A Cork-based start-up has developed the ‘Netflix of child learning' app to help parents and children learn during Covid-19 lockdown.
Dr Wendy Oke recently achieved a PhD from CIT for her research in early years education and care.
Dr Oke’s research involved input from teachers, parents and experts in the sector, and culminated in the creation of TeachKloud, an online application that she said can help reduce paperwork in the field by up to 50%.
The app enables teachers to prepare for the range of inspections they face while also giving them more time to spend with their students.
TeachKloud also uses artificial intelligence to auto-suggest early childhood curriculum framework goals in real-time as the teacher documents children’s learning.
The app suggests sample learning opportunities based on the interests and abilities of the child and can track attendance as well as communication with parents via pictures, videos or in-depth learning journals.
In the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic with thousands of children stuck at home along with parents who may have to work from home, Dr Oke said her focus turned to home learning.
Her team developed the Kloud Academy, an expert-created video library, developed by trusted teachers with children’s development in mind.
Speaking to The Echo about her latest development, Dr Oke said: “In response to Covid-19 and the general need to keep our children active and healthy, we have developed Kloud Academy.
“Think of Netflix but with kid-friendly videos from expert teachers around the world on topics such as yoga, dance, drama, literacy, science experiments, puppetry and more.
“These videos have been designed to be done by the child independently or with the whole family,” she added, encouraging people to check out www.kloudacademy.com.
“Understandably, many parents with young children are stressed, worried about their children’s academic futures and are also trying to grapple with a new way of living,” Dr Oke explained.
“Historically, we’ve never been in a position like this before. It’s all new but even still, an opportunity exists.
“We have a golden opportunity to encourage our children to engage in activities that teach life skills and focus on socio-emotional development,” she added.
“Examples of simple activities to do at home include baking, science experiments, story time, gardening, singing, movement activities such as dancing, drama and exercise.
“Providing children, the opportunity to move and exercise gives them freedom to express themselves, the opportunity to learn about their bodies and their environment.
“Keeping children active and engaged physically and emotionally is vital during these uncertain times.” Dr Oke said people need to be aware of the fact that many parents are still working and that providing children with vast amounts of educational activities on a daily basis may not be possible, nor does it have to be.
“We know that some parents are still working and trying to provide educational activities for 8 hours a day is not possible and certainly not needed,” she explained.
“It’s about quality interactions rather than quantity.”
The TeachKloud app has seen Dr Oke win several awards for her research, namely, Ireland’s Best Young Entrepreneur for the Munster Region; Best Pitch for the Ingenuity Programme at the Ryan Academy at DCU; Best Business Plan at the New Frontiers Programme; and Best Pitch at CITs Prize for Innovation.