Mingoville Storytelling makes stories educational and fun

Once upon a time, storytelling was the fabric that bound us together. The act of telling and retelling stories has always been part of human history. Telling stories is now making a comeback with Mingoville Storytelling, which combines education, entertainment and creativity.

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The latest app from the award-winning edutainment developer Savivo, Mingoville Storytelling is an app build on the principle that retelling stories help develop language in children. Mingoville Storytelling takes this technique and combines it with modern technology in the form of voice recording, colorful pictures and the ability to share stories via email.

The app contains 10 Mingoville stories, 160 images with eye-catching elements and narration by professional voice actors. This combination ensures that children are captivated, challenged and able to improve their reading, writing and listening skills. Children get to analyze stories for important elements and then use these elements to retell the story. And afterwards, they can tell a story of their own, using these 160 pictures in any combination.

CEO of Savivo, Stephan Stephensen, explains the importance of this approach: “Retelling as a educational tool has been used by some educators, especially those teaching English language learners. While it hasn’t enjoyed much time in the limelight, the technique is sound and has had positive feedback from researchers and educators around the world. We can’t wait to see what stories the children will come up with!”

Mingoville Storytelling allows children to create stories and share them, which makes the joy of telling and sharing much more approachable and immediate. Hearing stories, retelling them, creating them and sharing them has never been easier or more entertaining.

Mingoville Storytelling Combines Learning and Creativity

Review

Normal education apps are fairly similar. They have a subject, they tell you about it and they might have some sort of games or quiz attached. Mingoville Storytelling is different, though. Instead of having a specific goal, like teaching children how to add or spell, the developer Savivo has chosen a more unorthodox approach. They call it “whole language learning”, where the emphasis lies on learning to read by writing.

2 in 1 – Reading and Listening Stories

First the child listens and tries to read the stories narrated by the Mingoville flamingo characters.  The stories range from everyday happenings, like the tale of the red sock in the washing machine, to the more adventurous, like the one where the flamingo Jonathan is attacked by a shark. Narrated by American and British voice actors, the stories are quite fun and will surely appeal to both boys and girls. The accompanying pictures are drawn in a simple, cartoony and charming style. These pictures are as important to the stories as the spoken words. They all contain elements that directly tie into the stories, and this becomes important in the next section of the app.

Becoming a Storyteller

When the child has been told a story, it is asked to retell the story. The pictures are the same, but there is no narrator or written text. Instead, the child has to rewrite the story itself, using only the pictures as a guide. This activity will challenge the memory of the child, not to mention its vocabulary and writing abilities. The pictures with their clear focus on important elements do however make this a manageable task.

Creating Your Own Stories

The last part of the app, and probably the one that will see most use, is the ability to create a new and unique story. Using any of the unlocked 160 pictures, the child can write a story using their own words. The app even has the ability to record spoken words, so if the child wants to supplement the story with dialogue, sound effects or just supplementary narration, it can do that. When a story is finished, it can be shared using mail or auto-generated “Book codes”. To children, this aspect of the app is very appealing, as they can suddenly share their creations with parents, grandparents and friends in an easy and simple way.

If Savivo wanted children to learn to both write and read better by doing it, they have succeeded. It isn’t hard to get children to sit down and begin the work of making up their own stories, and it speaks to reason that the more they do it, the better the end result will be.

Feature list:

  • 160 descriptive pictures
  • 10 different stories
  • Share stories using mail or Book codes
  • Encourage reading through writing
  • Supports voice recording, for even more incredible tales

 

Introducing Mingoville Storytelling

Here at Savivo we’re happy to talk about our next educational program. We call it Mingoville Storytelling, and it will be released very soon.

Mingoville Storytelling will use stories as the vehicle for learning. In the app, children will hear stories set in the Mingoville universe, retell them and even compose their own stories.

imageRetelling as an educational concept is not a new language-learning concept, but we’ve combined it with beautiful pictures, professional voice acting and the ability to write and record customized stories.

The app contains 10 stories for the children to listen to. After having heard a story, the child is asked to tell the story again, using the pictures as help. This will encourage children to analyze the told story, combine the important story events with the descriptive pictures, and then use those elements to retell the story as accurately as possible. This will train children’s memory, vocabulary and encourage better reading comprehension and writing.

The last component of the app is the option to tell stories. The children can use any of the unlocked pictures, 160 in total, to tell stories of their own devising. When a picture has been picked, the children can write an accompanying story. If they want to, they can also record their own narration.
When they are finished telling a story, and trust us, it won’t be their only one, they can share it with friends and family in different ways. They can send a mail through the app or they can generate a Book Code, a combination of six letters, which gives access to the story. These codes can be shared easily through email, texts, Facebook or just handwritten notes, and we hope to see many interesting stories both made and shared using Mingoville Storytelling.Slider07We’re sure that children trying this app will improve their English by retelling and making their own stories. We can’t wait to see what kind of stories will be made, when Mingoville Storytelling is released. We’ll let you know when it’s ready!

