COVID-19 has changed a lot of our normal routine. In California, we have been under this new “normal” since March. In many cases, these seven months have allowed families to grow closer. We’ve had to learn how to learn and teach kids in the absence of classrooms and a new landscape of virtual teaching. As the school year has begun, we still have questions about learning in this global pandemic.
To respond to the “new norm”, and the real, desperate needs that were created from COVID-19 to help kids learn and adapt, our team has been working on refining our current Storykit contents, developing two new apps, and a brand new activity storybook series!
We have seen how Octobo has become a parent’s new favorite resource and friend for their children, and assist in the needs for learning, entertaining, and socializing for kids . Octobo is a new medium that happens to have a very flexible structure that creates a great opportunity for us to be ultra-creative on rolling out new contents and activities during COVID-19.
Our award-winning Octobo tech toy provides genuine emotional feedback and comes with different storykits and interactive physical accessories to help teach fundamental skills.
Our two Storykits, a special bundle of interactive storybooks and RFID tokens, Octobo’s Underwater Adventure (comes in the Starter Pack), and Octobo and the Great Letter Search (available in the Advanced Bundle) creates a new way of play that promotes executive functioning, self-regulation, early literacy, joint attention, and social-emotional learning through various types of activities such as shape identification, counting activities, and spelling challenges. RFID tokens facilitate interactive play and our unique platform model makes Octobo easily upgradeable depending on your child's needs. All facilitated through our fun Story app and the companion storybooks, Octobo play packs also come with a play guide that helps parents facilitate more teaching opportunities through supplemental activities.
While places have closed and social distancing has become necessary, it seems like we are just stuck in our homes. Puzzles and board games are alright but they do not compare with TV and tablets in keeping kids’ attention. During these times, we have realized how valuable a fun, entertaining game could be with Octobo that brings physical movement to your mobile device. You can download this mini game for free on iOS and android, and extend your Octobo activities with the Octobo Fun and Games app. This app is focused on interactive play and brings back physical activity to digital games.
We are creating more Octobo stories that can be used with OR without the Octobo plush. Virtual learning has taken most curriculum and practice online, but we recognize the importance of physical products to support reading and learning. In our upcoming third book, Octobo’s Big City Adventure, Octobo journeys to an exciting and sometimes scary Big City, figuring out its hidden secrets using “Discovery Cards.”
The Discovery Card game system is our new innovation of dry erase cards to add reading comprehension activities to the story. This new story asks kids to use their imagination and discuss possibilities with a parent. As they find the objects on the cards throughout the story, they are asked to write and draw what they discover which promotes vocabulary building and spelling with these physical, reusable activity cards. Also a new audiobook app comes free to download!
Introducing our new audiobook app! Each of Octobo’s story books will now come with an audiobook! In addition to our new Fun & Games app, we have developed an Octobo audiobook app that allows kids to listen and learn by themselves. Let Octobo read bedtime stories to your little ones, and also reinforce daytime learning. Busy parents, give yourselves a little break!
As storytellers, we understand that discovery is what gives a book a lasting imprint on the imagination. We depend on beloved characters and magical destinations to bring the story to life, along with relatable topics to discuss. Along with Octobo’s Big City Adventure, we have been developing a new storybook series that focus on a range of feelings and emotions. During this lockdown, we’ve witnessed the effect of the lack of social engagement and feelings that have arisen such as loss, selfishness, and empathy. For each one of our storybooks, we go even deeper to integrate interactive learning and traditional storytelling. We believe not only will children be more engaged with feedback elements like discovery cards and tokens, but it will also help with their early stage development and understanding.
Two new titles will be announced soon...
This is a book designed for kids experiencing all the changes COVID-19 has brought us: not going to school, not being able to visit friends and family...and maybe even death. But even under non-pandemic situations, children lose things every day as they grow. Join Octobo on a journey to bring the lost treat back. This story follows Octobo along his journey as he learns about and explores the feeling of loss.
Octobo finds something new, bright and shiny that he can’t wait to have. In this story, Octobo struggles with selfishness and learns how his actions affect other people. With the help of his friends in Puzmo and their collaborative efforts, Octobo learns important lessons about sharing and empathy.
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COVID-19 has changed “normal” schooling, forcing millions of students to learn from their own home. According to a recent study, more than half of US K-12 students are attending school solely virtually this fall, while many others are doing some form of hybrid schooling. This new school year has parked many students in front of their computer for hours each day, and has put more responsibility on parents and caregivers to provide supplemental learning materials.
“The demand for educational support products was already growing prior to the pandemic—about 63% of kindergarten to grade 12 teachers in the US used tech in the classroom in 2017, up from 55% in 2016, according to the University of Phoenix.” However, the pandemic has caused a rise in need for these educational materials. As schools across the country have changed for this pandemic, we can only wonder if these changes will be permanent. Will schools keep these precautions in place? In these uncertain times, we can at least count on these new tools to continue to be stable resources for teaching. And we hope Octobo can become your kid’s new friend and learning companion for years to come.