ISTE 2016 Coverage

Square Panda Begins Shipping its Phonics Playset

Silicon Valley-based ed tech company will demonstrate its product at ISTE 2016.

Square Panda, a Sunnyvale, CA-based ed tech startup, has begun shipping its new phonics playset designed to improve reading skills for children ages 3 and older.

The playset, which is compatible with the iPad 3 and later (including all iPad mini models), includes 45 “smart” letters that interact with learning apps available for download from the Apple App Store. The playset costs $119 and is available through squarepanda.com. Square Panda will also be showcasing the playset during ISTE 2016 in Denver at booth No. 4104.

“We are thrilled to start shipping the Square Panda phonics playset, a groundbreaking reading fluency tool for early learners that teaches phonics and alphabetical awareness in a completely multisensory way,” said Andy Butler, CEO of Square Panda, in a prepared statement. “The tactile experience that the playset provides, along with our fun and engaging learning apps, introduce key reading readiness skills like learning the alphabet, exploring letter sounds, discovering rhyming and building vocabulary.”

Square Panda uses connected letter toys and multisensory apps to explore early reading skills. Drawing from the latest research on phonics and pre-kindergarten instruction, Square Panda’s technology combines multisensory learning, humor and exploratory play, the company said.

App titles include “Letter Lab,” where children discover letters and sounds using a microscope; “Chameleon Word Creator,” which introduces users to phonics in a fun and exploratory way; and “Island Bowling,” which helps build children’s vocabulary.

“As a child growing up with dyslexia, I know how much of a struggle learning to read can be for some kids,” said Tom Boeckle, founder and chairman of Square Panda. He founded the company in 2014. “That’s why I’m excited that our new playset is now available to improve early reading skills and unlock a child’s potential.”

Earlier this year, the popular website Mashable named Square Panda “one of the coolest gadgets for Generation Z” to come out of this year’s Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas, where the product debuted.

Square Panda has a partnership with the Andre Agassi Foundation for Education, and the former tennis champion is a board member of Square Panda. Agassi’s foundation, which helps underserved K-12 children in Las Vegas and supports public schools nationally, is helping to promote the phonics playset.

About the Author

Richard Chang is associate editor of THE Journal. He can be reached at rchang@1105media.com.

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