Tablet-based education is on the rise in Latin America

Latin America sees growth in educational app sales.

Latin America has seen a rise in tablet sales during the last couple of years. The market research firm International Data Corporation predicts that emerging markets such as Latin America will grow to 51% of the worldwide market by 2017. With that in mind, it can’t come as a surprise that tablet-based education is on the rise in the region.

In countries like Panama, the government is running an ambitious tech campaign “Bring Your Own Device”. In the meantime Intel is considering bringing many new tablets models to the Latin American market. The development can be felt also subtler ways: for example in the online app sales.

English apps are among the most popular. That can be felt from developers across the globe. One of the leading worldwide educational providers is the Danish-based firm Savivo. Currently the company’s Preschool English application is number 1 in the Costa Rican educational iTunes store and can be found on the Top Ten lists in several Latin American countries.

Stephan Stephensen, CEO of Savivo, has recently seen a significant growth in sales of educational apps in Latin America. In his opinion, digital education is affordable and easy to use and it has the potential to bring education to as many children across the world as possible.

“The philosophy of Savivo is that education is for everyone. With the booming market of tablets and educational apps, we might be a step closer to that reality.”

The spread of tablets in the region has given occasion to a rise in downloads of educational apps. If anyone benefit from this development, it’s the children.
The combination of ease of use and comfort makes the discovery and use of suitable apps ideal for education in Latin America.

Download press release as PDF here.

The 21th century classroom on a budget

 

Yesterday we stumbled across Ubi, an American company producing software that can transform “any surface into a multi-touch display”.

Kinect+Projector+Computer=Interactive whiteboard
The technology alone is interesting enough. Using a combination of a regular projector, a Kinect for Windows a Windows 8 PC and Ubi’s software, you can make your own huge scale multi-touch display. The simplicity of the concept is appealing but it is the educational value of the technology that really gets our blood pumping.

The cost of upgrading the classroom to modern standards can be overwhelming and the reason why some schools haven’t adopted the new technologies, despite the advantages. Especially interactive whiteboards have, according to some studies, the ability to boost the educational impact on students. This, of course, requires the teachers to be familiar with the technology before the optimum teaching experience is reached. If the teachers do have the technology readily at hand and have experience using it, both teacher and students can benefit from it.

A more affordable classroom
This could be where Ubi enters the scene. The combination of generally cheap, commonplace components, and Ubi’s software could usher in a more budget friendly version of the 21th century classroom. By saving 30 to 50 percent on hardware, the amount of classrooms getting mordernised grows.

As an educational software developer, Savivo has briefly delved into the territory of interactive whiteboards and consider the technology promising. The way activities and exercises can take on a collaborative aspect is really interesting, and a way to break the mold of rigid education in new ways. The way not only the participants but also an audience get to take action makes the hardware an obvious part of future education.

The future of educational technology is bright!
Ubi’s software and the hardware solution necessary looks to be quite sensible and we applaud any technology that gives teachers and educators new possibilities and tools. We hope to see more inventive and highly usable solutions in the future!
Screen Shot 2013-08-19 at 12.12.45 PMOur English Word Battle game, for use on interactive whiteboards.

A salute to the “dumb” phone

At Savivo, we have always been working on as many digital devices as possible. Almost all our products are available across Apple’s iOS and Google’s Android, with a few available on Windows too. Just last month, we proudly released the Android version of our popular Mingoville Preschool. Our programmers tirelessly work on implementing new technologies, more efficient code and more functions, and new potential platforms for our products are always considered.
With this in mind, seeing a headline called The Death Of The “Dumb” Phone Is Near made us stop and reminisce for a while.

Trip down Memory Lane
Back in 2008, Savivo (under the name of Mingoville) released the first non-web based product, the Mingoville English Sudoku game for mobile phones. The game was inspired by the Sudoku game from Mingoville English and had three levels of difficulty. The game was designed to improve English listening skills, through listening and recognizing English words.


Similarly, a math Sudoku game was produced to tie in with Mondiso. The principle was the same: By letting the children have a fun game on their Flash-supported phones, they could learn English and math everywhere! With almost 20.000 combined downloads, the games were received well.
These two mobile games weren’t the last. A series of SkoleMat games was produced, each around a specific mathematical discipline.

