Learning letters, particularly R, F, I, & D

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After [yohanes] picked up a toy at a yard sale – a Leap Frog Letter Factory Phonics – he thought he could do better. The toy originally asked a child to find a letter, and after digging one of 26 plastic characters out of a plastic tub and placing them on the Letter Factory’s sensor, would play a short musical ditty. [yohanes]‘ version does the same, but because he made it himself it is infinitely more expandable.

The letters for [yohanes]‘ version are RFID tagged. This, combined with a cheap RFID module and a bluetooth module means a Raspberry Pi can read RFID cards from across the room. From there, it’s a simple matter of writing up some Python to ask his toddler for a letter, reading the bits coming from a bluetooth, and keeping score.

The build isn’t over by a long shot. [yohanes] still needs to make his build multilingual by adding Indonesian and Thai. There’s also a possibility of adding a spelling game to make it more interesting.

Comments

  1. bernd says:

    i’ve worked on a product which basically does the same (but got developed in cooperation with neuroscientists -> trying to pay attention to “how does a childs brain learn”)

  2. Eirinn says:

    Add pirate talk too and igpay atinlay.

  3. Truth says:

    It took me a while to get my head around the connections/data flow. It does look overly complex but the last thing that you want to do is trip a young child with cables.

    RFID cards (letters A-Z printed on them)

    RFID reader with serial out

    RS232 to Bluetooth Transceiver Module

    bluetooth dongle

    Raspberry Pi

    TV

  4. Augur says:

    Very ingenious. I wonder if something like this could be used for colors and shapes as well?

    • simcop2387 says:

      Definitely. I was thinking it could be expanded to basically anything like that. possibly even to whole words as the kid gets older. Give the kid some cards with some basic nouns (people and things) and then some basic verbs, i could see it being used to teach more complex language. e.g. have the kid take the tags and make a story show up on the screen as they put different ones on there.

      e.g. Cards for “John”, “ball”, “throws”, “gets”.

      kid places cards “john” “gets” “ball”, and the screen shows the john getting the ball. and then the kid does the same for throw, and then it throws the ball. might be a little hard to design but could be really cool.

  5. fartface says:

    Now THIS is an awesome hack! Major kudos on this one!

  6. Vonskippy says:

    Sad.

    Young Kids (5 and under) need to be talked with/read to/interacted with (you know, basic PARENTING skills), not plopped down in front of some tech gadget.

    • Jacob Allred says:

      Just because a toy uses technology doesn’t mean it is “some tech gadget”. This has the potential to be an amazing homeschooling tool and doesn’t necessarily rule out parent/child interaction.

      • vonskippy says:

        There are numerous big name studies that show that almost ANY exposure to TV/Computers/Console Games/and yes electronic educational games is bad for the child’s development. For 5 and under, the recommendation is ZERO exposure, and for ages 5-8 (some even go up to 9) the ONLY exposure should be done with a parent present and interacting with the child and whatever tv/computer/game is being played.

        Never in the history of child development have so many children faced so many difficulties – and studies have shown it’s because Parents now off load THEIR DUTIES to technology (i.e. some are misguided into thinking it’s a good or clever thing, most are just to lazy to do it the correct way).

        But hey, what’s one more turnip kid in America’s stable of dull, uninspired, under educated couch potato kids – so plop away, it’s unlikely anyone in your “it’s all about me” peer group will notice or care.

        • I don’t think hackaday is a place for this kind of discussion.

          Are you sure about the no tv/computer/console/games for under 5?. AAP recommends zero exposure only for children under two. May be you can give links to those big names studies?.

          And do you really want to avoid every technology and electronic games for your children? I should take him to the zoo everytime to show him how the lion roars? I would prefer to buy an electronic figurine that can play sound (electronically). Should I take him to my parents that live in another country and deny the access to facetime so he can talk to his grandfather? And then should I hide the iPad so that he can not learn to call his own grandfather when he wants to?

          Do you speak fluently without strange accent in three languages and know/remember children songs in those languages? (I don’t, but with ipad apps, I can play the words/songs to him). I was born and raised in non-tonal language, its difficult for me to pronounce the correct Thai tone, but I can use a game that shows him the correct tone.

          Do you play many musical instruments in pentatonic and septatonic scale (or do you use gramophone) so he can dance to the music? Or you don’t consider that as a game?

          One thing that I can say is: I know my son. My wife (full time mom) and I spent a huge amount of time with him. We play with him every day (even during my lunch time). We read books, play on the field, and he played with other children everyday. But as an IT person, I am not anti-technology.

          Anyway, to add content to this HACKADAY discussion (because this is a hacking comunity): for those parents that don’t want to use TV Screen, you can also just connect to a USB Sound card and play the sound through speakers. And if you don’t like cards, you can also stick an RFID sticker to any toys (may be you want to help blind children in recognizing certain figurines?).

        • Thanatox says:

          [citation needed]

  7. zoyphod says:

    I wonder what the joy of teaching one’s child has been lost to. I’m sure it is NOT a “thing”.

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