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Abacus Prodigy Soropad

Winner - Gold

Competition: Spark:Concept
Designer: Mr. Michael Horito - Director
Design Type: Concept/ Math learning tool

The soropad fuses a soft, friendly form and modern electronics with an ancient device - redefining the abacus from a foreign oddity to a serious learning tool. The word "soropad" combines the Japanese word for abacus (soroban) with the word "pad" resulting in a creative yet easy to remember and descriptive name for the device. Abacus Prodigy wanted to address the inefficiencies of math-teaching in the U.S. School system. Teachers do not have the support and materials required to adequately teach math with a systematic approach, much less to raise the standard of math in our country. We wish to change that by giving the teachers the tools and resources they need to be effective. The initial challenge was to create old world technology with modern electronics to create an appropriate and cohesive design. It was also important to create an aesthetic that will appeal to children while also being perceived as a serious learning and instruction tool, while creating a fun learning experience that builds the self esteem of children struggling in math. We also addressed usability needs and manufacturing constraints. The angled keypad improves ergonomics for entering data, while keeping it out of the way while using the abacus. It visually separates the two parts while simultaneously joining them together. The overall design of the enclosure is intended to be simple and cost effective to manufacture. The foundation of the unique curriculum is supported by Abacus learning. Abacus learning is the complete solution to teaching number sense. It teaches children to develop an active approach to learning, and greatly increases their powers of mental calculation. This development of logical thought processes builds and enhances a child's analytical and conceptual skills from an early age. Children who develop the Abacus skill will eventually be able to mentally add, subtract, multiply and divide complicated whole numbers and decimals. They often calculate faster than an electronic calculator. A full curriculum has been developed following a systematic topical guide and using the best Math teaching techniques from Asia, in conjunction with the U,S. Common Core State Standards curriculum. What you'll find in Abacus Prodigy is an interactive website, along with an electronic Abacus keyboard, simulated with visual and audio teaching, different stages of practices, competitive games, quizzes, and exams. But most importantly, it comes with a formative assessment report system that will allow teachers and parents alike to identify the child's strengths and weaknesses. What this does for a teacher is it allows them to more effectively teach a classroom of students with varying degrees of understanding. The teacher will be able to identify the student's problem areas in real-time and go through the problems on a one-to-one basis with the student. This also allows the more advanced students to progress at their own speed and level. Abacus Prodigy hopes that math education in America will be revolutionized one child at a time through this product and curriculum.