Tuesday, April 07, 2020

KooBits brings Singapore Math to Filipino homes!

I truly believe that because of the COVID-19 pandemic, we won't be going back to school anytime soon. So I've been exploring homeschooling and online educational platforms. Koobits sent me this press release and I think it's interesting enough for my kids to use since they're studying Singapore Math in school. Check it out, mamas!

PRESS RELEASE - Award-winning Singapore-based EdTech startup KooBits, announced the launch of two new products: ‘Home-Based Learning’, an online mathematics learning platform, and ‘Live Tutoring’, an AI-enabled online live tutoring service — both with accompanying apps for parents to track learning progress. This is the first official launch of KooBits e-learning products to the consumer market, catering to parents and kids across households in the Philippines and beyond.

KooBits is the most engaging website in the e-learning category in Southeast Asia. It already sees enthusiastic use among over 150,000 children worldwide, with more than 20,000 children voluntarily spending time on the platform to learn every day.

“KooBits has always been dedicated to fostering higher-order thinking skills and problem-solving capabilities in the leaders of our next generation. Our new offerings provide more ways for parents to keep track of their child’s learning progress, ensuring parents are more involved in their child’s development. We are bringing the tried and tested methods from our work with schools right into your households to enrich your child’s maths education with a personalised and engaging online curriculum.” said Stanley Han, CEO of KooBits. 

Their school-based product 'KooBits ProblemSums' helps children build a deep understanding of maths via the acclaimed Singapore Maths pedagogy. It is one of the most widely-used and successful EdTech solutions in the region and beyond, with 361 schools using the system. 

AI-based education tools to foster independent, self-motivated learners 

Both of the KooBits products — ‘Home-Based Learning’ and ‘Live Tutoring’ — utilise AI to provide effective learning solutions for children. The KooBits platform uses its personalization technology and gamification to support students to learn on their own; and at the same time, uses AI and big data to generate learning insights and make them visible to parents and teachers. 

‘Home-Based Learning’ comes with access to unlimited worksheets with full solutions, and comprehensive video tutorials. These tutorials are based on the tried and tested Concrete-Pictorial-Abstract (CBA) approach, which is the model used by Singapore’s education system. This ensures that children do not simply rote-memorise the steps to solving a problem, but are able to visualise and understand the underlying concepts. Once they have mastered the concepts, they are also able to test their skills against their peers with fun activities and friendly competitions, gaining a mastery of the school syllabus from the comfort of their homes. 

‘Live Tutoring’ provides an affordable home learning alternative compared to the industry average. Through a short pre-class assignment that is part of every session, the platform automatically identifies each child’s weaknesses and gaps in learning, and automatically groups them, so tutors can personalise their lesson and address relevant issues for the students during each class. 

The platform also enables assignment of homework to follow up on the concepts that require reinforcement, to ensure that understanding has been achieved. As a result, each tutoring session is customized according to the child’s needs — generating a personalized learning pathway that maximises their strengths, and rectifies their weaknesses. 

Parents can also keep track of their child’s progress, gaining an insight into their child’s strengths and weaknesses. They can monitor what milestones their children have reached in relation to the national syllabus, and can also benchmark their child’s progress against their peers. Armed with this knowledge, they can gently guide their child’s learning pathway, without impinging on their independence. 

Making home-based learning easier and accessible to all 

With ‘Home-Based Learning’ and ‘Live Tutoring’, parents are able to enroll their children in the programmes and are no longer dependent on the school adopting the KooBits system. These new home-based products give parents access to the insights on their child’s learning progress — something that only teachers had access to previously. 

Furthermore, in order to help parents and educators cope with the transition to fully home-based learning, KooBits is making their 'KooBits Weekly Homework' program — that was previously only offered to partner schools — available to everyone at zero cost, at https://www.koobits.com/public. This free service will be open for all till the end of this academic year. 

To ensure the continuity of high-quality education outside the classroom, KooBits has engaged experienced teachers to hand-pick and set questions for interested students in the form of structured formative and summative assessments on a twice-weekly basis. This not only gives students relevant and timely revision, but also presents parents with data on how their child is performing relative to the cohort. 

Stanley said, “We understand that this is a trying period for both parents and children, with a lot of uncertainty surrounding education. We hope that our platform, which encourages children to self-pace and self-direct their own learning, can put their minds at rest when it comes to at-home maths education.” 

With the objective of further democratizing education and helping to accelerate the migration towards online teaching and learning, KooBits plans to offer their e-learning system to all tuition centres by the end of the second quarter of 2020. They are also working on Science education programs, set to roll out in the second quarter of the year. 

Find out more about KooBits at https://www.koobits.com/.

*To be featured on Press Release Tuesdays, send it to frances@topazhorizon.com.

Monday, April 06, 2020

Graduation invites I love (plus a grad announcement card I made for Piero!)

