To Play is vital to learn

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In the commemoration of the birth of Friedrich Fröbel, father of pre-school education, we reflect on the 15 thousand hours that every child should play during his early childhood.

Play as a primary element in children’s lives, and it is as old as our own civilization. More than two thousand years ago a teacher of Latin rhetoric named Quintilian declared that “let the study be for the child as a game.” In a much mo
re recent publication, entitled “Child and play, theoretical approaches and pedagogical applications,” the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) states that:

“Games can truly provide pedagogical practice, far beyond kindergarten, as a means of stimulating creativity, and modern psychology has emphasized the influence of behaviors and objects, evidently shaped by cultural and social environment, on the development of the personality .”

According to Dr. Kathy Hirsh-Pasek, Ph.D. at the University of Pennsylvania: “Children learn best in play environments, through guided games, with appropriate content.” Even large innovation and technology companies like Google have incorporated this principle into their organizational culture.

Today, the dilemma faced by many teachers is how to deal with a curriculum with a heavy load of knowledge and a context that recognizes “hard” skills as superior to the so-called “soft” skills. The so-called hard skills are all the formal academic knowledge that integrates the curriculum, while soft skills have to do with how we externalize those skills, i.e., attitude, ethics, values, emotional intelligence, between others.

Who in his right mind would say today that working as a team is less important than the speed of calculation, that effectively communicating an idea is less critical than performing a differential equation or that creativity is optional versus the domain of a programming language. In the current context, all these skills are equally necessary, and in many cases, the so-called “soft” are those that define the success or otherwise of a project, idea or relationship.

Now, we know as teachers, that many often these aspects that are so important to achieve a life in balance, to be happy and to relate harmoniously with the others, are left aside. Probably, and here I dare to quote Rudolf Steiner, creator of the Waldorf pedagogy when he wisely said: “you can only transmit to the child that which the master has already conquered in himself.”

According to a publication on the website Educar Chile, in 1981 American children used 40% of their time to play in classrooms, while in 1997 the New York Times reported that that figure had declined by 25% and by 2002, it dropped to an alarming number of 9%. Is this an educational progress or regress? Is it an appropriate approach to continue to sacrifice play time in the classroom for more formal curricular activities? In any case, how much is the recommended play time for a child? Continue reading “To Play is vital to learn”

Thank you 2016! Welcome, 2017!

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2016 was a year of significant progress and great satisfaction for PleIQ. It was a great honor and motivation been the winners of the 1st Place at the DemoDay of Start-Up Chile accelerator program on March, from more than 1,800 startups around the world that fill an application for Generation 14 of the program.

During the past year, we have strengthened our team with the inclusion of relevant talents who share our vision of an Augmented Education. We have also validated and enrich our value proposition with hundreds of children, and many teachers and education specialists.

We have expanded PleIQ’s capabilities to levels that exceed our expectations and we have been able to make important alliances with institutions and key players in the sector that will help us to achieve our goal of improving the quality of early childhood education for millions of children in Latin America.

Recently, in November, we won another meaningful prize from Start-Up Chile, the 1st Place of the Tech Evening, an event that calls for the most important startups in the country in Gaming and Electronic Commerce, including the best startups of other generations of the program. This represents an important validation of the value we are building.

We are very excited to announce that this will be the year in which PleIQ becomes available to the Latin American market!

We know that we still have great challenges to overcome in 2017, but we are sure that this will be the year in which we can materialize the vision and mission that motivates us further.

Thank you for being part of this dream.

–The PleIQ team

PleIQ wins 1st Place at SUP TechEvenig

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We are so happy about been honored with the 1st place at Start-Up Chile’s TechEvening of Entertainment & E-Commerce, in which participated amazing start-ups from UK, Austria, Mexico, Chile, and Venezuela.

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The event was held past Thursday 17 at the Entrepreneurship Center of Telefónica Open Future in Santiago, where Start-Up Chile and CORFO invited the best 12 companies related to Entertainment & E-Commerce in the Chilean ecosystem, including winners of other Generations of the SEED program, universities, and other accelerators.

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The jury was integrated by five leaders and experts in the Retail, Gaming, and E-commerce, who had the responsibility to evaluate and choose the three winners of the night, being PleIQ represented by Antonio Da Rocha, Co-Founder and Education Director. During the networking cocktail, the audience attending the event was able to play and enjoy with PleIQ.

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The second place was awarded to “Pik’D,” who uses AI for video marketing working with Sony, GoPro y Lg, and the third place was “SimpliRoute,” a SaaS for Smart shipping operating in 3 countries.

We feel very committed by this new award, and we feel very grateful to all the people and institutions that had been supporting us from the beginning and continue to this day. It has been a long road to materialize our vision, but every day we are closer to contribute to the transformation of the early learning in Latin America.

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Investment in early education is vital for adult success

Nobel prize winner shows that investment in early education provides the highest returns, both for individuals and society.

