One application that recently caught my eye is Zoodles. Built using Adobe AIR, Zoodles is designed to provide a free, child-safe browser and promote learning through interactive games and videos. The browser works off a whitelist so children stay on sites that are pre-approved by the team at Zoodles. The application runs in full screen mode, and the user interface was designed to make it difficult for young children to switch out to other applications.
The browser comes loaded with age and skill-level appropriate games for children. The Zoodles browser interface adapts to a child based on age. As kids grow older, the interface grows with them. For example, younger children have a very simple navigation using a pictures model while older children can browse by category, topic and characters.
Zoodles provides a number of premium features for parents (each account comes with a free trial of these premium features):
- Promote Educational Subjects. Parents can promote specific subject areas such as reading and math so their children can engage with the topics that parents think they would benefit from the most
- Parental Controls. Parents can control what sites, branded characters, and types of content their child can engage with online. Additionally parents can set time limits so their child only plays the amount of time in a day that they think is appropriate.
- Ad Blocker. The Zoodles ad blocker removes ads from a child’s interface which protects children from inappropriate ads while also making it easier for children to focus on the task at hand.
- Parental Monitoring. Parents are provided detailed reports on what their child has been doing online and what academic skills they have been developing
Congratulations to the teams at Zoodles for building an innovative, engaging application for parents and children!