When we’ve decided that we’re going to do educational apps for the youngest ones, we knew it has to be totally different. Our goal with education is to exempt kids from the gritty system and give them more freedom so they can choose the direction they want to go and teachers will be wind in their sails. Nowdays, studying is viewed as something that you have to do, but for us it‘s never ending adventure. We want kids to view it the same way. They are all about exploring, sourcing, learning new things and are naturally curious. Thats how mother nature arranged it for us so we can constantly grow and move on. There is no need to force somebody to do something.
We’ve clearly figured that the game has to be unique. Not something boring that you would have to learn by heart. Insted, we’ve decided that honest approach based on the newest information and educational methods is the way to go. Something where kids, their needs and natural individualism are in the first place.
Our choice is the only verified, structured and systematically created method of maths education. Hejny’s method was created by Vit Hejny almost 90 years ago. His main goal was to find out why are students learning formulas by heart instead of trying to understand the problems. This approach creates very inefficient mindset and students are not able to solve problems effectively in real life. They present obtacles rather then challenges. Prof. Milan Hejny continued enthusiastically in the work of his father Vit and together with his team expanded this method to the schools all around the world. This method is being used in 750 schools not only in Czech Republic, but also in Italy, Greece, Finland, Sweeden, Poland or Canada.
Obviously, Dora is not the exact copy of this method but our game is largely inspired by it. When we were designing the game, we implemented manily schematic learning, work in enviroment, real experience and actual motivation. Learning with Dora is easier and more effective comapred to classic 1+1=2 method mainly thanks to:
Work in enviroment and schematic learning
- Game is situated to the specific enviroment which is close to the kids – holidays in nature
It is devided into 4 seasons – Spring, Summer, Autum and Winter. Seasons are related to each other, they continue naturally and they have incorporated representative elements. Thanks to this, kids are creating unconscious connections between working with an apple in Spring season and another apple in Summer season. Seasons are visually different which means that kids will easier understand that given example – given link refers to different areas. They will gradually understand that apple, flower or fox – their quantity, thats the mysterious number 1.
- Every season has its typical elements that are related only to that exact season. That sounds like we have just isolated that exact element, but the opposite is true. Kids are going to match that exact season with exact value. For example two snowflakes. They are not going to be working with snowflakes further on, but they are going to be working with specified number – two different objects. This is how they create schemes of the exact value in different areas. Then it seems like they know even something we didn’t teach them.
Natural motivation and working with mistakes
- You’re not going to find any rewards, aquiring or loosing lifes, getting some points etc. in this game. It motivates us as well as kids at the begining but this is exactly how our natural motivation of doing things just because they make sense to us is being killed. If we motivate kids with the rewards, they are going to look for them later in life subconsciously. They are full of expectations and their motivation to work on something often ends after fulfillment of the early expectations. Then they want more and more and we think we all know this endless pursue from our lives. We should teach kids to do things that are fulfilling them and do them because they enjoy doing them.
- Their motivation should be the pleasure from their growth, from the discovery of something new, from overcoming of the unknown. Mother nature has provided us with our internal need for growth and explorement. We don’t have to destroy it with artificial rewards. Because in the end, we will teach kids to do what they will get the highest reward for and not what they actually enjoy doing. Thats why this game is full of beautiful objects, colors and sounds that should support positive emotions.
- This game is also focused on the creative space for analysis of the steps made and their consequences, rather than refering to the mistakes and fails. Kids have a chance to fix their steps without being punished or losing some points. In ordinary schools, mistakes are being punished by bad grades and they publically show them. This creates fear from failing in the future and also certain level of shyness in expression of their opinions. However, in this game kids can continue until they complete the task. They can even use some help. Mistake is a chance to analyze your decisions and move on.
The fact that the game is situated in the natural enviroment , it contains elements of the ordinary life as well as basic geometrical elements such as square, circle or cylinder which helps to create connections between real life and mathematics.
Hejny’s method if obviously far more complex but despite that, Dora offers more than ordinary learn by heart methods. There is more context in the background too. This is result of many brainstormings as well as real experience from schools, working with kids and human behaviour. In the end, it reflects us as the authors as well ☺ Dora has been created for the kids, their smile and pleasure of exploring.