Maori IT innovation makes top 40 in World Summit Awards

Maori IT innovation makes top 40 in World Summit Awards

(Waatea News) Maori-owned Kiwa Media Group will soon find out if it has made the top 40 in the United Nations-backed World Summit Awards for multimedia and electronic content.

Kiwa’s QBook interactive digital book technology won the e-learning and education section of the New Zealand awards, and it will be scrutinised by the grand jury in Hong Kong over the next week.

Kiwa head Rhonda Kite of Te Aupouri says it’s an honour to make the finals.

QBook employs touch-screen technology, as an interactive format for digital books offering instant translations into multi lingual voice narration and spelling. This innovation brings together children’s books, original images and illustrations, in full colour, which are synchronised with text and sound in a way that makes QBook a powerful tool for promoting literacy.

Other New Zealand finalists include the Gibson Group for an interactive video wall in Copenhagen, the MiniMonos online virtual world for children, the Sparx computerised self-help program for young people with depression, and the Environment Ministry’s LUCAS Land Use and Carbon Analysis System for tracking New Zealand’s contribution to fighting climate change.

Check out their website:

  • http://www.kiwamedia.com

Here is a review of one of their apps (for iPhone/iPad)

The team here are great at reviewing new gadgets, applications and technologies. But when we came across “QBooks”, ebooks for children, we didn’t think we were nearly as qualified as a teacher and her five-year-old.

Our daughter was recently introduced to two ebooks by Kiwa Media for the iPad. Miss 5, an enthusiastic early reader, is all over these bright and colourful stories. With their charming illustrations and highly interactive features she can’t get enough. She loves the independence of being able to read to herself, and touching unfamiliar words when she needs help from the narrator. She can choose to play a recording of our voices reading to her or, when she’s had enough of listening to us, she can opt for it to be read to her in the dulcet tones of a professional narrator! Or even in another language!

We especially love the colouring feature, which allows us to alter the illustrations of the book and choose which illustration setting we would like to set for replay.

That’s not Junk and Milly, Molly and Salt and Pepper are both lovely rhythmic stories packed full of interesting adjectives and adverbs for vocabulary building. With their Hairy Maclary-esque rhymes and community flavour they celebrate the quirky best of their characters.

The education potential is great, too. Seeing each word flash up on the screen as the narrator reads it is a very useful tool and the spelling-out feature is helping our daughter to sort out those tricky similar-sounding vowel formations. Although the vocabulary and sentence structure in the stories is a little complicated for her reading level, there is so much support that the challenge is stretching her reading ability and motivating her to experiment with new vocabulary. I am impressed!

If I only had the budget for a class set of iPads, I would buy a set of these books for my own class. They would be such an asset for second language speakers as well as our native English speakers. And with their politically-correct themes they would go down a treat with curriculum and parents alike!

Ruth Richardson
Parent, Teacher (ESOL)

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