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Hooked on Phonics? latest app Reading Pro targets older, tech-savvy kids

Learning tool Hooked on Phonics has released a new app called Reading Pro aimed at children aged 7 to 10, seeking to strengthen reading skills among an age group already familiar with mobile devices.

Hooked on Phonics, an established learning tool that has been used in homes and classrooms since the 80s, is emerging alongside mobile technology given its prevalence of usage especially for this particular age group. If HOP can appeal to this generation with game-like learning tools, children are likely to adopt it as easily as any other smartphone gaming app.

?If a learning tool is engaging and can be portable, it?s insane to limit its use to the classroom or home,? said Robert Israel, president of Hooked on Phonics, Danbury, CT. ?It?s a reality that our kids are filling every waking minute with some activity and mobile screens are how the majority of time-gaps get filled.

?Most of their options are fine in moderation, such as entertainment, gaming and social, but if we can build an educational tool like Hooked on Phonics Reading Pro that holds the same attraction as the other three, it?s worth building and making mobile.?

Read the facts
This age group is made up of digital natives, who will more likely respond positively to digital tool than an analog tool. Furthermore, mobile capabilities enable a well-built educational tool that children can pick up on their own, rather than needing instruction from a teacher or parent, according to Mr. Israel.

Mobile approaches to learning allow children to adopt the tool on their own, which makes the app feel less like work and more like fun.

Users can download the app for free and enjoy three free lessons from the first level and one chapter of the Strange Museum chapter book. 

In-app purchases can be made for $5.99 for level one, $8.99 each for levels two through four and $19.95 is claimed to be the best value, offering the entire program and a limited time offer only. The price will increase to $29.99 late 2014.

The live classroom version is also $19.95 for a limited time. The price will increase to $29.99 late 2014.

Learning on mobile
In July, The Milken Institute School of Public Health at George Washington University unveiled a mobile application for health-administration students that leverages a mobile device?s camera, video and push notification capabilities to build user engagement.

The app, available on iOS and Android, lets students view course materials and videos, network with professors and peers, and receive notifications for upcoming assignments or events from anywhere. The app reflects how universities, which have used online course management systems for years, recognize the value of mobile in streamlining the educational process (see story).

Education is increasingly becoming available on mobile. 

?If phones and tablets weren?t small enough to be called mobile devices, they would be called interactive devices,? Mr. Israel said. ?Children learn best in an interactive environment with content being presented in an assortment of ways and when feedback to the device has a variety of options and a wow factor. 

?Touch screen phones and tablets are perfect for that. Watch a video, listen to music, touch, slide, shake, tilt, blow, talk, record, photograph and more from one device. This is how children interact with the content and, in so doing, get connected and absorb.?

Final Take
Caitlyn Bohannon, editorial assistant for Mobile Marketer, New York