August 4, 2007 From entertainment game play to information research and skill enhancement software, the computer is now firmly established as an essential learning tool for 21st century kids. Recognizing both the importance of acquiring these skills at an early age and the cost barriers presented by access to such technology, educational product developer LeapFrog has introduced the ClickStart My First Computer, an interactive system aimed at preschoolers that converts the humble TV into a kid-friendly PC and introduces basic computing skills without the need for an expensive desktop or notebook PC.
The technology works through a cartridge console that plugs into the TV enabling children to use a small wireless keyboard to navigate the system which recreates the look and feel of your average desktop. This introduces children to basic keyboard and mouse skills whilst eliminating the threat of outside influence on youngsters via the internet.
With content appropriate for three to six year olds, kids can learn their alphabet, numbers, colors and other basic skills with an interactive puppy character to guide them. Add-on software packages include "Toy Story", "Dora the Explorer" and "Learning Carnival" tailored for teaching skills ranging from shapes, problem solving, rhyming and word building to logic and Spanish vocabulary.
The system costs US$59.99 and additional software costs US$19.95 making it a much more economical option than purchasing a full scale computer just for the little ones. Available late in 2007, the software offers various levels of learning to follow children as their skills develop.
ClickStart creators, LeapFrog, are also the makers of a range of kid-friendly gadgets including a parent-controlled educational cell phone, pentop computer, and a magic pencil system to enhance reading and writing development.