Lay a Solid Foundation of Learning With First Grade Educational Games

First grade is an important transitional year for many children. At this point, they are leaving behind the play-centered learning of preschool and kindergarten and moving on to a stricter learning environment they will spend a majority of their time in for the coming years. However, parents and teachers can still use first grade educational games to keep learning fun so you can set a more solid foundation for the rest of the schooling years.

Video Games

Your children love to play video games. However, it is important to restrict the amount of time spent playing games that have no educational value. This doesn’t mean you can’t allow your child to play games online. Instead, it means you need to focus on finding educational video games that will help reinforce the information your child is learning in school, helping him more firmly grasp the concepts so he can succeed in his new environment.

Puzzles

Puzzles are a great way for you to help your child’s important critical thinking skills. First grade educational games that incorporate puzzles of some type will challenge your child to really think about the problem and how to best solve it. The type of thinking required to solve puzzles is different than the way children think for other aspects of school. Exercising their brain with these puzzles is important to their long-term success for this reason.

Other Activities

In some cases, online educational game sites offer additional activities that can be used in the classroom or at home to supplement the learning at school. These activities may be science experiments you can perform together or worksheets you can print up for your child to complete. Children learn by so many methods it is important to be able to offer a variety of methods to your child to ensure his success.

First grade educational games are the perfect way to make sure your child transitions well to the more rigorous curriculum that comes after preschool and kindergarten. Finding a website that provides video games, puzzles and other activities will allow you to supplement your child’s education and make sure he is fully grasping the important concepts he needs to move forward through his school years successfully. First grade is the perfect time to set the foundation your child needs in the years to come. With the help of online games, you can make sure learning is still fun.

Digital Marketing and Its Impact on Small Time Game and Mobile Application Developers

Stephen DiMarco has hit a very valid point in his post about how online marketing needs to start to assess some of the more qualitative side of marketing in terms of a brand rather than just Google Analytics or PPC, etc. In a world that’s primarily driven by unique page views, PPC campaign numbers, CTR rates, and other hard facts, it’s an interesting thought. As a gaming company, we offer post-marketing services which includes this marketing and it’s driven by numbers. We’ve yet to see how this affects us a brand, and Stephen’s got us thinking.

There are a whole slew of developers that are online at the App Store, but there’s an inherent problem with trusting a single developer. Many developers have delivered a product that’s a stand-alone app that is basically a flash-in-the-pan while others have consistently turned out mediocre but reliable apps. Who do you trust; the company that turns out one stellar app after a long hiatus or a developer that just needs some new direction or energy in their creative processes? There’s no real concept of a brand, there’s no Unilever or P&G for the App Store and therein lies the problem for marketers for iPhone development.

Although many people would argue that apps are products that have a repeat purchase cycle, etc, there’s yet to be a single developer that’s built a very successful brand using just their apps. People view apps like a utility and look to promote them as such. Very rarely does anyone ever hear about the developer but rather the app itself. This is a problem in an industry where the first firm to truly brand itself will gain a massive first-mover advantage. Indeed it will be difficult, but if a firm is able to do so, they’d easily take over the App Store.

The problem, to a certain extent, lies in the tools that are geared towards quantitative metrics rather than qualitative metrics. For example, Twitter following dictates whether you are a thought leader or follower, a PPC campaign shows how well SEO or ad placement is working. Yes, they do provide numbers which can help translate into potential leads, but there’s no concept of a brand.

Resultantly, firms are looking to use their marketing dollars to build a brand. For us, as game developers, there’s an added challenge. Although it may be easy to build one stellar app and continue to tweak it over time, such an effort doesn’t build a brand in the long run. At this point, firms need to realize how their marketing channels are being used besides the metrics they provide. Do you use your Twitter account to talk with customers? What type of a Twitter following do you have? Does your website show how committed you are to your vision? These questions begin to emphasize how qualitative metrics become important. It’s great having numbers, but as companies grow there’s a need to build a relationship with customers outside of the traditional client-vendor concept.

For example, in the case of gaming studios, a loyal group of customers translates into many benefits. Beta testers are easily found from your Twitter following or customers that have written great reviews for your titles. Ultimately these are the people that will promote you for free. They don’t show up in the metrics, you find them by talking to them. This is a brand building activity that many firms ignore. Again, for small startups it’s difficult to find the right people, but most of the time they’re hiding right under your radar. Yet many firms ignore the potential of these testers and continue to push out apps without sufficient testing. There’s no reason when there’s a small group of dedicated followers that you need to deliver a game without proper testing. These people will be the life line for your game as you need the critical honest feedback about gameplay, controls, graphics, user interfaces, etc. Without these people, you’d never get the proper feedback which helps develop a truly outstanding title.

Nonetheless, many firms do use these techniques but need to realize that there’s a brand to be built using these types of activities. Reward your beta-testers with promo codes for free games so that they spread the word about you, their recommendation to other gamers will go a long way in making your company stand out amongst the army of developers on the App Store. As mentioned by Stephen, there’s a need to change from the quantitative towards the qualitative side of marketing to build brands similar to IBM, Apple, or Microsoft for app development companies. Firms need to get away from the purely numerical side of marketing and start to see where they want to be in 10 years time.

Online Educational Games For Preschoolers – Buffet Vs Banquet

The Internet has accumulated a huge collection of online educational games for preschool and kindergarten kids, many of which are freely available to the interested parent. We looked at a whole lot of these games to figure out the quality of such readily available online fun learning games.

There are a lot of websites offering online educational games in various areas of learning such as early mathematics, analytics, language etc. However, there is one major shortcoming with such online games. This is with regards to organization of such games. We found that most of these online educational games are quite unorganized. This is what we call the “buffet” model. It is like going to a buffet to eat all you want. It can be nice in the sense that you can eat anything you want – you can even start with the dessert and end with appetizer. However, for every course you have to get up and walk up to the food to serve yourself. When you take your young kids to a buffet, you not only have to serve yourself, but also serve your young kids, which makes you work twice as much.

In the context of educating kids online, the “buffet model” requires a lot of planning and hard work from the parental side. The buffet model can make navigating from one game to another quite difficult for the parent and almost impossible for the kid on its own. Looking at such content, one easily comes to the conclusion that parents have to spend a lot of time trying to organize and present content and educational games to their kids, so that the kids would get something meaningful out of it. This means that parents have to baby sit them on a daily basis and put in a lot of a-priori homework on their part.

The other side of the equation is what we call the “banquet” model, where in it is like going to a banquet. You are served with a full 7 course meal, which you can simply sit and enjoy. It is more of a finer dining experience. Of course you will likely not be able to start with the dessert and end with the appetizer here.