While most children today know the phrase ‘Google it’, the best way to find an answer to the multitude of questions posed by children is still in an encyclopedia. Of course, in today’s digital world there’s no need to look for the volume and letter of the topic in question, the internet has made research much easier.
But not all the information on the WWW is trustworthy and not all of it is safe for kids.
Enter Wiki-Kids, an Israeli-made tablet-formatted encyclopedia that offers curious kids a platform they can use to independently explore the world.
Co-Founders Yoav Meyrav and Inbal Miron-Bershteyn say almost anything can be explained to young children in fewer than 80 words (or 30 seconds of narration).
“When I sat down to design the app, I was dreaming about my own kids,” said Meyrav, who previously worked on the Hebrew Encyclopedia team. “The project isn’t limited to one app. We are trying to spark a larger trend, a major change in the way we educate our children. Rather than encouraging their ‘grade-digging,’ we should be fostering their natural curiosity.”
Meyrav, of Tel Aviv University’s Philosophy Department, together with TAU alumna Sharon Arad wrote the 240 entries in the 10 categories featured on the app. The categories featured are animals, nature, countries, landmarks, food, space, the human body, musical instruments, occupations, and transportation.
The entries contain carefully crafted text, friendly narration, colorful images, and bright sounds, offering four-to-eight-year-old children a unique tool with which to independently explore the world.
“This is not an encyclopedia that answers questions but rather leads to more questions,” said Meyrav. “We want to inspire curiosity. The principles governing reference material for adults and kids are very different — just ask your own kids. They have to experience something to really understand it.”
Meyrav worked closely with psychologists and literacy education experts when drafting the entries, which contain neither ads nor irrelevant links. The app was also certified by the kidSAFE Seal Program and Momswithapps.
“Ours is a ‘tapas’ encyclopedia, offering users a chance to sample all sorts of interesting things. We don’t want to satisfy kids’ appetite for learning. We want to encourage them to keep exploring,” Meyrav said.
Wiki-Kids, available now in English, will be launched in a Hebrew-language version soon.