Sometimes parents are busy. Even if they wish they had all the time in the world to sit down and help their young children learn new things, it’s not always possible. But what can they do? It’s not like kids can teach themselves, right?
Thanks to Montessorium, an educational startup based in South Dakota, kids may be able to do just that. This company creates a variety of educational apps that interact with kids and make learning more accessible than ever for them.
Montessorium believes that “learning is a lifestyle,” and their apps are based on learning methods created by scientist and educator, Maria Montessori.
The Montessori Method
Maria Montessori, who was one of the first female physicians in Italy, developed her unique approach to education after making a simple observation: children are naturally curious. She noted that while schools often had difficulty keeping children's attention, it wasn’t because kids didn’t like learning. Kids are always learning and want to know more about all the subjects that interested them. The problem was the way schools were teaching.
The Montessori Method emphasizes individualized education for students. Rather than teaching students one way at a certain pace, students should have their education tailored to fit their specific needs and interests. The idea is to provide a thoughtful environment where students can learn about what most interests them (within a particular range of options), in the way that best helps them learn. This method is more “hands-on” than traditional learning, and it aims to make students more engaged and enthusiastic about their education.
This education method is not without criticism. Some claim it gives students too much freedom and the learning structure is too loose. Others argue it is outdated and has no more significant benefit than regular public school education.
When Montessorium was initially created, they received some skepticism about their use of the Montessori method, but they were able to overcome it and grow their business. They believe that this method is the most beneficial for learning, and they are sticking with it.
While Montessorium has a variety of apps available, including apps to teach cursive handwriting, geography, and math, what has brought them attention is the idea for an app, called “Tooder,” which helps kids learn with “smart cards.”
The Tooder app aims to be compatible with whatever a child is currently learning. The app comes with sets of physical flashcards, and when the app asks a question, the child needs to hold up the appropriate flashcard for the answer.
If a child is learning the alphabet, the app might ask them to hold up the letter “Z,” the child will show the app the “Z” card, and it will confirm the answer is correct before moving onto the next question.
The app isn’t just smart enough to recognize a correct answer. It can also keep track of certain things like questions answered wrong and how long it typically takes for a child to answer a question. The app can then adjust it’s pace or go back to questions that the child had problems with.
With specific flashcard packs, it is also possible for students to choose to learn more when they want to. If they are learning about animals, the app might give them options to learn more about, lions after correctly holding up a lion flashcard, for instance. This encourages children to explore the topics that interest them.
Getting the Apps
Montessorium’s learning apps are available in the App Store for $4.99 each.
A Kickstarter was created to fund the Tooder app, but the funding was canceled on May 15, 2018. The Montessorium website still emphasizes the product, and the company’s Twitter has also not commented on the cancellation of funding. Tooder was slated to come out in August 2018 and may still come out at a later time, but it seems to at least be on hold for the moment.
Regardless of whether or not Tooder becomes a reality, it is an interesting idea and something that may be possible with newer technology. Montessorium itself will undoubtedly continue to grow and expand its collection of educational apps. In 2017, the company raised $1 million in investments, and it’s education methods have also gained a lot of attention.