The early childhood is the stage where the investment in education has the highest returns, both for individuals and society. Jim Heckman, Economy Nobel Laureate, showed that strong development of cognitive abilities at an early age are fundamental for economic success (1).

The following graph shows how is the return on human capital investment as a function of age. Overall, the highest impact is achieved investing in early education, at preschool, and it decreases towards adulthood

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The reason is that, during childhood, the human brain goes through the most significant transformations, where neural complexity grows faster, at 1000 new neural connections per second, and the quality os those early learning experiences had the deepest and meaningful impact on the cognitive abilities development.

Providing children with a rich and stimulating environment during the first 1000 days is crucial to help to protect the brain from degenerative diseases at adult age, and to create the foundations for the development of more complex cognitive abilities, modifying their brain architecture (2).

Several studies made during the last decade across complementary fields of research (neuroscience, education, psychology, and economy), had been increasingly shown that besides an adequate nutrition, to provide a good quality early education is the key to the economic and affective success of individuals at adult age (3), no matters their initial social condition or the challenges faced during their lifetime.

We want to contribute to improving the quality of those early learning experiences, by providing a unique educational tool based on research and advanced technology to stimulate the multiple intelligences of children, combining the benefits of the physical and digital worlds to create an engaging and meaningful learning experience for preschoolers.

PleIQ wins at Start-Up Chile’s DemoDay!

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We have no words to describe how happy we are for been awarded the 1st Prize at DemoDay of Start-Up Chile! It is a great honor that the Jury selected us among so many great startups from all around the world, counting 1400+ who applied to Generation 14th of the program.

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The qualifying jury saw in us a really innovative solution with global potential reach, a highly scalable business, and a highly potential social impact that will grasp a long forgotten niche in EdTech innovation, creating a positive impact in early education.

This award is very significant to us because it is our first international validation, which adds to those in Venezuela by Concurso IDEAS and Wayra Accelerator. Thanks to CORFO, Start-UP Chile, the jury and all those who has supported us in our mission to contribute to improving the early education of millions of children in Latam.

The mobile impact on children education

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A new study shows that nearly all 4-year-old American toddlers from low-income, urban, and non-white families have learned how to use smartphones and tablets when they are just old enough talk and walk. In fact, most children start tapping and swiping mobile device screens before their first birthday. The study was published in the journal Pediatrics and researchers at the Albert Einstein Medical Center, in Philadelphia, conducted the study.

Data was collected from the parents of 350 children between 6 months old and 4 years old. They completed the survey awaiting to see health care providers.

Survey results showed that nearly all households owned televisions (97 percent). However, tablet (83 percent) and smartphone (77 percent) ownership was also high.

Dr. Matilde Irigoyen is head of the Department of Pediatric and Adolescent Medicine at Albert Einstein Medical Center. She explained that the researchers also wanted to learn about how often toddlers use mobile devices, and when they start to use them.

Some findings surprised them. By 4 years old, half of the kids owned their own TVs, and three-quarters owned their own mobile device. The tablet was the most popular one, with two-thirds of 4-year-old preschoolers owning units such as iPads or Galaxy Notes.

In addition, by the age of 3 or 4, half of the kids could use mobile gadgets without any help, according to CBS News. They were also fast learners.

Most toddlers started to use mobile devices before their first birthday. Parents gave them the gadget to use and keep.

Dr. Wendy Sue Swanson is the executive director of Digital Health at Seattle Children’s Hospital. She explained that parents should check if mobile apps actually help their children. For example, Apple’s iTunes Store offers about one million apps for kids under 8 years old, while 100,000 are labeled as “educational.”

The study also showed that 28 percent of parents used a mobile device to put their kids to sleep, according to 13WMAZ. Swanson explained that giving kids mobile devices at bedtime could cause problems. This is when they should be following routines such as reading, singing, and family time.

PleIQ – The Smart toy for today children

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Welcome to PleIQ!

Our dream is to contribute to the multiple intelligence developments of a whole generation of children by integrating Augmented Reality into their early learning experiences.

To achieve it, we are developing a smart toy that combines the properties of the physical and digital worlds, within interactive and adaptive learning experiences, which we have named “PleIQ”.

PleIQ combines beautiful 3D Interactive Augmented Reality Experiences, and Artificial Intelligence algorithms into a play set of 8 cubes and a mobile app (for Android and iOS devices), offering 48 learning experiences that cover different abilities and capacities, inspire by Howard Gardner’s Multiple Intelligence Theory.

We believe that every child is unique and has an incredible potential, which we could help to develop by improving their early learning experiences, by a stimulus that acknowledges their different learning styles, allowing them to develop their multiple intelligences at their peace.

We believe that is the best interest of every parent, teacher, and all society, to use the best science and technology at their hand to offer our children the best early educational experiences to foster its development and to maximize their chances to be highly successful in today’s tech-dominated world.

We are very excited about this great challenge. Join us on this incredible journey, let’s play, learn and explore together how to stimulate and foster the multiple intelligences of thousands of children, and this way, let’s help to build a better world.

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