate educational vocabulary used throughout the game. The language and terminology used within Symmetry School has been chosen by international educationalists for all languages. Symmetry School is available in English, French, German, Irish, Chinese and Spanish.
Here’s what educational experts had to say about Symmetry School:
"From a mathematics education perspective engaging with the Symmetry School activities provide invaluable experiences in symmetry and the design features make it appropriate for use with learners across a wide span of school mathematics grade levels." – Dr. Aisling Leavy, Department of Mathematics Education, Mary Immaculate College, University of Limerick, Ireland
“The activities allow the pupil to engage with symmetry in a fun way and promote problem solving skills. It can be used in a variety of classroom situations and I would highly recommend it. More please! – Eileen Ward, Educational Technologist
ABOUT SPRAOI SCHOOL:
Spraoi School is an engaging series of educational apps and games for home and school which delivers bite-sized educational concepts directly targeting curriculum objectives. The purpose of the Spraoi School series is to support the development of mathematical, language and science-based reasoning in early-to-middle childhood education.
Our aim at Spraoi School is to make learning fun!