“This product spoke to me because of my not-so-popular stance on children using technology. We are the ‘weird family’ that does not have iPads and iPhones for our children. After I had the chance to learn more about this product, I realized it was the perfect solution for us. I firmly believe the RIGHT technology, used both at the appropriate age and length of time daily, can be a WONDERFUL teaching tool!”
Founder of Mom Genius and the first winner of Shark Tank
Be judicious with your screen usage when you are with your young child.
- Adult behavior sets the standard for children, and young children benefit tremendously from face-to-face interactions.
- Children left unattended in front of screens void of appropriate and/or educational content risk the development of communication skills, attention span, and overall well-being.
Why is AILA better?
One of the first principles behind AILA is to provide toddlers and preschoolers with a tailored educational experience that delivers the right content at the right time. AILA curates, ad-free, high-quality and developmentally appropriate that helps children, through engaging characters and play patterns, to develop key academic and social skills. With AILA, parents are put in control of both screen time and content, ensuring active rather than passive screen time. With these guard rails in place, children remain cognitively engaged, offering parents opportunities to help their children take their learning from the screen to the world around them.
Howard Gardner, the famed American developmental psychologist and the John H. and Elisabeth A. Hobbs Research Professor of Cognition and Education at the Harvard Graduate School of Education, multiple forms of intelligence: linguistic (word smart), musical (music smart), logical-mathematical (logic smart), spatial (picture smart), body-kinesthetic (body smart), interpersonal (self smart), and interpersonal (people smart). A point of clarification is in order. While learning styles are concerned with differences in the process of learning, multiple intelligences center around the content and products of learning. Gifted athletes, for example, may all be “body smart,” but it does not mean they learn and master skills in the same way.
Every child learns differently – some are auditory learners, some are visual, some are kinesthetic. Auditory learners learn best by hearing and prefer listening to or telling stories. Visual learners prefer pictures and graphics. Kinesthetic students learn best by engaging in physical activities.It is important to provide children with access to a multi-modal approach that incorporates all learning styles to keep students motivated, engaged, and ready to learn. AILA provides content that addresses each of these learning styles.
How does AILA work?
AILA is built upon Dark Matter™ Artificial Intelligence (DMAI) platform delivers content that adapts in real time to a child’s interest based on their physical and emotional reactions. Designed as 10-15 minute sessions or learning modules, keeping within the guidelines recommended by the World Health Organization of no more than one hour per day, the videos focus on one key concept per session using a variety of multimodal experiences. Multimodal experiences teach concepts using multiple modes. Modes are ways of communicating information in some way, including, but not limited to pictures, audio, speech, music, movement, gestures, and colors.
Each session of AILA includes curated songs, stories, an introduction to key concepts such as letters, numbers, shapes, or colors and engaging game play. Multimodal experiences encompass a variety of learning styles and provides a developmentally appropriate curriculum. AILA ensures a child-centered, engaging experience through its original characters, songs, and scenarios that illustrate positive interactions and behavior.
Parents are able to track what their child has seen and can adjust the length of sessions. The device automatically tracks the interest of the child to offer individualized and personalized learning and to ensure active screen time engagement. Furthermore, AILA informs parents and caregivers about specific activities to follow up on to make a real-world connection to learning for their children.
How does AILA prepare your child for formal classroom learning?
“Much of the research on young children’s learning investigates cognitive development in language, mathematics, and science. Because these appear to be ”privileged domains”—that is, domains in which children have a natural proclivity to learn, experiment, and explore—they allow for nurturing and extending the boundaries of the learning in which children are already actively engaged… Advances in cognitive science make it clear that very young children are capable of much more academically than was previously imagined.”
National Research Council, Eager to Learn
AILA makes use of these “privileged domains” as well as the eagerness and capability of toddlers and preschoolers to learn by providing them content that stimulates engagement in literacy, numeracy, STEAM, and 21st century skills. For children to succeed in more structured early learning environments and to be prepared for future academic and social growth, several important areas elements need to be covered.
First, exposure to basic core learning areas such as letters, numbers, and colors is fundamental. It is not necessary for the child to master these concepts, but a strong background in reading and math concepts have been shown to be a predictor of future academic success.
Second is social emotional learning (SEL). Children who can manage their emotions, understand and relate to others with different perspectives, and make solid positive choices will enhance their ability to succeed in school, in their career, and in life. Research has shown that strong SEL skills can improve academic achievement by 11 percentile points, increase social behaviors such as kindness, sharing, and empathy, and improve students’ attitudes towards school, thereby reducing proclivities toward stress and/or depression (Durlak et al., 2011).
