Kinoo Play and Learn System:
Kinetic Video-Chat-Based Learning, Facilitated by Family
By: Jim Marggraff, CEO
A funny thing happened back in 1997, when I observed a kindergartener and a national news anchor touch Russia, and then Cuba, on an interactive “Atlasphere” Globe that my team and I had created.
As Russian and Cuban music poured forth from the globe’s speaker, both the child in her classroom and the reporter on live morning television began to move with the tunes, bobbing their heads, arms, and bodies in rhythm…and smiling. I saw this phenomenon repeated over and over again, as people of all ages engaged with the globe to increase their geographic knowledge.
A few years later, while leading the Educational Advisory Board at LeapFrog, one of the first EdTech companies on the New York Stock Exchange, I discussed what I had observed with our experts in reading, math, language learning, and more. Their reaction was vigorous and intense.
“YES!” they said. "Physical movement improves learning."
Embodied Learning is Proven to Support Academic and Social Success
Research and studies on “Embodied Learning” show the significant positive impact of combining physical movement with learning.
Unfortunately, most educational programs today still separate the mind from the body,and physical activity from learning. In our schools, young learners are expected to sit still, watch, and listen, despite so much evidence that movement increases engagement and helps kids learn better.
When considering whether to launch Kinoo back in 2019, I first recognized the need to support connection between remote older and younger loved ones - grandparents and grandchildren, aunts and nephews, traveling parents, and more, based upon my wife’s doctoral research on the need for connection between astronauts and their loved ones on earth.
We achieved a new level of connection by enhancing traditional "video chat" with games and activities, offering novel "co-play'' (cooperative play) for younger and older loved ones, and adding kid-friendly, animated cartoon characters, along with guidance and coaching provided privately to the older loved one, to encourage discussion, bonding, and mentoring.
In addition, my team and I knew that those family connections would also improve emotional well being and life skill growth for both older and younger loved ones. But as we learned more about how Kinoo allows grandparents to play a larger role in the lives of their far-away grandchildren, we knew that Kinoo could also be a platform that supported educational development for children. We could leverage our patented technology to provide a 21st century version of the LeapFrog LeapPad that I had invented 24 years ago, and much more.
Kinoo - A Whole New Way to Connect and Learn
Our goal is to to support school readiness and life preparedness by improving both academic skills and critical, 21st-century life skills. Our academic skills include reading, literacy, numbers, and math. Our life skills include a rich set of skills developed through guided play and experiences with a loved one, such as: reasoning and problem-solving, responsibility for actions, communication and interpersonal skills, self-confidence, self-motivation, responsible decision making, optimism, empathy, and the ability to control their emotions.
Finally, to improve the learning experience, and to create more engagement, fun, and purpose for both the child and adult, it became clear that we should include embodied learning leveraging the unique ability of our Kinoo product to provide what we call Kinetic Video. Kinetic video allows the young child to interact remotely with a beloved family member or friend, while doing what the child naturally wants to do – move! They should swing their arms, hop, wave, jump, dance, pour, lasso, slice, swing, and much more.
New Activities Enable Embodied Learning and Literacy
In our Letter Lasso game, kids wave the Kinoo learning wand over their heads to lasso letters, C–A–T for instance, hear the letters names and sounds, and pull the letters into train cars to form a word.They can move the wand in a rolling motion to hear the sounds of the letters blend together to form the word CAT, and finally pull the steam whistle, WOOO-WOOO, with their wand, to set the train in motion, as it is chased by a silly CAT.
In other activities, kids pour with the wand to measure the number of cups of flour that go into a cookie recipe, cast with their wand to hook exotic, joke-telling fish, placed on the hook, collaboratively with discussion, by a remote loved one, and count the number of pieces of trash they pull from the pond for recycling.
In all of these activities, Kinoo’s Kinetic Video activities are supported with explicitly designed co-play, to enable the conscious support of a remote family member/adult who plays a purposeful, engaging role in the child's development while both have fun and grow together!
That's how Kinoo - the Play and Learn System enabled by Kinetic Video, came about, to create a completely new level of family play, learning, and development!