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Filmmaker Prakash Dantuluri creates learning app for pre-school kids

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Preschooler Amni Roslan, 6, stays in class as he refuses to join his classmates for outdoor activities during his first day of school in Putrajaya, outside Kuala Lumpur January 2, 2013. REUTERS/Bazuki Muhammad (MALAYSIA - Tags: EDUCATION SOCIETY) - RTR3C1JB

Chennai: Filmmaker and serial entrepreneur Prakash Dantuluri, known for Telugu films such as ‘Satyabhama’ and ‘Om Shanti’, has announced the launch of Tuk-Tuk in Mumbai, a kids-travel app for pre-school children.

The app is the latest addition to Dantuluri’s company Bulbul Applications, a fun-filled learning library developed with a vision to provide clean, ad-free content to children between six and nine years old.

According to him, Bulbul provides apps that are interactive and encourages child’s curiosity, reading and learning skills.

“As an artist, film maker and story teller myself, I view a story as a recipe of visuals, sound and effects. I wanted to create the big screen experience for children in their little hands with a repository of short, easy to install, learn and highly engaging content,” Dantuluri told IANS.

“To create this library we collaborated with writers, illustrators, sound effects professionals, background score experts, animations and voice-overs artists from around the world,” he added.

Announcing the details of the content currently available on Bulbul apps library, Prakash said: “Our immediate goal is to focus on known folk and fairy tales. In the next phase, our spotlight will be on native characters and regional content for India. Eventually, we want to replicate this model in many regions of the world”.

Bulbul is a library app and it has 8 categories that encompass folktales, princess stories, Indian mythology, Mowgli and Bulbul, Krishna series and English rhymes.

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YouTube Kids launches its Newly Updated App Today

YouTube Kids launches its revamped app today.

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YouTube Logo
YouTube Logo. wikimedia commons
  • The company Launches its app on Friday.
  • The app enables you to make your child’s profile as per your selection of videos.

On its first anniversary in India, Youtube kids launches its app with new look and feature

Users can now create a profile for each kid and choose between younger or older content levels to manage the types of videos they can watch. Kid profiles work across all different devices.

“With improved connectivity and affordable data plans, we have seen enormous growth in creation and consumption of learning and educational content in the country, making India the fastest growing YouTube Kids country in Asia Pacific,” said Don Anderson, Head of Family and Learning Partnerships, YouTube APAC, in a statement.

With over 800 million learning video views per day, YouTube Kids is now live in 37 countries.

“Designed to put parents in control and appeal to kids in the age group of 2 to 10 years, the newly updated app comes with features that have been incorporated based on extensive research and inputs gathered from kids and parents,” the company said.(IANS)

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Is Longer Screen Time Bad for your Child’s Health? Experts say it might be time to relax the rules

Common Sense Media, a nonprofit group focused on kids’ use of media and technology, said in a report that kids ages 8 and younger average about 2 hours and 19 minutes with screens every day at home.

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New York, October 22, 2017 : Parents of small children have long been hearing about the perils of “screen time.” And with more screens, and new technologies such as Amazon’s Echo speaker, the message is getting louder.

And while plenty of parents are feeling guilty about it, some experts say it might be time to relax a little.

Go ahead and hand your kid a gadget now and then to cook dinner or get some work done. Not all kids can entertain themselves quietly, especially when they are young. Try that, and see how long it takes your toddler to start fishing a banana peel out of the overflowing trash can.

“I know I should limit my kid’s screen time a lot, but there is reality,” said Dorothy Jean Chang, who works for a tech company in New York and has a 2-year-old son. When she needs to work or finds her son awake too early, “it’s the best, easiest way to keep him occupied and quiet.”

Screen time, she says, “definitely happens more often than I like to admit.”

She’s not alone. Common Sense Media, a nonprofit group focused on kids’ use of media and technology, said in a report Thursday that kids ages 8 and younger average about 2 hours and 19 minutes with screens every day at home. That’s about the same as in 2011, though it’s up from an hour and a half in 2013, the last time the survey was conducted, when smartphones were not yet ubiquitous but TV watching was on the decline.

