Skoolbo Awarded the Coveted TWA Certification

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Skoolbo is proud and honored to announce that we have received the prestigious TWA Certification! According to the Teachers with Apps website, this special Certification Program was designed to recognize and applaud apps and connected tools that are exemplary in educational content, presentation, and execution, as well as overall user experience. We had the great opportunity to chat with Jayne Clare, CEO and Co-Founder of TWA, and this is what she has to say about Skoolbo:

Skoolbo is an all-encompassing educational tool for students, teachers, and parents covering basic reading and numeracy skills through student-driven gameplay. Teachers With Apps highly recommends this outstanding program for its ease of use, quality content, and engaging nature! A rare find.

Thank you, Jayne, for the kind words! With TWA’s seal of approval, we’re sure that we will now be able to reach even more students in the USA and fulfill our dream of every child learning to read and gaining confidence with numbers.  

We also want to take this moment to thank all of our teachers, parents, and children who play a key role in making Skoolbo the game that it is today! We know that you have unlimited choices when it comes to educational programs for your children, so the fact that you chose Skoolbo over all of the other apps means a lot to us. It is the motivation that keeps us going everyday. We appreciate you!

Are you new to Skoolbo and would like to learn more about the game? Click here to find out more information.

Could reading for pleasure be a game-changer?

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It is widely accepted that learning to read is an essential life skill, even if there is not total agreement about how this skill should be taught. Once acquired, reading is used everyday but it seems that fewer and fewer people are choosing to read in their leisure time. This decline is not restricted to adults who arguably have less leisure time at their disposal. Children are also choosing to read for pleasure less often.

But is this important? If children have the ‘basics,’ does it matter what they do outside of school? How can immersing yourself in a good book be beneficial, especially in a day and age where ‘reading for pleasure’ feels like a thing of the past?

There is a growing body of educational research evidence that links a number of benefits of children reading for pleasure. The key findings include:

  • Reading for pleasure is important for both educational purposes as well as personal development and it has positive emotional and social consequences;
  • There is a positive relationship between reading frequency, reading enjoyment and attainment;
  • There is a positive relationship between reading for pleasure and attainment in a wide range of educational areas, including math;
  • Reading enjoyment may be more important for children’s educational success than their family’s socio-economic status.

This last point is of particular interest because despite increased focus and, in many cases, increased funding, a child’s socio-economic background stubbornly remains the single biggest indicator of a child’s future educational outcomes. What if developing a love of reading holds the key to levelling the playing field for so many children?

The research also examined children’s perceptions of readers. It concluded that elementary-aged readers and non-readers believed that their friends saw people who read as happy and as people with a lot of friends.

It seems that the argument in favor of reading for pleasure has been won — so how can we encourage children to choose to read in their own time? One of the reasons cited for children avoiding books is a lack of reading confidence; thus, removing some of these early barriers becomes essential. Introducing children to picture books with simple vocabulary is a great start.

We know that once children can read a wide range of common words by sight, they are more likely to go on to become confident, fluent readers. These common words are those that children typically recognize within approximately 3 seconds. Amazingly, 50 percent of our written material is made up of these 100 high-frequency words and this is where game-based learning can help. Games like Skoolbo enable children to learn these words effortlessly and in a hugely enjoyable way. Children love games and are fascinated by new technology. Teaching these early reading and spelling skills in an exciting interactive learning environment allows children to get more from their reading. This builds confidence, freeing them to tackle more challenging words and focus more on the story or poem’s meaning which, in turn, leads to increased enjoyment.

Confidence, however, can be fragile and fleeting if we are not careful. Children love sharing books with friends and trusted adults and they are often very happy to read aloud when they are very young. Reading silently or ‘in their head’ is a skill that develops much later, but reading to an adult in a formal school setting can be daunting for some children. It introduces an element of judgement and can result in a drop in confidence. Innovations in educational technology can help children develop as readers independently and free of judgement until they are ready.

Zippy Shine is one such innovation which allows children to practice and record their reading independently. In this reading and performance app, children can choose from a range of exciting adventures with familiar characters or they can try their hand at telling a joke, re-recording as many times as they like until they are happy with their performance. As they listen back to their own reading, they instinctively self-assess, recognizing where previously un-noticed punctuation may have indicated a pause or change of intonation. They begin to have an awareness of audience and develop their performance accordingly. Children remain in control of their own reading development and only share their performance when they feel they are ready. Teachers will soon be able to receive recorded performances via their online teacher dashboard, providing opportunities for encouragement and informing planning for the next guided session. Similarly, parents will soon be able to listen to the recordings in their parent dashboard, which will give them the opportunity to work directly with their child on their reading skills. It can also be a great source of pride and enjoyment for both parent and child.

Technology may not be able to replace that special time curled up in your favorite place with a slightly shabby, much-loved paperback but it can go a long way to help our children develop the needed skills to get there!

