Today we have a special feature, from gold winner - Parents' Choice Award Fall 2011 – Valérie Touze from Les Trois Elles Interactive with top learning app for toddlers and preschoolers: Numberland ( Previous name : Tam & Tao in Numberland).
And here is the story: how as a teacher you become a top app developer!
(Don’t forget to check out at the end how you can get a chance to win a promo code!)
“I am a Montessori teacher and I taught for eight years in a school located in the Paris suburb. Today I am one of the co-founders of Les Trois Elles Interactive, a small company that designs Montessori based educational apps for iPad and iPhone.
My partners and I decided to set up Les Trois Elles Interactive in January 2010. We were at a turning point in our lives; our children - 10 in total – were soon going to be in school full time, we wanted to work in education but didn’t really want to go back to classroom teaching.
By January 2010, the iPhone was popular but Apple had announced the launch of the iPad, a sort of giant iPhone on which apps would run.
We met with a developer, Pierlis, who’d had a very positive experience on the iPhone market with an app called Oh My Golf and he convinced us that there was something to be done on the iPad market, especially in the education section.
At the same time, we met JeanJean, two graphic designers who work for big companies in Paris but were looking for a new project, something radically different from their day-to-day work. They showed us some of the things they liked in terms of children illustration and we decided that they would be our graphic designers.
We had a developer, we had a graphic designer, we had a pedagogy, now we needed to decide what subject our first app was going to be on. We started with animals, moved on to letters and finished with numbers. We wanted the app to be multi-language and numbers seemed to be the easiest translatable subject to start with.
In April 2010, Marie, Gaël and I started working on the content of the app.
- To respect Montessori as much as possible because we are strong advocates of the method,
- A “discover by yourself” environment with animations and surprises to entice children to go beyond what they are asked to do,
- Beautiful graphics because Maria Montessori believed that children are more attracted to aesthetic things, and so are we.
We didn’t want:
- An app that goes “oh oh” when you do something wrong (not Montessori at all)
- A game with added educational value, our first aim is education, we add a fun twist to ensure children will want to play,
It took 4 months for the app to come together. In the beginning we had a lot of adjustments to make because we didn’t even own iPads yet and it was only when we went to our developer’s office that we realized all the potential it offered.
Then came the testing phase. We tested it of course, to see if it matched our educational expectations but we also tested it on children to see how they reacted according to their age and to check if it was intuitive enough.
At the end of August 2010, Numberland (then called Tam & Tao in Numberland) was sent to Apple for approval and was launched on the Appstore on the 25th. Champagne…..yes, but not really ;-)
In a sense I think we had thought that once the app was going to be out on the market the work was going to be over and we could start concentrating on designing our second app. In fact, only haft the work had been done by that stage, now we needed to sell it and, for some reason, it didn’t sell on its own!
We gradually discovered blogs, review sites, journalists, news releases, price changes….and the Appstore ranking and that demanded a LOT of time and effort. We promoted Numberland, adapted its price to customer expectation levels, improved it regularly and it was very rewarding to read all the positive feedback from blogs, educational industry specialists and parents.
In April 2011 we decided it was time we started working on our second app. We chose Letter sounds (phonics) because it is a very important aspect of Montessori teaching and numbers and letters are often related in people’s minds.
In September 2011, Numberland was awarded a gold Medal from the People’s Choice foundation, along with well known US developers like Duck Duck Moose. We are very proud and eager for our second app to be ready!!!”
Les Trois Elles Interactive
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