While the overall numbers have held steady in recent years, kids are shifting to mobile devices and other new technologies, just as their parents are. The survey found that kids spend an average of 48 minutes a day on mobile devices, up from 15 minutes in 2013. Kids are also getting exposed to voice-activated assistants, virtual reality and internet-connected toys, for which few guidelines exist because they are so new.

SCREEN TIME
Students play with their iPads at the Steve Jobs school, Aug. 21, 2013. The Steve Jobs schools in the Netherlands are founded by the Education For A New Time organization, which provides the children with iPads to help them learn with a more interactive experience. VOA

Mixed message

Some parents and experts worry that screens are taking time away from exercise and learning. But studies are inconclusive.

The economist Emily Oster said studies have found that kids who watch a lot of TV tend to be poorer, belong to minority groups and have parents with less education, all factors that contribute to higher levels of obesity and lower test scores. For that reason, it’s “difficult to draw strong conclusions about the effects of television from this research,” Oster wrote in 2015.

In fact, the Common Sense survey found that kids whose parents have higher incomes and education spend “substantially less time” with screens than other children. The gap was larger in 2017 than in previous years.

Rules relaxed

For more than a quarter century, the American Academy of Pediatrics held that kids under 2 should not be exposed to screens at all, and older kids should have strict limits. The rules have relaxed, such that video calls with grandma are OK, though “entertainment” television still isn’t. Even so, guidelines still feel out of touch for many parents who use screens of various sizes to preserve their sanity and get things done.

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Jen Bjorem, a pediatric speech pathologist in Leawood, Kansas, said that while it’s “quite unrealistic” for many families to totally do away with screen time, balance is key.

“Screen time can be a relief for many parents during times of high stress or just needing a break,” she said.

Moderation

Bjorem recommends using “visual schedules” that toddlers can understand to set limits. Instead of words, these schedules have images — dinner, bed time, reading or TV time, for example.

Another idea for toddlers? “Sensory bins,” or plastic tubs filled with beads, dry pasta and other stuff kids can play around with and, ideally, be just as absorbed as in mobile app or an episode of “Elmo.”

Of course, some kids will play with these carefully crafted, Pinterest-worthy bins for only a few minutes. Then they might start throwing beans and pasta all over your living room. So you clean up, put away the bins and turn on the TV.

In an interview, Oster said that while screen time “is probably not as good for your kid as high-quality engagement” with parents, such engagement is probably not something we can give our kids all the time anyway.

“Sometimes you just need them to watch a little bit of TV because you have to do something, or you need (it) to be a better parent,” Oster said. (VOA)

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Facebook Acquires the Anonymous Teenage Polling App ‘tbh’

An official statement from Facebook said: "tbh and Facebook share a common goal -- of building community and enabling people to share in ways that bring us closer together"

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tbh
Facebook brings the developers of 'tbh' app to share and expand a common goal of making stronger communities. Pixabay

San Francisco, October 17, 2017 : Facebook has acquired ‘tbh’, an anonymous polling app for teenagers which has over 5 million downloads and 2.5 million daily active users in the US.

The app lets teenagers anonymously answer kind-hearted, multiple-choice questions about friends, who then receive the poll results as compliments, TechCrunch reported on Tuesday.

“When we set out to build tbh, we wanted to create a community that made us feel happier and more confident about ourselves. We felt that people craved genuine and positive interactions in their online experiences,” ‘tbh’ said in a statement.

“Over the last few weeks, over 5 million people have downloaded tbh and sent over a billion messages. More importantly, we’ve been inspired by the countless stories where tbh helped people recover from depression and form better relationships with friends,” it read.

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Financial terms of the deal weren’t disclosed but according to TechCrunch, it is likely to be somewhere around less than $100 million and will not require regulatory approval.

“As part of the deal, tbh’s four co-creators — Bier, Erik Hazzard, Kyle Zaragoza and Nicolas Ducdodon — will join Facebook’s Menlo Park headquarters while continuing to grow their app,” the report added.

“When we met with Facebook, we realised that we shared many of the same core values about connecting people through positive interactions. Most of all, we were compelled by the ways they could help us realise tbh’s vision and bring it to more people,” ‘tbh’ said.

In a statement to TechCrunch, Facebook said: “tbh and Facebook share a common goal — of building community and enabling people to share in ways that bring us closer together”. (IANS)