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robertogreco : tocaboca   3

Toca Boca’s Apps: The Best iPad Games for Kids? : The New Yorker
"Toca Tea Party is also a multiplayer, interactive experience: you can sit three kids around the iPad, and each one gets a drink and a plate, a chance to pour, spill, and wipe up. In Hanna Rosin’s recent Atlantic cover story, “The Touch-Screen Generation,” she describes the iPad as functioning “like a tea table without legs.” At the end, when the last doughnut is eaten (tap, tap, tap on the plate), a basin of water pops up and everyone can put their dishes in the sink. “We got feedback saying, ‘We want to do more dishes!,’ ” Jeffery says. “No adult has said that ever. Kids just want to participate, and housework is an environment they are familiar with.” Toca House offers much more virtual cleaning: mopping, laundry, dishwashing, and (my personal favorite) ironing that never ends in scorching or ironed-in wrinkles. Jeffery says they have gotten a lot of response from parents of children with autism on Toca House, which they can use to practice everyday tasks—without real-world frustration.

Although the praise from the autism community was unexpected, a frictionless play environment was part of Toca Boca’s mission from the start. Toca Boca apps have no levels, no rewards, no beginning, middle, and end. They also have almost no words, because much of their target market can’t read. Why frustrate the kids with written instructions? And why pay to have those instructions translated into the languages of the hundred and forty-six countries where the apps are sold?

“If you look at what’s available in the App Store, almost everything is in the learning category, only books and games,” says Jeffery. “That’s how adults play. Read a book, play Angry Birds on your phone. But you would rarely pick up a doll… which is a shame.” What Toca Boca is trying to do is open up the digital experience, let kids make mistakes, figure it out as they go along—without getting eaten by a zombie, or pigeonholed as a princess."
alexandralange  2013  applications  children  iphone  ipad  ios  tocaboca  design  rewards  play  openended  open-ended 
march 2014 by robertogreco
Infovore » Toca Builders, and the spirit of Seymour Papert
"Toca Builders takes the abstract building of Minecraft – tools attached to a disembodied perspective (albeit one hindered by some degree of personhood – factors such as gravity, and so forth) – and embodies them to help younger children answer the question which tool would you use to place a block where you need to? Or sometimes backwards: which block shall we place next? It is not quite as freeform as Minecraft, but it actually forces the user to think a little harder about planning ahead, lining up his builders, and which builders go together well. Measure twice, cut once.

To that end, it’s much more like real-world building.

Papert was very clear about one particular point: the value of this is not to think in mechanical ways; it’s actually the opposite. By asking children to think in a mechanical way temporarily, they end up thinking about thinking more: they learn that there are many ways to approach a problem, and they can choose which way to think about things; which might be most appropriate.

And so Toca Builders is, in many ways, like all good construction toys: it’s about more than just building. It’s about planning, marshalling, making use of a limited set of tools to achieve creative goals. And all the while, helping the user understand those tools by making them appear in the world, taking up space in it, colliding with one another, and needing moving. All so that you can answer the question when you’re stuck: well, if you were Blox the Hammer, what would you do?

Some of what looks like clunkiness, then, is actually a subtle piece of design.

If you’re interested in the value of using computers to teach – not using computers to teach about computers, but using computers to teach about the world, then Mindstorms is a must-read. It’s easy to dismiss LOGO for its simplicity, and to forget the various paradigms it bends and breaks (more so than many programming languages) – and it’s remarkable to see just how long ago Papert and his collaborators were touching on ideas that are still fresh and vital today."
via:blackbeltjones  computation  edtech  education  games  gaming  minecraft  tocabuilders  tocaboca  seymourpapert  constructivism  logic  thinking  criticalthinking  2013  objectsforthinking  mindstorms  logo  computationallogic  computing  constructiontoys  planning  problemsolving  debugging  troubleshooting  ios  applications  iphone  ipad  coding  children  programming  teaching 
june 2013 by robertogreco
Introducing: Helicopter Taxi | Toca Boca
"As our first digital toy, we are proud to announce the release of Helicopter Taxi for iPhone! The story is that Rita and Skip, our pilots, run a helicopter taxi that picks up five different characters that need to get to certain places. Your kids can fly the helicopter by walking around in the room and moving the iPhone. Since it is in 3D, you can look at the helicopter from all angles by simply turning the iPhone. After picking all of the characters up and flying them to where they want to go, you fly the helicopter home so Rita and Skip can rest for the night. After that, you’re ready to play again!

Helicopter Taxi uses the camera on the iPhone in an innovative way in order to create an augmented reality effect. It looks like the helicopter is flying in the room with you! You pick the characters up by simply laying the iPhone down on a flat surface, and then they get in or out."
children  gamedesign  toys  iphone  applications  ios  helicoptertaxi  tocaboca  interactive  fun  augmentedreality  ar 
march 2011 by robertogreco

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