How it all started
It all began with my autistic son Maksimilijan during 2005 while we worked “on desk” and one-to-one with ABA (Applied Behavioral Analysis) therapy with him. This is what working on desk looks like: placing several flash cards on the table, giving verbal instructions, and waiting for Maksimilijan to choose the correct flash card or solve another task. For several correct answers, he got a reward—a piece of his favorite food, read: chocolates), a toy for spinning, or another kind of object that he liked.
Over time, though, we felt that the tasks were becoming boring for him, and despite changes and efforts to be more innovative, we reached developmental saturation. He was five years old then. I had to do something new to help him and to get some sort of a break for me. I started to work with developers on apps to create a kind of virtual teacher. We made some cool games, but they although they were okay for me, they were not for him. I've realized I still had to work full-time with him and give him rewards for correct answers. It was just a different form of what we had been doing with flash cards. During this development, his interest in toys or food rewards faded, as well. Once again, there was no progress. My main problem was to find a digital attraction to keep him focused for assessments.
And, then sudden relief—I realized that I found one. Actually, Maksimilijan showed me what it is. He liked cartoons almost as much as he liked chocolate. That's it, my first breakthrough in education for my child! I implemented online media in learning apps as "digital chocolates". And it worked great; he continued to work with interest.
One day, I was worked with Maksimilijan again using educational games, and somebody else made a second education breakthrough. My youngest child Nikolina (four years old at that time) did something totally unexpected. Please note, she is perfectly healthy, curious child. She pushed Maksimilijan and me away from the PC, and she started to enjoy the learning games designed for Maksimilijan. I could not believe my eyes—she enjoyed it more than we did! This got me thinking, do I have really something here, software that can be valuable to all children, not only for children with autism?
Let's be honest, many parents who do something for their own child start to offer their product or service to other parents of children with same development problem. I've seen many software products designed for one child later offered for free or sale. So, my start is exactly the same.
I went to speak with Nikolina's kindergarten teachers, Helena Gaspar and Dijana Jakasovic, about my discovery, and they were totally thrilled with it and its possibilities. We immediately arranged to install the app in Nikolina's kindergarten group. This was the third breakthrough in software development. Meeting and later work in the children’s group was important, showing the value of the inspired learning with fun.
This was still not the final breakthrough. As I started to think about how to commercialize the software, I joined startup incubator in Germany. Okay, I've learned a lot about customers and how little I knew about markets, value propositions, product fit, clarity of pitch . . . ooh la la! I cannot count the lessons learned. But if I had applied all the customer feedback, product fit training, and value proposition pivoting, I might have lost what I liked and forgotten why I started to work on this software. Sometimes I feel lucky I did not push for further suggestions, because it would not be me, nor the product I really like. Silly thought, right?
I'm just kidding, but I like this Henry Ford quote: “If I had asked people what they wanted, they would have said faster horses.”
Luckily, during the startup workshops, I studied problems and got my hands on a tremendous book, Discover Your Child's Learning Style, by Mariaemma Willis. It was very easy to implement certain of these findings, like learning dispositions and talents, and to tailor even more software to children’s needs. The fourth breakthrough was applying children’s talents as rewards.
I’m husband and father of three who likes humor like Monty Python’s Flying Circus, Top Secret, Airplane! and similar comedies. I like the French and Belgian schools of comics, humor in Alan Ford, and of course Corto Maltese.
I’ve been working for years in the telco industry with developers of IT systems in building business analytics and business intelligence reports from network platforms, CRM, ERP, and billing systems. Knowledge gathered on my job is implemented in Gabriel’s Seeds—this is the reason it’s made like an open and scalable Content Management System.
Gabriel’s Seeds is a leading software designed for constructing, playing, or sharing personalized early childhood learning apps.
With Gabriel’s Seeds, your children can personalize lessons according to their interests and requirements, thereby promoting growth and increasing learning skills at their own pace.
Just as the name suggests, Gabriel’s Seeds refers to the angel Gabriel who brought good news to mankind. Today, Gabriel continues to provide the same good news in the form of seeds of knowledge (which is a metaphor for learning process). As you know, knowledge for growing requires the correct environment, and application provides learning and a captivating environment. Gabriel’s Seeds’ innovative and cutting-edge software provides the exact platform for this!
Despite all my investigations and market analysis, I could not find software with a similar concept. The closest ones, with possibilities to import images into games layouts, are learningapps.org and bookwidgets.com.
None of the other software products use talents to motivate children and match their interests. They mostly use only one or two talents per software or app as motivation. Since there are 12 basic children’s talents, and each child may have a combination of them, there are countless combinations available for each child.
None of the software nor apps use a combination of third-party media within education. Other software use their own games and animations with limited personalization capabilities. Gabriel’s Seeds allows educators to link learning with media, and this openness to third-party content provides tremendous resources to match high-quality content to EVERY CHILD.
I do not consider a built-in tracking system or statistical success rate per child as education personalization. It is a helpful tool for educators, but not directly useful for children.