This week saw the launch of three new educational apps on the Apple Store, based on the adventures of The Flitlits. The apps were the brainchild of Eiry Rees Thomas, who has spent over three years developing the concept with a team of education experts and designers.
The aim of each app is to help youngsters between the age of 8 and 11 to improve their literacy skills, in effect acting as a teaching aid. All focus around one main adventure, supported by further stories and content, which help to highlight the Flitlit characters. As Eiry told us, “The characters are deliberately diverse in order to champion differences and have a real look about them that makes it easy for children to relate to and recreate on stage”.
The stories are also linked to generic curricula, supported further by three educational guides that were three years in the making.
We love the concept – gone are the days when reading just had to be two dimensional, as the apps truly help to immerse children by spanning the existing divide between standard picture books and novels.
Our thoughts after testing the apps:
The Flitlits live on the Island of Fussbut, Seldom See – a land that time forgot. On opening each app, you’re presented with an interactive map of Fussbut, Seldom See, enabling children to click on the different locations to explore in further detail. Visually it looks like a treasure island, with beautifully detailed icons that draw you into a mystic land.
Exploring the map:
After spending some time exploring, it’s then time for the story. You can flick seamlessly between pages, with narration throughout (which can also be turned off), coupled with the highlighting of text so it’s easy for children to keep up. The graphics are great due to the animation (with lots of magic flashes and flying), adding an additional element to keep kids entertained.
The easiest way to describe it is as an interactive book supported by animated cartoon images.
Inside the story:
Although the apps aren’t free, the pricing is very fair when you compare it to the cost of a picture book. So far it’s looking to be a great success and there is already talk of a potential book deal to accompany the app range, providing further teaching aids to encourage kids to read.
The apps are currently available specifically for iPads, with the text and narration available in 3 languages (English, Welsh and US English).
The Funny Fair: Available for £2.99 from the Apple App Store
A Ferry To Airy: Available for £2.99 from the Apple App Store
A Shine Show Shock: Available for £2.99 from the Apple App Store