Animated Big Books and Connects Named Finalists in International Awards

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ORIGO Education’s innovative Animated Big Book series and ORIGO Connects (parent/student at-home learning solution) have been named finalists in the internationally renowned EdTech Digital Cool Tools Awards for 2021.

ORIGO, which produces traditional printed products and digital interactive resources, developed its Animated Big Book series and Connects within months of the COVID-19 pandemic to meetthe needs of parents and teachers with at-home learning.

ORIGO Connects provides an opportunity for parents and caregivers to connect directly with school, allowing for a seamless transition from mathematics classroom instruction to follow-up home support.

At the peak of the pandemic, ORIGO Education was inundated with orders for its unique Big Books – a series of engaging large-format mathematics storybooks for young learners.

Given the increase in remote learning, the company digitized the series to help parents and teachers engage children in this new ‘norm’ of learning.

The Animated Big Books feature an animated avatar of teachers, one of which is ORIGO Education co-founder and co-author of the Big Book series, James Burnett. The avatars not only read the stories, but they pause after each page to engage learners with thoughtful questions.

Animated Big Book example from Grade 1

Mr Burnett said his team was honored to have been recognised as a finalist in the EdTech Awards.

“The EdTech Awards are the largest and most competitive program in all of education technology,” said Mr Burnett.

“The awards recognize people in and around education for outstanding contributions in transforming education through technology to enrich the lives of learners everywhere.”

During the onset of the COVID-19 crisis, Mr Burnett said one of the biggest issues that children faced was being out of school routine, which was clearly impacting their ability to retain information as they usually would in a classroom environment.

“Now parents whose children have returned to the traditional classroom recognise they can do so much more at home to support their children’s learning,” he said.

“We have found that our Animated Big Books and Connects program have helped reduce the anxiety that comes for many parents when supporting their children with learning at home, and they are providing a new and interesting resource for teachers back in the classroom.

ORIGO Education worked with Cetati Studios, whose veteran artists hail from beloved creativity centres such as Pixar, Disney and Warner Brothers, to produce engaging digital versions of ORIGO Big Books.

“Learning math through stories is fun and feels natural when kids form an emotional bond with diverse characters they can relate to,” said Brian Lovrin, CEO and co-founder of Cetati Studios.

Mr Burnett said it was clear parents of young learners were eager to access the best resources to help their children get ahead, or in some cases, catch up.

The Big Books are designed to introduce new mathematics concepts to students in Foundation to Year 2 by using language and contexts that are familiar to them.

“They put the mathematics in real, non-threatening situations to allow children to experience the fun of mathematics without feeling the pressure that they are actively learning,” said Mr Burnett.

“With the accompanying tunes and digital learning tools, ORIGO Big Books make the learning experience engaging and exciting.

“The books expand on children’s existing language and vocabulary to help them understand new maths concepts.”

After 26 years of creating accessible mathematics content for the United States and 13 other countries, the ORIGO Education team is focused on ensuring children worldwide have a concrete understanding of mathematics concepts so they can use it beyond the classroom.

“Of course, we want all children to perform well in school – however, our underlying purpose is about so much more,” said Mr Burnett.

“We want to prepare children for a world where they have the skills and the confidence to contribute to society as problem solvers, thinkers, and innovators.

“We want to encourage our children to become the best citizens they can be – individuals who can find alternate solutions that can better shape our world.”

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