Time plays a fairly important part in all our lives – and when I say fairly important, I mean essential.
Developer Seven Academy knows this all too well, and it has developed an app - called Tic Toc Time - to help younger children grasp the principles of telling the time.
Nathalie Gauthier, marketing manager at Seven Academy, spoke to us about what the app aims to achieve, the expertise that’s gone into designing it, and why beavers are the game’s main protagonists.
PG: Can you please explain exactly what you do in Tic Toc Time?
NG: One of our main goals is to design educational apps that will be as fun to play as to learn, because we are aware that kids prefer to play - but their parents want them to learn.
That’s why we came out with this idea of designing apps that would look like a video game but with real and approved educational content underneath.
Tic Toc Time includes six fully featured games. The first three games show preliminary concepts for understanding time. At the beginning they learn how to use a compass in their real-life environment, and then, in the virtual, colorful environment of a family of beavers.
Next, they understand what the relation is between the sun and shadows formed on Earth. Finally, beaver dad takes them on a trip to space to see how we measure time at night, and then he answers the question of why an analog clock is divided into 12 hours instead of 24 before starting to build a Montessori clock.
The next three games are the core of the app: children learn all they need to know to tell time perfectly on any analog or digital clock, from the big hand to the small hand, from full hours to minutes.
Then, the game characters introduce original exercises to teach children to tell time using common terms like “quarter past,” and “half past.” The cherry on top of the cake is that children can practice their new skills in a fun and crazy carnival arcade-like game that they will want to play again and again to improve their scores.
What sets Tic Toc Time apart from similar educational titles on the App Store?
It is the world’s first app that teaches children to read a clock face using elements that they’re deeply familiar with, like the sun, shadow, night and day.
Seven Academy always collaborates with well-known specialists to develop and approve the content, as well as the teaching method of each app. In this case one of our specialists was Swiss astrophysicist Slim Hamdani – he already had a great deal of experience with teaching kids, and found the experience very fun and challenging.Why did you choose beavers as the main protagonists for the title?
We needed to choose a specific country to tell our own story of time (when the characters get up, eat, go to bed) because – for example - each culture has its own habits and does not eat at the same time.
We recently opened a new development studio in Montreal, Canada, and we thought it would be cool having beavers, the animal country’s representative, as the main characters.How have you made sure Tic Toc Time can be enjoyed by children across the world?
Because time telling is universal, we wanted to design an app that would be accessible to as many children as we can reach over the world.
Now, we can play TTT in ten languages: English, French, Spanish, Portuguese, Italian, German, Russian, Chinese, Korean, and Japanese. Making educational apps was also very instructive for our team: learning how to tell time in Chinese was quite interesting!
Do you have any plans to update the app in the future?
We are taking into consideration all comments we receive about our apps. We are very excited to get Tic Toc Time feedback from our users after the launch on September the 5th. I think the upgrades will be based on suggestions we will receive from teachers, parents, and specialized blogs.
Are you going to bring the game to any other formats, such as Android?
Yes. By the end of the year, Tic Toc Time will be available on Google Play, Amazon App Shop, and Windows Phone.
You can download Tic Toc Time now for iPhone and iPad for £1.99 / $2.99 (iTunes Link).
Please note that this is a special limited time offer price though, from September 5th to the 19th. After this time it will cost £2.99 / $4.99 to download.