The use of new technology in early years learning is growing fast, so it was perhaps unsurprising to see a number of hi-tech pre-school educational gadgets on display at the IFA fair in Berlin. Jim Drury reports.
STORY: Learning maths 21st Century style. Hi-tech solutions to early years learning are becoming commonplace. French firm Marbotic has given a modern twist to classic wooden numbers and letters, fitting them with magnetic sensors that can be placed on an iPad. SOUNDBITE (English) MICHAEL TURBE, COO, MARBOTIC, SAYING: "Here they will discover the two digits - where it's placed and how to write it - in the free mode. Then, as soon as they will understand it, we can start to have more and more questions." The Smart Number and Smart Letter apps use Montessori methods to teach literacy and numeracy. SOUNDBITE (English) MICHAEL TURBE, COO, MARBOTIC, SAYING: "Parents are more and more in charge of home schooling, so kids need to learn and parents like the idea of having their kids using the tablet for proper things. It's really much better for kids just to learn educational things with a tablet than to spend hours to watch TV or watch a cartoon." On the adjoining display at this week's Berlin IFA tech show was Lunii. Its digital bookshop allows kids to press a combination of buttons to create up to 48 different audio stories. Even more ambitious is Taiwanese firm ArkLab's drones and accompanying app aimed at kindergarten kids. SOUNDBITE (English) JACKY CHUNG, ARKLAB FOUNDER, SAYING: "You can just give them the bricks and they will try it by their own. So when they build their own drones, they will know for example if they build the drones like that or like that. They will know that the flying is not stable, so they will just try to figure out what is the best solution for making their own drones. So they shouldn't have to teach too much to the children but the children will try to learn on their own." 1800 exhibitors, big and small, displayed their wares at IFA, Europe's largest tech show.