WeilyApps Founders Share Lessons Learned with Cogswell Students
WeilyApps began as a collaboration between Anita Weil, an educator and former programmer, and Nancy Daniels, a graphic designer. Daniels had also worked in the field of children’s informal learning and educational toy development since 2002. They saw a need for high-quality, interactive learning tools for younger children in the mobile space and decided that they could fill it. Weil’s experience as a teacher helped her see that the majority of children are visual learners.
Their first app was PhotoMatch developed for the iPhone and then the iPad. Children match photos that can either be stock photos or the family’s own photos. The iPad offers a great opportunity to engage children in the learning process.
“With the first app we got our feet wet,” said Daniels. “We learned a lot about the market, how to market, distribution, competition and how to price our products.”
Their second project is a Visual Math app that will begin with shape recognition, basic measurement, number recognition, patterns and introducing children to the concepts of less/more comparisons and time. They envision their app to be used in an informal learning space as part of their everyday activity.
During the testing of the program they learned that they needed an intro to the learning concept so they added cues and hints along with animated interludes that provided a pause between levels. They also discovered that reward and feedback mechanisms reinforced the learning process.
Other things they learned along the way – when you get into the app store you need to find a way to get noticed – so they searched for an appropriate app reviewer who targeted the audience they were trying to reach.
The pair discovered they enjoyed the creative process and the opportunity to offer new learning tools to eager, young minds. They look forward watching their company grow and can’t wait to see what’s next.
April 22, 2011