Subscription, non-app learning service reduces cost, enhances portability and ease of access

Apps are great, but they are platform—and device—specific. What happens when Dad downloads a child’s favorite app to a smartphone to amuse and teach while he cooks dinner, but then the phone needs charging? Or the app is on a tablet, and the tablet gets accidentally left at home during a trip to Grandma and Grandpa’s, who only have a desktop internet connection? How about kids of different ages, who want and need different apps?

Of course, apps are embedded in a larger environment where the line between app and non-app is beginning to blur and overlap. We are interacting with a dynamic and creative digital world, where exciting developments emerge daily, along with new terms and phrases to describe them. We hear about transmedia storytelling—the ability to share narratives, both interactive and not, across multiple platforms and formats. We can create a glog, or multimedia interactive poster, using tools such as Glogster that allows kids (or anyone!) to “Express ideas with ease by combining images, graphics, audio, video and text on one digital canvas.” And we are also seeing subscription learning services that offer kids multiple activities, geared toward various ages, designed to develop a variety of skills. Most of those, however, are still in the form of an app, downloadable to one device and/or playable by one child at a time.

The newly launched online destination is different. Internet-accessible, a monthly subscription delivers content that travels across platforms and devices. Using a shared log-in, a preschooler can be playing Monkey Match on a tablet at the dining room table, while his sister in second grade practices multiplication and division on a desktop in mom’s upstairs office.

Backed by School Zone Publishing’s 40-year heritage of delivering award-winning early learning solutions, the content, geared toward ages 2-8, is created by a team of educators, editors, designers, and programmers. Busy parents can have peace of mind when kids are accessing the easy-to-navigate site on their own. provides a safe and trusted supplemental learning environment—a digital playground—that combines the power of video with traditional learning tools such as digital flash cards, games, songs, storybooks, interactive worksheets, and printable worksheets, providing learning at a child’s fingertips anywhere, at any time. The site also allows parents to manage their child’s activities and view their progress, creating an opportunity to discuss improvement and learning goals.

All it requires is Internet access. According to an NPR report by Alena Selyukh this past February, one large survey showed that a quarter of lower-income families with kids in school have only a mobile device for Internet access, adding that “Among families living below the poverty level, the proportion rises to a third.” Smartphones may not be the best for doing many types of homework, but they have connected many households that were previously disconnected and can be great for accessing supplemental learning games and other activities.

In a household of any income level, so long as usage is via wi-fi or falls within data plan allowances, paying one low monthly rate to access dozens and dozens of activities winds up being significantly less than paying a per-download fee for multiple apps for multiple kids of various ages whose skill levels are constantly changing.

Explore, an activity-rich library of learning, with a free 7-day trial. Subscriptions start at $6.99 per month.