New to Skoolbo? Register your child, class or homeschool now for FREE and join the Skoolbo movement!

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The Last Day!

This is it – the final day! Team USA let’s finish big!

Since the first day, you have been awesome, you just need to keep going a little longer.

Team Australia have a strong lead and may be hard to catch but Team GB and Team New Zealand will be doing their best to overtake you so we can’t relax.

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#SkoolboWorldCup

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Or if you’re not registered, it’s not too late!

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It’s Day 3 – Can Team USA pass the half million?

It’s the start of day three and the leader boards reveal that Team New Zealand, Team GB and Team USA are fighting a close battle but it is Team Australia who are seemingly impossible to topple!

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However, here at Skoolbo, we firmly believe that anything is possible so come on Team USA, let’s get ready to take on the Aussies!

We are so close to the half million answer mark and now that Team Australia and Team New Zealand are sleeping we have a chance to cover some ground and get more US schools into the top ten. Here’s how the leader boards looked this morning –

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Australia’s John XXIII Catholic Primary School and St Clare’s Primary School are looking comfortable at the top with St Michael’s School sneaking into fourth place. Team USA had a good day and have four schools in the top ten. Beverley Manor Elementary are continuing their good run as are Irma Dru Hutchinson Elementary and Melba Elementary School. Spring Creek Elementary are also up there flying the Stars and Stripes!

Don’t be fooled by Team New Zealand’s temporary absence on the schools leader board. They are holding on to second place overall and have some dedicated classes determined to oust Team Australia and claim glory -

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Go! US Kids Go!

Follow the challenge – #SkoolboWorldCup

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Or register here –

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3, 2, 1, Go! The World Cup Has Started!

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The wait is over, the 2016 Skoolbo World Cup has commenced!
Team Australia and Team New Zealand have made a flying start, although the time difference has given them a few more playing hours (as it stands). But it’s only day one and we have already surpassed the global one million answer mark! Fantastic!

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Australian schools have dominated the leader boards on the first day, although Team GB have nudged their way into the top ten. As it stands, St Clare’s Primary School are looking hard to beat but a concerted effort from Roseville Public School could topple them. The other two of the four top spots are being held by St Michael’s School and John XXIII Catholic Primary School. This has all been happening while Team USA sleep so make sure you eat a good breakfast. it’s your turn now!

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Team USA, let’s make an awesome start!

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Are you ready to take on the world? Play now or register free!

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Effective Teaching Habits and Skoolbo

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Recently, we came across a great article by Edutopia discussing habits of an effective teacher. With this in mind, we decided to take a look at how utilizing Skoolbo can be conducive to promoting and developing some of these habits:

  1. A Teacher Should Enjoy Teaching

As with pretty much any job, people are always at their best when they enjoy what they’re doing! Teaching is no different, where the most effective teachers are those that get a kick out of making their lessons come to life and love to see the improvement in a child who is learning steadily. Skoolbo can help here, with tangible results and scores for the child being readily available. It’s easy to see any marked improvements in a child’s performance through our scoring system, while the game itself adds a fun element to the entire teaching and learning experience.

  1. Spreads Positivity

Bringing a positive, can-do attitude and energy to the classroom is sure to resonate with and have an influence on your students. As we know, a child is very receptive to adult influence and a teacher that brings a happy aura and demeanour will always get more from their students. Skoolbo is a fantastic tool to have in your teaching arsenal in this regard, as the learning experience is such that a child is rewarded with bonuses such as “Super Suits” when they do particularly well at, say, a mathematical game. This positive reinforcement encourages the child to keep playing and learning, while promoting a positive atmosphere in the classroom.

  1. Always gives 100%

Just as bringing a positive attitude is extremely important, so too is giving your all each time you set foot in the classroom. Putting your best efforts into a lesson is one of the most effective ways to inspire your students to do the same. If you aren’t giving the best that you can give, then it isn’t realistic to expect your students to do so. Skoolbo is particularly useful in prompting full effort, given that it allows for failure at any learning games that the child plays and reinforces that there are consequences to not getting an answer correct. Without this possibility of failure, a child may click aimlessly through answers until they reach the correct outcome. This isn’t productive when trying to promote effective learning and maximum effort from a child.

 

Feel free to drop us a mail at info@skoolbo.com if there’s anything you’d like to share with us!

 

Day 3 of #NYvsLondon- Can New York Pull off Greatest Comeback of all Time!?

An incredible collective effort on Day 3 of the #NYvsLondon Challenge as these young students have already answered more than 789,000 questions, and counting! At this fierce pace, it is no doubt that the 1 million mark will be reached, it’s only a question of when!?

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Staying consistent, the Londoners have a surmountable lead over the New Yorkers, at nearly 600,000 questions answered to New York’s just under 200,000 answers. New York will have the chance to close the gap once the students in London turn out the lights for the night- but is the gap too big to overcome? Could the spirited students of New York pull off the greatest come back in history?!

