Zachy the Robot is a delightful interactive cartoon series that seeks to educate children between ages 3 and 7 on STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Mathematics) concepts. Through a series of chapters where they will learn the basics of balance, children will be able to help Zachy and his friends save the tower from falling over at the end of the exercises.
Zachy the Robot, along with other games in this genre, is seeking to whet the appetites of young people in an effort to strengthen their interest and skills in the STEM fields. The lessons were developed in cooperation with the Carnegie Mellon University Children’s School, experts in the field of early childhood education and development.
The graphics are bright and colorful, and the voices and sounds are very playful and fun. My chief complaint is that the pace is very slow. The puzzle segments do not contain spoken instruction or feedback and so it was often difficult to tell what you were waiting for. The long periods of silence and slow screen changes are tedious for parents, not to mention children.
In addition, the gaming interface isn’t always as interactive as I would like. Speaking as a parent, if you want to stand a chance of keeping young people engaged, I think these types of applications will need to have more action when the screen is tapped. Many of the interactive books available in the App Store achieve this goal.
The iPad offers a fantastic platform for learning. The graphical potential combined with the intuitive user interface create infinite possibilities for communicating any number of concepts. If nothing else, with so many demands on a child’s attention, the novelty of learning in this way will help to make apps like this successful.
The most important thing any developer can remember is that children will learn the most when they don’t realize they are being taught something.
You can download your copy of Zachy the Robot – Episode 1: The Leaning Tower of Robocity from the App Store for $1.99.