And now, it seems like the old phones, cruelly called “dumb phones” to distinguish them from the smartphone, are on the decline. Research company Gartner expects smart phones to sell 1.82 billion this year. For the first time ever, more smartphones have been sold than traditional mobile phones. It is especially Android smartphones that is responsible for the decline.

The Silver Lining
But every cloud has a silver lining. In this case the silver lining is the possibilities smartphones give our developers.
Multitouch screens allows for more natural interaction with the games, more powerful mobile processors makes the games more beautiful and more advanced, while the various functions of modern smartphones open up for new options.

Let’s not mourn the passing of the old mobile phone. Instead, let’s celebrate the brave new world the smartphone has created. We are working on several new products, all taking advantage of the capabilities of smartphones, and we are looking forward to sharing them with you!Sudoku_wrong.jogIf you’ve got a hankering for playing our Sudoku game, it is available on both iOS and Android phones. Do try it out!

Doing homework with Mingoville

Edutainment and educational games are on the rise. But one thing is to find a game that educates children, another is to find a game that supports homework and evaluation of the students. Mingoville does both things. It teaches children English, all the while giving teachers the ability to assign and evaluate homework.

If you are signed in to Mingoville.com as a teacher, you have some additional options compared to regular users.
Screen Shot 2013-08-07 at 3.46.58 PMPlanning and evaluating
With the Planning tool, you are able to assign homework to your students, with both optional and mandatory assignments. The assignments can be chosen from all the different activities and missions from Mingoville. If needed, you can assign different assignments to different children, depending on their expertise and current level of learning.

When it comes to checking the homework, Mingoville also makes that easy. Thanks to a clean and efficient interface, checking a student’s performance in a nice, graphical way has never been easier. Using our Evaluation tool, you can sort the students by Name, Scoring and assigned homework.
UntitledAdministration and use in the classroom
You can also sign up new students, assign them to teacher profiles and manage their accounts, using the Admin tool. If you are a Danish teacher, and your school uses the UNI-C login, you do not have to create new users as they are already registered.
It is simple to use and create your own curriculum using Mingoville, and both teachers and students will be able to use the software with no difficulty.

We also have various supplemental materials to use outside the computer. Bingo cards, cartoons related to the Illustrate the Story missions in the game, and downloadable versions of the karaoke songs. These supplemental materials makes Mingoville a good choice for both on- and offline education.

Remember, signing up for a Mingoville trial is easy and free. You can get started by pressing this link and press the large, green “Sign up for FREE” button.

Education on the app market

What is the definition of an educational app? We’d argue that it is a program, or game, which teaches you something you didn’t know before, or expands on previous taught skills and abilities.
But simply learning something new isn’t really enough. Most normal games teach you something, even if it just is “Touch this and it’s game over”. Having a creative content doesn’t cut it either. After all, playing with a virtual puppy or with virtual blocks might inspire you and stimulate your imagination, but downright teach you something? Probably not. For it to be an educational app, it would have to teach you something that makes you better and more productive, or gives you some necessary skills.

Little educational value
Take a look at the app market of your chosing, under the educational category. Right now, just looking at the Top 25 over paid apps, you might see at least 5 apps, which doesn’t exactly fit into the category. Some of them are simple toys without any kind of educational content, even if they are fun and creative toys.
Why, then, do these apps continue to pop up, and in some cases, dominate in the Educational Apps category?
sadmingoThe answer might be, that there’s no real control over what categories you assign your app to. No one makes sure that the app where you make sandwiches to anthropomorphic animals is indeed educational or more fitting for, say, the Games category.

Is the answer seperation?
Perhaps the real problem is, that there’s not category fitting for children games or apps. Them being shunted into Education might make some sense, from a developer’s point of view. But it does cause some problems.
First of all, genuine educational apps and games are easily lost in the heap of often well-made but not very educational apps. This makes it difficult to find the right app without wading through a sea of unrelated content.
Secondly, it makes for poor return of investment for any teachers looking for potential teaching aids. No teacher has the time to download and try out that many apps, hoping to find the burried treasure.

The solution to this problem could be a seperation of general children oriented content and educational content. I’m sure there’s some overlap between the two categories, but it would cut down on the trouble and hassle potential purchasers face, when looking for educational content for their phones and tablet.

Apple’s doing it. Google..?
Back in June, when Apple presented their new iOS7 operational system for mobile platforms, one of the, to us, major updates will be the introduction of a category for children. Instead of having apps and games for children spread across the entire App Store, they will in the future be showcased in a single, curated category.
Our hope is that Google will follow in their footsteps and introduce something similar. Google Play for Education, launching sometime this fall, might possibly be the answer to our prayers. Either way, fall 2013 looks to be very interesting for educational apps!happymiingo