LeapFrog Inspires Love of Learning

LeapFrog


LeapFrog can teach us a lot about exactly how to use the digital realm in our daily lives for the greatest benefit, and how traditional business can traverse this realm. There’s no greater PR for a company than the difference it makes in its industry, and we find in our duty to promote such efforts, in a time when the media is more focused on hot trends and gossip than on inspiring the love of learning in ourselves and our children.

LeapFrog not only produces some of the finest educational toys for kids, but is also reaching out to parents and kids from both ends of the PC/Internet perspective. The company has introduced a dedicated online portal called Learning Path*, from which kids and parents are introduced to the PC world via award winning innovations like Clickstart for the home and now LeapFrog Tag – a fantastic reading tool for early readers.

On The Ground Technology

Web 2.0 has been about innovation and the exciting use of technology to our benefit, but honestly we all know by now that much of the hype has been unfulfilled. LeapFrog and companies like it are actually combining technologies like the PC, sophisticated imaging and the Web as a conduit to enhance possibility for children. I like to think of this kind of business development as “realized” potential. Web 3.0 seems just around the corner, and just such innovation and vision are at the heart of the next generation of developments – everything else is simply air when you get down to it.

Connecting The Dots

clickstartLeapFrog’s Clickstart is essentially a first computer for kids designed so that parents who want to introduce their child to a world of computer learning can easily introduce the digital realm (the real one) to their children. ClickStart plugs directly into a television, turning the family TV into their child’s very own learning computer. With a wide range of software from Bob the Builder, Thomas & Friends and Toy Story to Dora the Explorer and Disney Princesses, ClickStart engages children to build key computing and pre-school skills like; keyboard familiarity, mousing, phonics skills, counting and more.

LeapFrog designers thought of everything in developing this cool tool for little ones including making the mouse child size. I admire attention to detail always and LeapFrog appears to be tuned to this fundamental aspect of excellence. Connecting the dot that is a child’s mind with the appropriate ones that reside on the Web is the new frontier of human development from an educational point of view. The refined beauty and sweetness of this toy’s content and interface is exemplary in this regard.

Putting The Smart Into Technology

tag-reading-systemLeapFrog’s award winning Tag Reading System, will take learning to read to a whole new level. The Tag Reading System consists of an electronic reader which transforms story time for kids into a rich and rewarding multimedia event. Tag’s built-in camera reads words and pages aloud, while characters and pictures make noises to enhance the child’s learning experience. revolutionary Tag technology helps children learn to read, develop their vocabulary and learn how to spell, through games and activities from within the books in the Tag library.

Through Tag’s infrared reading technology kids and their parents can experience a unique interaction via Learning Path*. Here parents can monitor their children’s reading progress, while their kids enjoy rewards and fun activities designed to enhance and effectiveness of their experience. Here are some of the Tag titles kids can enjoy: Disney Pixar Cars, Disney Princess, Kung Fu Panda, Go Diego Go, SpongeBob Square Pants, Fosters Home for Imaginary Friends, Olivia, Paddington Bear, Dr Seuss The Cat in the Hat.

The How Of Tag

The Tag system “reads” content by identifying dotted media within selected books. A sophisticated infrared camera works as an imaging system to recognize letters, words, and symbols written on special dot-patterned paper. Using an optical pattern system and digital processing techniques the Tag reader determines the precise location within the dot media. This enables a child to jump around within a book, or back and forth between different books in a seamless way.

LeapFrog's Tag system.

So, kids have essentially a portable wizard friend to guide them through reading and all the wordy things that fly from pages to them. This is actually fairly fantastic in that reading is refined to the self-teaching as a method for accelerated learning.

What Else Is New?

Okay, so one does not usually think of toys as some of the greatest innovations ever made. LeapFrog has done an exquisite job of engaging kids and parents with technology however. I have always been a proponent of anything that helps educate kids, and being a teacher once myself it is apparent that this company is quite serious about such refinement.

No, I do not work for LeapFrog if that is what you are thinking. In my view, all the very best endeavors need to line up on the “positive progress” side of the fence if we are ever going to solve some of these problems we face. Obviously, electing a new President or watching YouTube is not going to cut it in the future.

