One of the domains we’re excited about investing in is education. It’s an area where innovation, especially with mobile technology, has the potential to produce inherent good for our society. Take a look around, have you seen kids play with an iPhone or iPad? Kids love touch screen devices and the challenge for designers is to create fun experiences that also teach fundamental abilities like storytelling.
That’s a big reason why we’re excited to back Thushan Amarasiriwardena and Andy Russell from LaunchPad Toys as they continue to create a suite of award winning tools that empower kids to create, express, and share their ideas with friends, family, and kids across the world. Their first iPad product, Toontastic, was recognized as part of the Apple iTunes App Store Hall of Fame and lets kids can play with digital puppets that are as easy to manipulate as real world action figures. Along the way Toontastic captures their voice and actions to enable kids to make cartoons that they can post to an online cartoon network, ToonTube. Kids have already made over 1,500,000 cartoons across 100 countries around the world. Now that’s positive social impact, highlighting both the educational and creative potential of mobile apps.
Building on the success of Toontastic, Launchpad Toys recently made MonkeyGram, which enables anyone to send animated cartoon postcards with an iPhone. Using built in scenes and characters, kids can add faces and custom music to tell a short story to delight recipients. I’m excited by apps like MonkeyGram, that provide just enough scaffolding to get over the blank canvas effect but also enough flexibility for people of all ages to express themselves creatively. In the words of Sir Ken Robinson, “creativity now is as important in education as literacy, and we should treat it with the same status.” Designers like Thushan are doing that and you can too. If you’re a creative coder, animator, or marketer, consider joining Launchpad Toy’s mission.