Question – How did you come up with this idea? What enticed you to take this step?
Arin Kalousdian – Children master new tools of technology and communication as well as adults. Although scholars believe using these tools can lead to addictive behavior in them, these same tools can serve to entice interest in children, to acquire new knowledge. In the Armenian diaspora, the majority of kids attend non-Armenian schools, and their time on the computer is spent playing non-Armenian games, which promote the loss of using Armenian in everyday life. It then becomes imperative to incorporate Armenian in children’s daily activities and games. With this in mind, Hamazkayin initiated the programming of an app. A committee was formed comprising of the following members: Arin Kalousdian the project manager, Talin Yahneian the educational consultant, Nayiri Alexandrian the graphics designer, Serouj Baghdassarian the programmer, and Hera Najarian the elocution specialist. For the funding of the project, the committee produced a video clip, with Hrayr Kalemkerian in charge of the shoot. Music for the games was provided by Gary Kaner-Harboyan, Megheti Der Haroutounian and George Demirdjian. I would like to mention that this was the first collaborative project for this group.
Question – What does this game aim to achieve and why World of Colors?
Arin Kalousdian - The purpose of the game was to introduce a game in Armenian on the iOS and Android platforms for children ages 3 and up. They will be able to learn Eastern and Western Armenian through the games, in the classical Armenian orthography.
Talin Yahneian – Learning about colors is an important achievement in the development of. An 18- month-old child knows how to differentiate between different hues. At the of age 3 or 4, a child should learn the names of colors in his or her first language, Armenian. At three years of age, the child will be introduced to the primary colors, and starting at age 4, he or she will be introduced to secondary colors, such as purple. These games promote the child’s memory, logic, thinking, perception, speaking, attention span, imagination and more. The games will instill in the child a love for their mother tongue and a curiosity to learn more. The child will be able to watch, listen, think and develop their skills.
Question – How does this game differ from other games available on the market?
Nayiri Alexandrian – To emphasize the use of Armenian in the game, we decided to create two Armenian characters, Lala and Ara. The names were chosen keeping in mind their consistent articulations in both Eastern and Western Armenian, their contemporaneity and musicality. The characters are 4-5 years old, very curious, playfully mischievous, frolicsome and even at times unkempt. They befriend the players and explore with them the world of colors, all the while helping and guiding them.
Talin Yahneian – While preparing the game, we also consulted chidren. They chose the characters, brought them to life with their voices and even played with the game through the developmental phases, in order to give us their honest input.
Serouj Baghdasarian - The child chooses from 10 available colors, and for each color gets 4 games, which means he or she can play with a total of 40 games.
Question - How is the child going to learn how to play? Are there special instructions?
Hera Najarian - Lala and Ara will explain the step of the game. When the children get a right or wrong answer, Lala and Ara will provide an appropriate response, either praising or encouraging them to try again. At first we thought it would be go faster and clearer to voice these responses in adult tones; however, in the end we realized the child would appreciate them if they came from a peer. This was a great challenge that slowed down the process, because it was hard to find children with the right qualifications.
Question – Can you describe the process of selection of the the games, and do you believe that children with different levels of capabilities will be able to navigate through the language barriers and complete the games?
Talin - The games are very diverse. Through trial and error, the child will be able to complete each game successfully, while following the special instructions and guidelines. For certain colors, such as red, the games are easier. But even there the child confronts a broad spectrum of new vocabulary to learn, and I am convinced that when knowledge is taught through play, a child learns faster.
Question – How were you able to fund this project?
Arin - We started an online fundraising initiative on Kickstarter, through which we achieved our goal. We then decided to offer the game for free for the first 6 months.
Question – How can parents obtain the the game?
Serouj - It’s easy to download it on the iOS and Android platforms, through the Apple Store or Google Play. We will soon update the game, adding the Eastern Armenian option.
Question - How will you promote the game to ensure its circulation so that Armenian kids can get to know and profit from this initiative?
Arin - In order to present and promote the game, we have a special Facebook page called Lala and Ara that already has close to 2000 followers. We have also launched the website www.lalanouaran.com, where people can become familiar and follow this project. We will notify further developments of the project through press releases, to promote the game further. We also believe, through word of mouth, Armenian children will do their share in propagating the game. If kids like and play with great enthusiasm, I think we can say we’ve reached our goal.