TVOKids' Match-a Match-a Island game helps early learners develop crucial spatial thinking skills

TORONTO, Dec. 2, 2013 /CNW/ - Today, TVOKids is launching Match-a Match-a Island, a fun matching game designed to help children ages four to seven develop their spatial thinking skills, an area of growing concern for educators. The game is available at tvokids.com for desktop play and as a free app for IOS and Android tablets.

There is growing consensus that spatial thinking is a fundamental part of academic learning, especially in the science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) disciplines. In Ontario, a group of math researchers from the Ontario Institute for Studies in Education at the University of Toronto (OISE) and Trent University have been working with teachers on the Math for Young Children project which acknowledged a greater focus is needed in the development and improvement of lessons for young children's spatial thinking.

"TVOKids created Match-a Match-a Island in response to what OISE researchers were telling us about the importance of spatial thinking as a key marker of academic success," says Patricia Ellingson, TVO Creative Head for Children's and Parents' Media. "TVOKids uses digital media like Matcha Matcha Island to support the Ontario curriculum and the needs of teachers, and to help students learn in new ways."

Match-a Match-a Island is a suite of three games with the first part, a mental rotation and matching game, available now, and parts two and three to follow in the winter and spring of 2014. In the first game, players are presented with a choice of similar images. Two of the images are exactly the same but one of them is slightly rotated in relation to its twin. A third image is the mirror image of the other two. The player must match the rotated, but not reflected images. As the levels increase, so does the degree of rotation and the number of images. Kids, parents or teachers can customize the difficulty of the game to suit their individual learning needs. Once the player gets through a round, they are rewarded with animated stickers that they can use to decorate their own virtual island.

"Match-a Match-a Island targets the development of mental rotation skills, which over the years has emerged as a key marker of spatial thinking," says Zachary Hawes, Research Officer with the Robertson Program for Inquiry-based Teaching in Science and Mathematics at OISE. "Given that spatial thinking receives little instructional time in early learning educational contexts, a game like this is timely and offers a potentially valuable learning tool for teachers, parents, and students."

Match-a Match-a Island was created by TVOKids in collaboration with OISE. All content produced by TVOKids is developed with an on-staff educator and classroom-tested. To see the resources that TVOKids put into the creation of Match-a Match-a Island, including research, design, production and testing visit How TVOKids Builds An Educational Game at TVOParents.com.

About TVO
TVO is Ontario's public educational media organization and a trusted source of interactive educational content that informs, inspires and stimulates curiosity and thought. TVO's vision is to empower people to be engaged citizens of Ontario through educational media. TVO is funded primarily by the Province of Ontario and supported by sponsors and thousands of donors. For more information, visit tvo.org.

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SOURCE: TVO

For further information:

Media contact:
Paul Ginis
TVO Public Relations Specialist
416-484-2600 x2445
pginis@tvo.org


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