Innovation That Matters

Brazilian app unlocks phones with educational questions


Unlock Lessons only lets kids play on mobiles and tablets if they can correctly answer questions first.

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Striking the right balance between work and play is hard enough even for adults. We’ve previously featured two mobile apps which stress that point – Nudge Kick, which blocks timewasting sites until the user has completed enough exercise, and StudyPact, which offers financial reward for students who get their work done. Now, Brazilian telecoms company Vivo have taken similar thinking and applied it to a younger market. Their app, called Unlock Lessons, enables kids to unlock their parents’ cell phone or tablet, on the condition that they correctly answer questions on subjects they’re learning at school.

Parents download the app and register their children to it with details of what school year they are in and what subjects they are taking. As well as encouraging kids to learn through a reward system, the app lets parents track the progress their children are making.

Vivo have not created the app for profit. Rather, they see the development of Unlock Lessons as part of their corporate social responsibility, and it should boost their appeal with conscientious parents.

Based on the idea of “learning before play”, Unlock Lessons lets kids enjoy the games they love, and allows parents to relax about handing over their smartphones. With 60 percent of eight year-olds having played games or used apps on a mobile, there’s room for the app to make a big difference.

With smartphones and tablets so ubiquitous, could apps like these be the answer for parents, who are already seeing 30 percent of all their mobile apps downloaded by their children?



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