Companies like LeapFrog can pave the way to new horizons in the way kids read, write, visualize and in the end the literal quality of their thinking. I know that most parents do not have time to think this far ahead, but our children’s world needs shaping at a slightly different angle than has previously been tried. Visualize a cool frog jumping over the hurdle of how we have always approached education – you gotta love progressive thinking.

New York based Kaplow Communications serves as Public Relations firm of record for Leapfrog.

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Comments

  1. Stevanne Auerbach says

    Phil
    Your analysis of Leap Frog’s contribution to learning is excellent. When I saw the very first product before it was in production I commented to Mike Wood the creator of the company “Your Phonics Desk Product could revolutionize Education.”I was correct. There is tremendous growth over these years yet the fullest potential of the products has not yet been fully realized. Hope they are available in all schools.

    Thought you would like to see my reviews back to 1995. send me your address and I will send you a copy of my book Smart Play Smart Toys. regards
    Stevanne/Dr Toy

    this is what i wrote in 1999

    Leapfrog Toys
    Phonics Writing Desk

    Ages:
    3 – 5 years
    Price:
    $29.99
    Phone:
    800-701-3327

    Another winner from this innovative company. This learning system desk will help children practice writing skills as they learn the alphabet, phonics and words. There are games that help them through letter recognition and word creation. The magic screen and magic pen writes letters and words. As children learn to read and write, they can check their words by comparing what they write with letters on the LCD screen. The friendly help button talks to them, encourages them, and provides hints. This makes learning reading and writing more fun and gives children immediate feedback. There are over 500 new words included in six learning games, plus an easy-to-use carrying handle and an automatic shut-off. You will need three “AA” batteries to operate the system. Your child will definitely benefit from this innovative product.

    in 1998
    Leapfrog Twist & Shout Multiplication

    Ages:
    7-10
    Price:
    $19.99
    Phone:
    800-701-5327

    This is a wonderful way to learn more math in an all in one innovative learning device The child sets the numbers one at a time and they can play multiplication tables. The interactive LCD display shows the answers. There’s a 2-skill level quiz mode and can keep score. Parent instructions are included. This is another of the many wonderful learning products from Leapfrog. Child can build their own equations, hit the activator button, hear the equation and the answer. They learn their times table. The quiz function gives them an equation and three multiple choice solutions. The child hits the activator button when they hear the correct answer. The thunderbolt function asks you to fill in the blank number in the equation. When the child turns the number dial to the right answer, hit the activator, to receive reinforcement.

    in 1997
    Leap Frog

    Ages:
    4-8
    Price:
    $26.99
    Phone:
    800-701-5327

    Create-A-Word Traveler

    Another winner in a line of learning materials. Perfect for travel, compact, and easy to move with handle. A help button along with an audible reward function is built in. There are six teach and quiz functions using touch, sight and sound. Teaches alphabet, letter sounds and over 60 pre-programmed 3-letter words. The child is encouraged to make their own words for up to 450 words. Four AA-batteries are included.

    in 1995

    LeapFrog
    Phonics Bus

    * T ESP
    * 1-1/2-3
    * $24.95
    * 800-701-5327

    The newest addition in an excellent line of phonics learning products. This is a fun way for children to learn phonic sounds and to get basic instruction to help them prepare for reading. By pushing each letter The Phonics Bus introduces children to letters and their phonic sounds. The child can push the animal pictures to make sounds. There is also a horn and a musical note. The bus is light, easy to travel with wheels that actually roll. This is a multi-sensory teaching toy. It stimulates and entertains the child while introducing letters and sounds. Listen for the frog that says, “ribbit!”

    in 1995
    LeapFrog

    800-701-5327
    Phonics Learning System

    Electronic learning aid

    3-8

    $49.95

    Created at exactly the right time to help children learn to read using essential phonic skills. This system provides the correct pronunciation of letters and words for 500 words . This is a complete alphabet and reading center for home, or “The Traveler” version provides continuity. The child hears sounds as they press the letters. Set of 26 cards comes with each desk. Just the right time to help children learn the basics.

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