Today’s interview is with Sue Park and Janet Eales of Language and Learning Steps, LTD. Please visit their website, Facebook and Twitter pages. Read our review of Key Word Kids.
Thank you for participating our interview. Please tell us a little about yourself.
We, i.e. Janet (Special Education Teacher/ Guidance Counsellor/ Play Therapist) and Sue (Speech Language Pathologist), have worked as a team for over 30 years developing multidisciplinary programs to use with children and adolescents who have speech and language disorders and delays as well as those that have been diagnosed with Autism Spectrum Disorders. In May, 2013 we were successful in applying for the Germinate program of ilab, (Uniquest) at the University of Queensland, Australia, to develop our idea of incorporating a successful language program as an educational therapy app which could be used by speech pathologists, teachers and parents to facilitate children’s language learning (including both comprehension and expression components). We both have post grad qualifications and work in our respective private practices, often collaborating on projects, including being the approved Australian trainers for the Derbyshire Language Scheme (Masidlover, 1983) which was identified as the most popular intervention program by Speech Language Therapists /Pathologists in the UK for children up to 7 years of age. We are also involved with voluntary work in developing communities, particularly in the Fiji Islands, assisting Sujit Kumar.
How did the idea for your app come about?
We have been increasingly aware of the limited resources available for 1:1 therapy intervention for a variety of reasons, which may differ widely between and within countries. we felt strongly that it was possible to use the teaching principles of a program such as the Derbyshire Scheme which primarily uses toys, to provide a simulated experience for children within an app, which would not require the same level of parent or therapist training but still provide an original language learning experience which was enjoyable and successful. We would still recommend using toys and everyday items to practice learned language structures in context outside of the app.
And how long was the process from the original idea to the release of the app?
Although we had discussed developing an app,this was only put into action in January, 2013 when we commenced developing the content. After joining ilab, in June, we signed up our wonderful graphic designer and programmer team, Broken Specs who were also at ilab as serious game developers. the build was complete for our first version upload to iTues on 19th December, 2013, but are now ready to upload our next version containing a ‘parent gate’ which allows an adult to email results back.
Did you hire a developer or do it yourself?
As indicated, we contracted Jamie and Ben from Broken Specs and worked closely with them to ensure our ideas and concepts for teaching and error handling were incorporated into the design. We have been extremely pleased with this decision as it has meant we have we have been able to learn more about the development specifics at various stages and negotiate aspects that might or might not be viably represented, resulting in an excellent working relationship with our team and an end result that pleased us all.
What has been the hardest obstacle you have had to overcome in the development process?
The hardest obstacle was not being able to put all of the desired components into our first build, but we had set a time frame to achieve our goal and a specific budget to achieve this, as with any app development.
Have you had much support during the development process (from family, peers, Apple Inc.)?
We have had amazing support, firstly from our families who were able to survive without us and gave continual encouragement. Secondly the support from ilab, Uniquest and the University of Queensland, who provided staff and mentors that taught us about ‘lean start-ups’ and encouraged us throughout the process. This was only made possible with funding from the Queensland government, to which we are indebted. We have made life-long friends! Lastly our colleagues and clients/ parents within our work environments have been so supportive, helping to trial stages of development, and some becoming involved in the final production.
What are your plans for the future? Will you be developing any more apps?
We have many plans to develop educational and therapy apps, particularly in areas that we see can complement and supplement products already available, or where we perceive gaps to be in need of filling. We feel our experience to date will help us immensely to move forward with further development.
What sort of feedback has your app been receiving so far?
We have been delighted with the response to Key Word Kids, to date, especially as it was released during the holiday season, when many people are away from their workplaces and usual technology devices. Although it was released with a neutral accent, it has been downloaded in a number of countries where English is not a ‘first’ language.
And finally, what advice would you give to anyone considering creating their own app?
I would recommend taking the plunge, but make sure you have a clear idea of what you feel the app should achieve and be prepared to be flexible to work around the problems in building it to compromise but achieve the closest you can to your original plan. Make sure you have mentors for your business and the app development and support structures around you. It has also helped that we were a team that enjoyed working together to meet the challenges that arose.
Thank you so much for talking with us today Sue and Janet and sharing a bit about your company. We really appreciated the chance to get to know you!
Key Word Kids
by Language And Learning Steps Pty.Ltd
Category: Education, Word, Games, Family
Requirements: Compatible with iPad2Wifi-iPad2Wifi, iPad23G-iPad23G, iPadThirdGen-iPadThirdGen, iPadThirdGen4G-iPadThirdGen4G, iPadFourthGen-iPadFourthGen, iPadFourthGen4G-iPadFourthGen4G, iPadMini-iPadMini, iPadMini4G-iPadMini4G, iPadAir-iPadAir, iPadAirCellular-iPadAirCellular, iPadMiniRetina-iPadMiniRetina, iPadMiniRetinaCellular-iPadMiniRetinaCellular, iPadAir2-iPadAir2, iPadAir2Cellular-iPadAir2Cellular, iPadMini3-iPadMini3, iPadMini3Cellular-iPadMini3Cellular, iPadMini4-iPadMini4, iPadMini4Cellular-iPadMini4Cellular, iPadPro-iPadPro, iPadProCellular-iPadProCellular, iPadPro97-iPadPro97, iPadPro97Cellular-iPadPro97Cellular, iPad611-iPad611, iPad612-iPad612, iPad71-iPad71, iPad72-iPad72, iPad73-iPad73, iPad74-iPad74, iPad75-iPad75, iPad76-iPad76, iPad812-iPad812, iPad834-iPad834, iPad856-iPad856, iPad878-iPad878
Size: 191.67 MB