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Dutch children used to learn to read with these wooden boards (leesplankje) that display a fixed row of words and pictures.

Picture taken by Admiraals Weblog on Flickr.com.

Dutch reading board, photographed by Admiraals Weblog on Flickr.com.

To make learning with the combined pictures and words more individual, Biggle Toys has developed a digital reading board called i-blocks. Children can spell the words they see and will then hear the words pronounced as feedback.

It helps to connect the different senses: children hear the words and see them at the same time. An advantage is that children do not need teacher supervision while using the i-blocks. It can thus be used to provide extra training for those children who need it.

Picture taken from biggle-toys.com.

i-blocks material.

The concept resembles the ideas by Waag Society to develop intuitive, physical toys to support spelling education by combining sight with sound, as worked out in the Spelling Factory.

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Objective: Develop a tactile toy for children between 6-7 years to learn language. Allowing them to ‘catch’ and ‘order’ words. This is one of the results of an evening of brainstorming and paper prototyping:

Modular telescope prototype.

It is a tool that is made up of different modules, allowing the children to capture objects, showing them to their classmates and telling a story about them. Turning the closed tubes up and down facilitates guessing games based on the sound the caught treasure makes. Other parts allow the taking of photographs, or have a display to show the pictures that are taken. Combining different hollow containers (object in display-tube placed behind a window-part) creates a cumulative experience of several aspects of one object-word.

The module sizes allow the sliding of parts into each other, creating one single tube that can be easily carried with a strap on the back. Connecting the corresponding cylinders allows for the creation of a network (with branching elements) enabling a game of sending words (‘Chinese whisper’), sorting objects in different categories and racing games along the coloured path.

Tweets (Dutch and English)

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