Developer Spotlight - TangibleFun
TangibleFun is an award-winning kids design studio specializing in educational projects and located in Barcelona, Spain. Fingerprint is excited to introduce two of TangibleFun's apps, "Nini Learns to Count" and "Music Games The Froggy Band", into our platforms. We spoke recently to TangibleFun Creative Director Daniela Seminara about her passion for developing learning experiences for kids.
Fingerprint (FP): Can you please tell me a bit about your background and how you started TangibleFun?
TangibleFun (TF): Absolutely! We started out just like a kid's story: once upon a time, in a land filled with many things to discover, a very curious couple found this cute little being trapped in a piece of paper. So, they decided to help it take the leap to the digital world.
In the story, the being's name is Niní, the common thread character in our educational stories and video games. It's a kind being that lives in nature and is always learning because of its curiosity for everything.
And the couple is me (Daniela) and Javier; we created the TangibleFun brand with which we are looking to spread multidisciplinary learning to make education for boys and girls ages 3 to 10 more accessible and playful.
FP: What is most attractive to you about being the creative director for TangibleFun?
TF: What attracts me the most is to be able to offer a new way of learning where games, used as an educational tool along with digital technologies, allow us to tell original stories that pop right out of the screen.
Our digital stories, for example, are characterized by having an educational tale as the starting point from which we developed interactive mini-games, instructional index cards and board games with physical pieces, all with the clear intention to stimulate the children's hunger for learning.
FP: I understand that you have a PhD in Design and Communications. From your expertise and experience, what is unique about designing digital products for young children?
TF: We launched TangibleFun passionately, benefiting from our previous experiences and knowledge of design and music, with a clear intention to apply what we know to children's education. In particular, I'm a product designer. After completing my studies in Italy, I've specialized in User Centered Design. I've developed products for disabled people and for children. In one article, "Toys for All," (Seminara D., Steffan I.T , 2012, Design for All, Ed. Maggioli), I offered several examples of what it means to design for everyone in the field of toys.
At TangibleFun, we never want to stop learning new things. Many of the concepts and connections between science, art, technology and education are being developed along the way. We are lucky to work in a very active community like Barcelona that's really backing the expansion of its Industry 4.0 Hub, giving us access to great international events and conventions like the Mobile World Congress, Gamelab or STEAMConf, which are opening up networking opportunities for us in both the educational video game sector and the digital innovation field.
Classrooms today have tablets, digital blackboards and VR devices. Students interact with knowledge and visit museums with a mobile device. The result? A more autonomous, collaborative and integrated learning process. At TangibleFun, we are very clear about technology being a key medium to improve students' skills from an early age. Our goal as creators of new educational tools has evolved from helping kids to learn how to read and write to motivating and inspiring them to have creative and critical thinking skills. If smartphones, tablets and apps have become such important parts of their day, these technologies can't be excluded from the learning process.
FP: What do you think contributed to the global success of your apps?
TF: In 2015 we published our first digital educational interactive story for tablets: "Niní Learns to Count", with which we won the 2016 "ElChupete" award and the acknowledgment of teachers and parents in the educational section of the app stores. It's a bilingual story in English and Spanish, which belongs to a large collection of digital stories with mini-games that motivate children to learn, strengthening their creativity through colorful interactive scenes, and are always accompanied by specially composed music for each story.
With "Music Games: The Froggy Band", another one of our video games for boys and girls between 5 and 8 years old, we present a group of funny little musician frogs that have prepared a special show for Niní. Using 10 different musical backgrounds with over 40 instruments and mini-games, kids learn about instruments and musical genres while having fun. They can find puzzles, visual memory games, short melodies and many other challenges, such as playing the drum kit, learning the basic notes on the musical pentagram, placing voices in the choir, and dragging each sound to its instrument. Our hope is that these activities will awaken kids' interests in the magical world of music.
By the way, we also want to thank every boy and girl that has participated in our previous game workshops. And we sincerely hope that we will be able to offer all kids on Fingerprint's platform a wonderful experience with our apps in TangibleFun style!