ELSA apps are play-based, encourage active learning, and inspire children to interact with nature and explore it.
These apps focus on play, encourage active learning, and inspire children to explore and interact with nature. Two-thirds of the ELSA program takes place off-application, according to the ERA model (Experience, Represent, Apply). Instead of focusing on discrete STEM disciplines (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics), ELSA apps emphasise STEM Practices: the ideas, methods, and values that underlie STEM.
Within the apps children could do the following activities:
We provided the following services:
Within the apps activities, the following STEM topics are covered, this includes: patterns, relationships, location, and arrangement.
Children can play many games within each app, depending on the environment they are learning in and what's currently of interest to them. As part of our development, we also created four different characters. Each character has traits and characteristics that make them distinctive and suitable for the topics they represent.
To teach young children STEM concepts, we developed apps. Our first app introduced the concept of understanding patterns and arrangements. Children learned this through activities that included ordering a day's activities, stringing together decorations, singing and dancing exercises, and sorting healthy food items into lunchboxes.
The app activities in ELSA by design allow kids to play and learn freely while teaching STEM concepts. Some activities allow children to play individually or in small groups. Other activities encourage play off-app as a group activity. The flexibility of content we delivered to the client enabled educators to choose activities that suited resources and requirements in the learning centre.
We had the pleasure to work with the Mode Team on the development of digital learning apps for the Early Learning STEM Australia (ELSA) program. The final products were innovative and conceptually strong, in part because they are able to establish a strong nexus between creative design and functional use.
Dr Tom Lowrie - Centenary Research Professor - University Of Canberra
In the second app that we made for ELSA, we taught spatial terms, such as over, under, on top of, underneath, etc. Within the app, children could hide and seek, explore the zoo, arrange books on a bookshelf, and take photos (to comprehend viewpoints) in a playground setting. In the hide and seek activity, Augmented Reality (AR) was used appropriately to teach educational content, not as a gimmick. It allows a small group of children to play together and practise spatial terms.
The children's apps developed by ELSA include activities for understanding Patterns and Relationships through dance and object arrangement. As well as introducing Location and Arrangement, students should be able to comprehend terms like over, under, on top of, below, etc., as well as grasping what a point of view is.
ELSA apps have received positive feedback from educators involved in the ELSA pilot, further research and news can be found on the ELSA website. ELSA was selected as a finalist in the category Education Technology at the 2020 Australian Financial Review Higher Education Awards.
"Mode have a level of polish and attention to detail to their work that is impressive and rare. I'd recommend that you talk to them about your next game project."
"Thank you Mode for believing in the kids we work with and throwing everything that you and the team had at this project. And finally – thanks for delivering a super cool and engaging game. Hip hop meets maths and science – got me hooked!"
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