Well, because of the novel coronavirus and the community quarantine, I didn't expect that my last boy wasn't going to walk on stage to get his kindergarten diploma, to be honest. We feel a bit sad. Okay, I'll be honest—I'm really sad about it because he was my last kid in preschool and it's an achievement for him... and me! So to make up for the feeling of being robbed of such a wonderful milestone, I decided to make graduation announcements for my boy. For that, I went online and found Basic Invite!

I love it! It has all sorts of templates for invitations for all the occasions you can think of! Here are my top reasons why I love Basic Invite:

Unlimited color combinations 
Basic Invite lets customers choose from infinite color combinations. Every element of the invitation can be changed and you see what your card will look like instantly every time you edit. 

Custom samples
You can order a printed sample of your invitation so you can see the paper quality, how it feels and smells even. Then you can tweak it to your liking before printing.

Over 40 different envelope colors
I love colorful envelopes since they make your mail instantly stand out in the stack. Basic Invite  customers can choose from over 40 different envelope colors. They also said that their envelopes are peel and seal so that the envelopes can be closed quickly and easily.

So let's check out the samples! Here are the graduation invitation templates. There are lots more to choose from so please so check the link. 

Maybe after this community quarantine, we might celebrate with a little party! Just to make our little boy feel special. Here are some graduation party invitation templates to choose from:

I can also make my boy make thank you cards for his teachers using these graduation thank you card templates at Basic Invite.

Since we can't invite anyone to a ceremony or after-party yet, I decided that a graduation announcement card will be good to tell our loved ones that my baby boy is done with baby school and is now all set for big school!

Here are the templates for the preschool type:

And these are what I made:

I decided on the second one because we have the Dr. Suess book, Oh, The Places You'll Go! so it's more relevant to us. 

Since Basic Invite is offering a 15% discount now, my order will just be USD 51.85 from USD 61. So that's just PHP 2,624!

If you're also looking to celebrate your graduation—if not now but someday soon, I hope—check out Basic Invite today. They have other kinds of templates for announcements, invitations and gratitude cards as well. Here's the website: www.basicinvite.com. Enjoy shopping!

*This post is brought to you by Basic Invite.

Wednesday, April 01, 2020

Want a home project? Change your room dramatically with wallpaper! Here's mine

Since everyone's home because of the coronavirus quarantine, lots of articles about DIY home projects are proliferating online. My husband and I had the same plan for our summer—even before the community quarantine—because Vince was tired of the silver accent wall I painted 6 years ago and wanted something nicer on that wall. Like a really fabulous wallpaper. And that's how we discovered Photowall!

Photowall is based in Sweden. So why did I get my wallpaper from across the world? Well, I've checked out a few wallpaper shops in Manila and, while there are lovely designs available here, we were looking for something bolder. Something that will stand out when you enter the room versus a discreet design that fades into the, er, wallpaper.

With Photowall, we saw soooooo many wonderful and fantastic designs! Super overwhelming! Bold and colorful! Dynamic and stimulating! They drew your attention instead of fading into the background. It took Vince and me a few weeks just going through all the gorgeous choices until we both finally settled on one amazing artwork. I'll show you in a bit!

You can tell from my pictures how happy I am to get our wallpaper! I super loved Photowall—from their beautiful and user-friendly website that showcased all their designs in various real room settings, the ease of ordering on their online store to the super quick production and delivery. I ordered our wallpaper March 9 and it was printed out that same day. It left Sweden March 10 and we got it March 13! Four days!

We were actually supposed to get it on March 12—so it would've just taken 3 days!—but the COVID-19 panic was already starting that week so delivery was delayed. I'm just so glad our wallpaper got to us before the lockdown! So let me do a little unboxing!

The wallpaper is rolled up into this small box. It comes with the receipt, instructions, and the glue.

And this is what it will look like! I haven't been able to put up the wallpaper. Lockdown started March 14 so we weren't able to buy the necessary tools from the hardware shop. So our plan to install it while on quarantine didn't pan out. But, mamas, just look at how absolutely gorgeous it's going to be!!!

That is ART. That's just so "LOOK AT ME!" I can't wait to see that wallpaper up on our wall!

Okay, I'm so happy with it that I created a My Favorites list on Photowall. Let me share with you a few wallpapers and posters that I love. I am totally covering my whole house with Photowall products!

The foxes are for IƱigo. He's really into foxes now.

I highly recommend Photowall, mamas! Check out their website now. We may not be able to get shipments right now because of the quarantine but browse the designs anyway and make a Favorites album like I did. It took me and my husband a month just to go through all the designs and narrow down what we liked. So you now have something to do this month!

If you order, use my code "topazhorizon2021" at checkout to get 25% off! That's a huge discount! PLUS: You can use that code several times from now till May 1, 2020! No, this isn't a sponsored post but Photowall very kindly offered that discount so that Filipinos—my Loyal Readers especially!—can get beautiful wallpaper straight from Sweden, too!