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Tech Report – MobiGo Touch Learning System

By Ellen DePasquale

The fascination with mobile devices, touch screen interaction, and having multiple apps at our fingertips needn't be confined to adults, or even teens for that matter. Now, children as young as three can get up-to-speed in the world of hand-held entertainment with VTech's new MobiGo.

OK, to be honest, I really didn't want to like this toy, or rather, the "Touch Learning System" as it is labeled. I pictured a family road trip where everyone in the car was fixated on their mobile devices, even the 3-year-old in the car seat. However, as a long-time fan of VTech, I was willing to take a look at a product that generated a lot of buzz at the annual Toy Fair earlier this year in New York City.

To my surprise, I really liked the MobiGo, and for several reasons. First, because of its physical design.  It is a good size for little hands and rugged enough to handle being dropped. The touch-screen is big enough to have fun playing the games and there's a full pop-up QWERTY keyboard for some advanced interactions.

Next, the educational games are fun and challenging. The MobiGo has games for ages 3 through 8, including simple math puzzles, spelling exercises, drawing and picture games, and problem solving. They not only kept my 3-year-old amused and entertained but were engaging for my 15-year-old twin daughters as well! The recorded voices were pleasant and not annoying, as some talking toys can be.

Toys like MobiGo are clearly the future of learning. It can be said that many educational high-tech toys have helped young children learn skills earlier than previous generations, but there is more to it than that. The amount of time we spend with our technology – computers, mobile devices, and video games – makes us crave interactivity.

This craving spills into all aspects of our lives and, for kids, that means their education too. According to Phillip G. Zimbardo, Professor Emeritus of Psychology at Stanford University, technology is digitally rewiring our kids' brains, which means "they have to be in a situation where they are controlling something. "

MobiGo offers that ability to control something, which keeps kids – even very young kids – engaged in the learning process. There is instant gratification for getting something right. There is support and additional attempts when they get  something wrong, so they quickly learn from their mistakes. That sounds like education to me.  MobiGo puts learning in your children's hands, literally.

The MobiGo costs $59.99 and is available from Toys R Us, Amazon.com and other established retailers. Additional learning games, featuring characters from Shrek, Toy Story and other favorites, are available for $19.99 each. Later this month, VTech will be offering free downloads via a USB cable that comes with the toy.

Comment by Bobby , posted 9/4/2010, 7:23 AM:

I purchased this for my child at the start of July partly because they said on their website that a download manager would be available by mid July so you can download free games and so on but that still has not happened. I emailed the company at the start of August and was told it would be up by mid August and again nothing. They also have not released any new games so here it is the start of September and now my child has become bored with it and I don't blame him. I would not recommend this.
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