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Just think NYers, that could be Friday’s headline! …And if you aren’t familiar with the Reggie Miller comeback reference, check this out for some inspiration!

 

Speaking of inspiration, a solo student at PS 175 Henry H Garnet is leading all NY classes, with his points alone! A big pat on the back to U.W.- who also happens to be the #4 overall student on the leader board, battling back and forth for 3rd place.

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1 student in class 501 at PS 175 answering enough questions to be the 19th overall class!

1 student in class 501 at PS 175 answering enough questions to be the 19th overall class

New York schools are also beginning to make a stronger presence in the school’s leader board, now holding 8 of the Top 20 Schools! PS 96 Richard Rogers has the top NY school locked in with nearly 60,000 answers… WOW! Check and see if your school made the cut:

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Whether or  not New York pulls off the greatest comeback of all time, the efforts seen on both sides have been amazing to witness and the teams at Skoolbo are proud of you all. Keep up the great learning kids, and most importantly, have fun!

Want to join in the fun but don’t have an account? Click Here to register, it’s quick and it’s FREE!

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Day 2 and New York Needs to Rally!

We’re only halfway through day 2 of the Challenge and the amazing students of New York and London are already nearing half a million answers!

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As you can see London has built up a very strong lead, but it is still early in the Challenge and we know the determined students in NY cannot be counted out yet.

Many of our usual high performers are doing their part and making appearances high up on the leader board; special shout out to PS 96 Richard Rogers who is currently holding 4 of the top 5 places for all NY classes; well done kids! They are also 3rd overall for all schools in the challenge. We would also like to send a big welcome to the students at Highgate Heights from Buffalo, NY, a newcomer on the Skoolbo leader boards whose Class 209 is currently supporting Team NY with the second highest total answers of all NY classes! classes

 

Londoners have a 5 hour head start on the students in NY, which just means we have the opportunity to gain on them later in the day and in the evening! Make sure your students know their usernames and how to log in at home. 20 minutes per student after school can really put a dent in the massive lead London is currently enjoying, it’s not too late to make a come back!

Not registered yet and what to join the fun?! Click here, it’s fast and FREE!

 

register! now

 

 

4 Reasons to Use Skoolbo – From UK’s Top Education Leaders

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Skoolbo is gaining traction and is getting recognized by some of the top education leaders from the UK. Here are some reasons why you should be using Skoolbo in class or at home, as quoted by some of UK’s leading educators.

1. Charlie Love from Aberdeen City Council Learning Technologies puts it this way:

“Skoolbo is a free app that provides literacy and numeracy practice to support the curriculum in Primary. It uses “game theory” to provide an engaging learning environment with rewards, leaderboards and the chance to fail and try again, but it is totally focused on maths and literacy, so the game itself is very much about learning, it is not about playing a game as a reward for learning.”

Aberdeen City Council Learning Technologies

2. David Cameron, who has been a key figure in national developments in Scotland is quoted saying:

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3. Education Consultant Malcolm Payton, who has led digital content programmes for the Scottish Government and in the Middle East, believes this is one of the most significant developments he has ever seen in Education:

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4. Former HM Chief Inspector Frank Crawford perhaps summed it up most succinctly by saying:

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New to Skoolbo? Register here to get your child or class started and join the Skoolbo movement!

 

Teachers: Top 4 tips to improve students’ core skills with Skoolbo

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Improving a child’s educational outcome is at the core of everything we do here at Skoolbo. Given the time restrictions in a school day, we have constructed a useful list of easy ways to fit Skoolbo into your current class schedule to help improve your students’ core skills.

1. In class rotation/stations

Bring Skoolbo into your numeracy and literacy rotations/stations, or create it as an option within your personalized learning program. The underlying algorithm within Skoolbo individualizes each student’s learning experience, providing a balance of revision, practice and new learning.

2. Skoolbo time

Install the immersive 3D game on all computers/tablets and allow students 5-20 minute sessions on Skoolbo. It can be used as a warm-up before a lesson, a way to provide daily maintenance, a rainy day lunch activity or as part of your rewards system. There are no in-game advertisements or links, so it is always a safe learning environment.

3. Homework

Skoolbo is an excellent tool for your homework routine. Its differentiated approach helps all students gain success when learning at home. It provides a mixture of spelling, mathematics, vocabulary, reading and, of course, fun! This simple guide to give to parents will help get your students learning in their own home. You can monitor student results from your Teacher Dashboard.

4. Physical Activity

Play our fun and energizing Zippy Shake game, an engaging activity program for teachers to use on the interactive whiteboard or data projector. At approximately two and a half minutes long, it’s perfect for a whole range of purposes, e.g. moving around in between learning activities, re-focusing the class or as a warm-up for an indoor PE lesson. This can be played to energize the children, getting them ready to learn.

If you haven’t already registered for Skoolbo, you can register for FREE here!