School Zone Debuts Apps for iPad

Grand Haven Children’s Publisher Among First in Nation to Develop Software for New Apple Product
Grand Haven, Michigan, April 2, 2010 — When Apple’s new iPad hits store shelves on Saturday morning, consumers will be able to download three “apps” written by a Grand Haven publisher of educational materials for children.
Software developers at School Zone have been working around the clock for the past few weeks to ensure its kid-friendly programs are among the first downloadable applications, or apps, tailored specifically for the revolutionary new tablet computer.  Apple will begin delivering pre-ordered iPads at 9 a.m. on Saturday, although the computer giant has already said it won’t be able to meet strong consumer demand with this first round of shipments.
Industry observers say that only 200 new apps will be available for the iPad this weekend, although thousands will likely come online in the coming months.  School Zone, which currently has more than 60 educational software titles to its credit, will debut three apps for the iPad:  On-Track Time, Money and Fractions, Flash Action Multiplication and Division and Flash Action Addition and Subtraction.
The new School Zone apps, which parents, teachers and other consumers can download for $9.99 each, are interactive and educational programs designed to develop math skills in children from pre-kindergarten through the sixth grade.  They all take advantage of the iPad’s touch-screen technology, making it easy – and fun – for little fingers to walk through addition, subtraction, multiplication, division and other math concepts.
“School Zone has been creating learning software for the Apple platform for more than 12 years, so developing apps for the new iPad was a natural for us,” said Jonathan Hoffman, president and CEO.  “No one does technology better than Apple – and no other computer maker is as committed to pure learning as Apple is.  That dovetails expertly with our mission.
“Children are about to experience a whole new way of learning.  The iPad brings our educational software to an entirely different level, giving children the ability to manipulate digital material with the touch of a finger.  This can transform difficult concepts – such as fractions, time or money – into a delightful opportunity to explore.  Children will be mesmerized, and parents will love the results.”
Barbara Peacock, managing director of technology for School Zone, says that her development team has logged many 24-hour days to adapt the three popular software titles to a touch screen format before Saturday’s deadline.  
The new titles include:
— On-Track Time, Money & Fractions for first and second graders is designed to present these abstract concepts with fun, hands-on exercises that reinforce skills.  Children are able to move coins into a bank, color pie pieces in order to form fractions or manipulate the hands of a clock to learn about minutes and hours.
— Flash Action Multiplication & Division for third and fourth graders allows children to practice problems against the clock, challenge another player to a game of fast facts or test themselves for speed and accuracy.
— Flash Action Addition & Subtraction for first and second graders puts a new twist on the old-fashioned flash cards, allowing children to practice addition, subtraction or mixed problems against the clock or against another player.
“Math is one area where kids always need practice, and we have found that touch and learning go hand in hand” she explained.  “We were able to do some creative changes to our programming for the iPad that takes advantage of the touch capabilities.  Some of the activities really lend themselves to touch-screen technology, and we feel that parents and their children will enjoy the hands-on nature of math exploration.
“Our team of talented developers has been putting in very long days to ensure that School Zone will be part of the opening day excitement that is sure to mark the launch of the iPad.  We are extremely pleased that a West Michigan company is among the first contributors to the magic of iPad.”
Industry experts say that Apple could sell as many as 400,000 iPads during launch weekend – and as many as 6 million through the remainder of the year.  Apple said its new tablet will run more than 150,000 apps, including educational apps, entertainment and games, social networking and more.
The App Store opened in 2008, offering downloadable apps ranging from free to 99 cents to more expensive games and software.  Developers realized a first-mover advantage, with apps like Ocarina – a virtual flute application that appeared three months after the store opened – racking up more than $2 million in sales since its debut.
“We have sold more than 8 million software packages since we first began developing software in 1997,” Hoffman said.  “We were in Apple’s first store, and we have grown as they have grown.  Developing an app for the iPad was a dream come true for School Zone.  We see this use of touch technology as the next hyper-jump in teaching and learning for children.
“School Zone titles continue to resonate with pre-schoolers and school-age children and their parents – and with Apple.  We are already hard at work on our second round of apps and expect to have more than 25 titles for the iPad available by the end of the year.”