Lastinger Center / Kibeam Wand™ Reading System Pilot
In July 2023, UF Lastinger Center for Learning celebrated a new partnership with Kibeam Learning, Inc., a California-based educational technology start-up, founded by inventor of the LeapFrog LeapPad, Jim Marggraff. Connecting the UF Lastinger Center’s New Worlds Reading Initiative and Kibeam’s most recent tech innovation, the Kibeam Wand™ Reading System offers engaging, kinetic activities based on the stories in paper books, promotes a love of reading for young readers, and opens up new possibilities with data analytics designed to aid parents and educators supporting emerging readers.
In October 2023, a subset of New Worlds Reading Initiative families will be invited to participate in a large-scale research project focused on engagement with Scholastic book titles included in the New Worlds Reading selections and the Kibeam Wand™.
What is the Kibeam Wand™?
The ergonomically designed, screenless Kibeam Wand™ is a small hand-held device that fits comfortably in the hand of a 3-year old to an adult and enhances reader engagement with an ever-expanding library of content. The Kibeam Wand™ reads, checks understanding and encourages children to tilt, point and swirl the device as they engage with a paper book.
What is the New Worlds Reading Initiative?
Administered by the UF Lastinger Center, the New Worlds Reading Initiative is a free state literacy and book delivery program for Florida’s eligible VPK-5th grade students not yet meeting grade level expectations. Established in 2021 in partnership with Scholastic, New Worlds Reading delivers one free paper book each month to the homes of eligible children from October to June every year.
UF Lastinger Center & Kibeam Wand™ Pilot Study
In October 2023, the UF Lastinger Center for Learning and Kibeam Learning, Inc. will engage in a formal research study to pilot the use of the Kibeam Wand™ with a group of New Worlds Reading Families and Scholastic books included in the program. Once complete, the research pilot will include 10,000 New Worlds Reading students who will receive a Kibeam Wand™ and commit to participating in a formal research study. Content to support engagement with selected New Worlds Reading Scholastic book selections will be loaded on to participating families’ Kibeam Wands™ and timed with the delivery of their monthly New Worlds Reading books after the pilot start date. Families and children will be introduced to the device, encouraged to use it as part of their reading experience and data will be collected in a variety of areas including literacy, content development, interactivity, device design and engagement.
Through the data collected from the experiences and engagement of 10,000 families, we hope to better understand the relationship between books, reader, technology and interactive content. With better insights into that relationship, we can design programs, products and projects that can effectively address challenges with literacy and reading engagement.