A Czech company has developed a computerised, interactive device it calls a "Magic Box". Half teaching tool, half toy, the box is designed to teach children about modern technologies in a playful way.
The Magic Box is proving very popular with children of different age and learning abilities, who can operate the device with an electric pen or with a mouse and keyboard, and learn new skills in a fun and stimulating environment.
"I like the mathematic lessons in the first school year, which showed animals going on vacations and many other things," said six-year-old Klara Viktorova.
"In the game there are some witches, we click on them and they give us a task that we have to fulfill," added classmate Petr Vales.
Czech teacher Blanka Ptackova said the added flexibility of the Magic Box, which also allows for standard functions such as playing CDs or DVDs, was very useful. "We use the Magic Box also in the school's first and second years, during the lessons on Information Science. The Magic Box works basically as a normal computer. We connect it to the Internet, we can use memory cards or a flash disc, CD or DVD which makes it very useful. We don't have to use only computer games and programmes but we can also create our own programmes or our own web pages," Ptackova said, as children played with the Magic Box during one of her kindergarten classes.
"The projection area on the floor is very important for small children because they are using both rough and fine motor activities and at the same time they are using their preceptors and thinking, all senses which are necessary to coordinate. This is enormously important for children who have physical or learning disabilities," she added.
The Magic Box was developed by Prague-based firm Projektmedia, who specialise in computer equipment and mounting interactive boards for schools, which proved to be unsuitable for younger children who are naturally more accustomed to playing on the floor.
"We started to offer it (the Magic Box) in kindergartens and over three months we sold more than a hundred pieces which is a great success for us. We are glad people like it. It is mainly because we fulfilled the three main requested factors: mobility, for children to be able to play on the ground and, of course, low price."
The Magic Box was the recipient of the Grand Prix award at the Trade Fair for Toys in Prague in 2013.