Third are the 4C’s –communication, creativity, critical thinking, and collaboration. The Partnership for 21st Century Learning (P21) advocates for the integration of these skills in early learning experiences for children beginning at 18 months. It further advocates for a learning environment that accommodates varying interest and skill development.
Numbers & Numeracy
“Early math skills have the greatest predictive power, followed by reading and then attention skills.” (“School Readiness and Later Achievement,” from Developmental Psychology)
Children begin to notice numbers at a very early age, specifically a sensitivity to the concept of quantity. By building on this early, children can be encouraged to develop a recognition of numbers.
Recognition of numbers leads to the development of other number skills such as counting. While many children early on can “rote” count, “rote” counting does not indicate an understanding of “how many” in a group. Furthermore, recognition of numbers leads to the ability of a child to immediately recognize how many in a group without counting each one. This ability leads ultimately to addition.
Numeracy, on the other hand, is the ability to apply basic math concepts to everyday life. Numeracy begins with a child’s ability to count – fingers, toes, toys, etc. – moves on to the ability to recognize numbers and shapes on objects such as clocks, and extends to when children can express how many cookies they want. These foundational abilities will help a child solve problems, analyze information, understand patterns, and make appropriate choices.
STEAM, (Science, Technology, Engineering, Art, Math) is important because these five areas are part of our everyday activities and lives. Facility in these areas helps us solve problems, teaches us how to be creative and analytical, and teaches adults and children alike how to work through everyday challenges. According to the US Department of Commerce, STEAM occupations are will continue to experience a rate of growth nearly double that of occupations within non-STEAM sectors.
STEAM instruction in early education need not be formal. It is not about flashcards or overt instruction, but rather, STEAM instruction is about the things that children do daily. STEAM education can be as simple as pointing out why and how things happen in our everyday lives. Why does something fall? Why does something breaks? Why do two colors make another color? Children practice STEAM activities naturally. They build forts out of cushions, they pour sand from one container to another, they mix paints, they build towers with blocks. Through this play, children learn about the world around them and build their own theories.
Recently, STEAM has become STREAM to give recognition to the importance of reading and writing. Literacy is an important aspect of the curriculum, as it too requires critical thinking and creativity. Reading and writing are prerequisites to learning science, technology, engineering, art, and math.
By stimulating interest in STEAM concepts, children are encouraged to continue exploring on their own, which leads to independent problem solving. Problem solving motivates children to stay focused and to make informed decisions.
Children are naturally curious and are “scientists” starting from a young age. As they observe, they form questions, make predictions, formulate hypotheses, and design their own experiments. They test their hypothesis and refine their predictions all as part of play. They also learn from other children and adults by observing and testing out what they have seen, as well as what they are questioning.
Technology is not only computers, cell phones, and devices. The “T” in technology includes any man-made object, something has simple as a fork, a pair of scissors, or a wheel. As children use and play with these “tools,” they learn their function and come to understand causality. They learn that with a fork they can pierce food and bring it to their mouths, and that there is a difference between a fork and spoon. They learn that with scissors you can divide a piece a paper into smaller bits, that a wheel enables a vehicle to move more quickly.
The “E” in engineering refers to the combination of what a child learns in science, math, and technology. When children build with blocks or build a pretend house with cardboard or observe someone piling up sticks, they are “engineering.” These activities lead to an understanding of how things work.
Art was added to the “STEM” curriculum because the ability to think creatively supports a child’s ability to solve problems and to innovate. Research has also shown that early exposure to creative arts supports cognitive development. As children engage in painting, play, music, and drawing, they are discovering that symbols can be used as a means of expression. The “A” in art also includes music. Music reinforces pattern recognition and numeration.
Children are surrounded by “mathematics.” They encounter daily concepts of “more and less,” shape, size, sequence, and distance. When a child plays with a new object, they are exploring concepts of shape and size. When a child asks for another piece of fruit, they are exploring the concept of more. When children learn that reading books comes after bath time, they are exploring the concept of sequence.
Look for opportunities to focus on children’s interests.
Encourage all types of play within the learning environment—dramatic, constructive, creative, physical, and cooperative play.
Provide opportunities for children to play and to interact with each other.
Connect online play with hands-on play.
Be willing to change the plan.
Change it up. When guiding children, use different approaches and consider the learning styles of each child.
Observe children as they play. What skills have they developed and what are they just beginning to learn?
Whole Child Focused
Provide opportunities to help children develop skills beyond early language, literacy, and mathematics. Offer feedback and encouragement regularly to reinforce academic skills and social emotional learning. These practices will help children foster self-esteem.