A few weeks ago I was very excited to receive an email about a new software platform that empowers children to discover their interests and find relevant books and movies they are most likely to enjoy.
I must admit that this line from the email....
"Think Pandora, Spotify or Netflix with a twist"
got my attention and I wanted to know more.
Yesterday they released the following in conjunction with ALA Midwinter in Philadelphia. I am excited to share this new project with everyone. You will want to know about Wandoo Planet too!
INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. (Jan. 24, 2014) — Evanced Solutions, a library software developer, announces today the release of the beta version of the world’s first kid-powered interest genome project, Wandoo
The subsidiary of Demco is seeking children, parents, educators and librarians to beta test the online platform—which will be widely available this spring as a free app—and provide their feedback.
The software empowers children ages 6-14 to explore their keenest interests by playing an interest-finding game. After they’ve decided on a few interests, they can then discover relevant books and movies via a personalized recommendation engine. Because Wandoo Planet is driven by an “adaptive learning system” algorithm, the more kids use the software, the “smarter” it will become—and the better its recommendations will be for all the kids who use it.
“Leveraging children's interests is a powerful tactic when it comes to fighting reading deficiency, but unfortunately, it is not something that has been put into widespread practice,” said Rob Cullin, president and co-founder of Evanced Solutions. “Through Wandoo Planet, we encourage young readers to visit their local libraries to access the books and movies they are interested in. We welcome the feedback of our beta testers who will help us make the game even better before its official release this spring.”
In the interest-finding game, kids are offered topics and activities that other kids have found to be interesting—from “Twilight” and unicorns to dirt biking, superheroes and everything in between. Kids then decide if they love, like or dislike what they see. Once they have identified a few interests they
love—or want to explore further—their own interest sapling starts to grow into an interest tree with individual branches representing each interest.
The branches then start to bud with suggested kid-friendly content that directly relates to users’ interests. As kids read and explore, interest branches grow leaves. Future versions of Wandoo Planet will connect directly to some libraries’ children’s collection holdings.
“We’re very excited about the potential impact of Wandoo Planet on our youth,” said Lindsey Hill, former two-time Teacher of the Year and current lead for reading engagement initiatives at Evanced Solutions. “With its reporting capabilities, teachers, librarians and parents are easily able to track the types and numbers of books and other materials kids consume.”
To help get the word out about Wandoo Planet, Evanced Solutions will kick off its Banish Boredom Tour this February. During the four-month-long road trip, the company will travel nearly 20,000 miles to visit libraries across the U.S.
“We’re so passionate and excited about this project that we want to take it on the road to share it with as many people as possible and hear from them directly about where we got it right and where we need to make it better,” said Cullin.
To become a beta tester for Wandoo Planet, visit http://evancedkids.com/betasignup/. Sign-up for children younger than 13 requires adult assistance.
To learn more about Wandoo Planet, please check out the video above at this link.
For more information about Evanced Solutions’ efforts to improve children’s reading engagement, visit www.evancedkids.com.