Childhood—the time of fun, wonderment, and innate creativity. Since a child’s prefrontal cortex of the brain is still in its developmental stage, their ability to create and connect new things, formats, and concepts is tremendous; reason why it is often advised to expose a child to several new concepts right from the start, so as to enable the child’s ability to form connections and give it the necessary boost. Parents are well aware of a child’s neurological capabilities and thus do not refrain from exposing their child to various sporting activities, musical lessons, puzzles, games, and all else that tends to aid their mental growth. But in all these activities, adults often fail to understand the importance of learning a second or a new language. The benefits of learning a new language in childhood goes beyond establishing a cross-cultural friendship and opening up a world of opportunities. For a child, learning a new language has immense cognitive benefits that can lead to a better adulthood and old age. Better memory, longer attention span, an increased ability to think logically, a massive decline with respect to Alzheimer’s disease; you name it and bilingualism has that cognitive and neurological benefit.
How Apps help with Language Learning
The advent of mobile apps have made the process of learning a new language far too easy—a tool that even adults benefit from. Free language learning apps not just sharpen your language learning skills, but also assist in the right pronunciation of words—the one thing amiss from books (unless of course, you’re aware of the phonetical symbols of a certain language). While these apps help adult travelers grasp the basics of a language with ease, apps specifically meant for children are filled with stories, puzzles, games, videos, and all else that’s required to retain the attention span of young minds. But is learning the nuances of a language alone sufficient? Ample studies have been conducted on language learning and they all point to one fact—learning a language is closely related to learning a culture.
How Language and Culture is Interrelated
Humans are cultural learners from a very young age. Take infants for instance. Although babies can rarely do more than babble, they instantly tend to identify speakers of their own language. With no knowledge of the language or what those words mean, they receive and identity information that places them to a particular group, and in-turn, to a particular society. If you’re still wondering what this has to do with culture, here’s a detailed meaning to the word culture…
“The integrated pattern of human knowledge, belief, and behavior that depends upon the capacity for learning and transmitting knowledge to succeeding generations” (as per Merriam Webster Dictionary).
Thus, culture is more than mere art, dance, and customs, and is in-fact, a sum of the way we communicate, the gestures we use to communicate, the values we share, and overall, how we view the world.
Let’s take the English language for instance. The word “bill” in the UK refers to the receipt you get after you make a purchase, say, at a restaurant. In USA, the same word refers to money: “a $10 bill”. The same is the case with the word “sweet”. In the UK, it refers to candy, while in the US, it’s a dessert. Thus, these differences in a language is closely related to the culture of a particular region. Understanding the culture teaches children how to use the right word in the right context.
VEs App—A Milestone!
Our client, Sukhmani Kaur, approached Virtual Employee with an idea. Having lived in the UK for several years, and belonging to sizeable Sikh community in England, she was concerned with the Sikh population living outside India losing touch with their culture, language, and Sikhism in general. As a result, she wanted to create a mobile application that teaches Sikh children living in the UK the Punjabi language. VE’s team of mobile app developers understood the importance of cultural knowledge in the process of learning a language and decided to work on the app that combined these two elements. The result is a mobile app called, Sikh Puzzles.
Sikh Puzzle was developed by Virtual Employee in the year 2016 with an aim to expose children from a very young age to learn and broaden their understanding of the Sikh and Punjabi community in India. So, Sikh Puzzle isn’t merely just a language learning application, but a platform for children to gain exposure to this community. Based on a simple drag and drop principle that makes it easier for children to adapt to, this vocabulary building app is thus simple and easy to understand.
Features Instilled by VEs Developers
This app consists a total of 20 puzzles that are designed with lovely graphics and engaging sound effects that will not just keep children hooked, but also support their learning process. The app also assists language learning and spatial awareness through shapes, sizes, designs, and graphics.
The specialty of Sikh Puzzles lies in the fact that the application’s main focus is on characters and not just on the display of words on a mobile screen. Therefore, each time a child sees a word, they not just learn the word, but are also able to associate that word to the actual object/character through visual representations. This provides a more wholesome learning experience and the child is in a position to grasp and retain vocabulary at a much faster speed.
There are ample games built into this app such as number matching games, zig-zag games, puzzles that involve shapes of animals and fruits, rainbow colour identification, and much more. And each time a child solves a puzzle, the app discloses a fun-fact about the Sikh and Punjabi culture—a complete language and culture learning package.
Share Your Idea and VEs Developers Will Help Turn it into Reality
The Sikh Puzzle is just one of the many mobile applications that Virtual Employee’s mobile app development team has built from scratch. Breaking the industry’s average time, our dedicated developers were able to complete the initial building stages of this app in just 2 months, which is a great achievement in itself.
Our aim has always been to study the competition in the market and create an app that combines more aspects than one, so as to not just give children and adults the opportunity to learn more, but to also let the app in itself create a higher scope of growth in the market. So, if you have an idea that is set to revolutionize the market, share it with us. Our dedicated team of mobile app developers will make your dream come true!
Huge thanks to Jasmine Philip for reviewing and editing this article!