With a vision of “Creating a society without barriers”, LITALICO Inc. (headquarters: Meguro, Tokyo; President and Representative Director: Atsumi Hasegawa; ticker symbol: 6187) has expanded throughout Japan with its employment assistance services for persons with disabilities and its educational services that help children to realize their potential. As the latest in the company’s efforts to leverage technology toward solutions to social issues, LITALICO is releasing apps that will assist children with developmental disabilities in over 150 countries and regions around the world*.
The company has developed two apps: a communication tool that assists children who have difficulty vocalizing their thoughts, and a puzzle game that can help children have fun learning to understand vocabulary. The apps are based on the teaching that is offered within LITALICO’s own educational services. Distribution of the apps began in April 2017.
The company is planning to continue developing new apps, and aims to create solutions to the challenges faced by many people in the areas of social welfare and education.
*7 languages supported as of April 25th, 2017 (English, French, Portuguese, Rusian, Spanish, German, Japanese). Languages are scheduled to be added sequentially.
App Development Background
Devices like smartphones and tablets are becoming increasingly popular, and the amount of digital educational content available that enables even young children to enjoy learning is growing. At the same time, there is a shortage in terms of both quantity and quality of content that deals with social issues. In particular, and even when viewed from a global perspective, there are still few apps that provide specialized educational assistance for the challenges faced by children with developmental disabilities.
It was under these circumstances that LITALICO first took up the challenge of using technology to solve social problems. The company redoubled its efforts to recruit engineers, and began developing digital content in the fields of education and social welfare. This development was carried out in collaboration with LITALICO Junior, a social and educational skills school that provides teaching tailored to each student’s unique development trajectory, and LITALICO Laboratory, a research institute that conducts surveys and studies oriented toward the solution of social problems relating to education and employment. The company began distributing two apps in April 2017.
Overview of Apps Released April 2017
App title: Card Talk
This is a communication app that can be used by children who have difficulty using their voice to express their thoughts due to developmental obstacles. By using illustrated cards to stand in for verbal communication, the app enables communication that matches with the unique characteristics of each child.
Target age : 3 and up
Price : Free
Supported OS: iOS, Android
Card Talk features 200 cards (with sound) depicting things including actions and the names of objects that children need in order to express their thoughts in everyday life. The app helps children who have difficulty speaking to communicate.
Users can create their own original cards with speech, by choosing a favorite photo and recording their voice. Using these cards enables communication that responds to the unique needs of the child.
App title: Round Card Animals
This puzzle game that encourages vocabulary learning was developed for children who face speech-related challenges, applying the practice of teaching with the use of illustrated cards.
In order to learn vocabulary, it is necessary to understand the interrelationship between the factors that form the basis of each word: meaning, sound, and appearance. In this game, players begin by matching cards, which is done by bumping them into each other, and have fun learning about the relationships between meaning, names (sounds), and letters (shapes).
A game that fosters an intuitive understanding of the relationships between meaning, sound, and shape!
During the development of this game, children who attend LITALICO Junior played it for themselves, which helped the developers make further improvements to the content of the game and its ease of use. The game is now being used in students’ homes, as a tool to help them with the learning they do in the classroom.
Target age : 3 and up
Price : Free (with in-app purchases)
Supported OS : iOS, Android
URL : https://app.litalico.jp/roundcardanimals/
The game begins with players bumping cards that have the same animal meaning into one another. As they progress through the stages, players will need to match various combinations, such as meaning and sound, and meaning and letters. Even adults can enjoy the 30 stages offered.
In the future, LITALICO will release a series of apps that will be available to users overseas as well as within Japan, with a focus on tools that support communication and daily life, as well as educational apps.
Development Team Profile
These apps were developed by LITALICO’s CTO Office, which was established in May 2016. In addition to office head Takashi Kishida, who was involved in the development of numerous hit titles at GREE, Inc., the CTO Office is home to highly accomplished personnel who have developed a wide variety of applications. The office is developing apps that are easy for children to use, in collaboration with staff members at LITALICO Junior who are involved in the education of children with unique developmental processes.
Profile: Takashi Kishida, Chief Technology Officer and Office Head, CTO Office, LITALICO
Obtained PhD in Computer Science in March 2006. After working for a major systems integrator, joined GREE, Inc. in May 2009, where he served as engineer/project manager, executive manager of the Japan studio, and assistant general manager of the development department successively. Appointed as executive at GREE in October 2013. Subsequently pursued the development of new titles as well as the development of creators. Joined LITALICO Inc. as Chief Technology Officer in November 2015.
With a corporate vision of “Creating a society without barriers”, LITALICO has expanded to include the employment assistance service LITALICO Works, the social and educational skills school LITALICO Junior, and the IT and manufacturing school LITALICO Wonder. The company offers a comprehensive range of services, from early childhood education to employment assistance, centered on persons with disabilities. LITALICO is also involved in projects involving the provision of information via the internet services. LITALICO was listed on the Tokyo Stock Exchange’s Mothers Index in March 2016. In March 2017, the company’s stock was moved to the First Section of the TSE. For further details, please see http://litalico.co.jp/.
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