Upcoming Android app to teach American transcendentalist literature

Upcoming Android app to teach American transcendentalist literature


An innovative Android app being developed by startup oomApps will teach the literature of the American transcendentalists through a strategy of "multi-channel learning."

Transcendentalism Interactive, as it's known, is designed to present the literature of Emily Dickinson, Ralph Waldo Emerson, Henry David Thoreau and the rest of the transcendentalist school in several different ways, leading to increased comprehension.

[ MORE EDUCATION: Bill Gates: Schools are at a 'technology tipping point' ]

Creator Garrett Munro told Network World that he came up with the idea during a recent three-year stint teaching English in China.

"A major pillar of [English as a foreign language] pedagogy is adapting the target lesson content to learners using a variety of channels," he said in an email.

What this means is that users will be able to approach the content in several ways, from listening to audio to analyzing selected quotations to group learning, according to the Transcendentalism Interactive Kickstarter page.

Along with, of course, reading the books. Munro said that copyrights have lapsed on many older works, making it easy to include them.

"Most people notice when they pick up a kindle, or other ebook device, that many of the great classics are totally free to download - our thought was that we can add value to these works and make them more approachable by building a more engaging learning environment around the data," he said.

However, the project faces a difficult road to release. There are just three programmers besides Munro on the team -- he describes himself as a hobbyist coder -- and while the Kickstarter goal is a relatively modest $3,150, the team still has well over $2,000 to raise in the next 10 days.

"If we don't reach our Kickstarter goal, we'll have to do some major concept overhauls and release stripped-down versions of what we are working on now," said Munro. "It would be a big setback."

If Transcendentalism Interactive succeeds, however, the plan is to get it into schools as quickly as possible.

"Personally, I'd love to give it to high school students and schools for free or very low cost - as long as it was getting used. There are numerous pilot programs out there giving small cohorts of students tablet computers to test, we think oomapp Academic would be a great compliment," Munro said.

If the project comes together, look for it in the Google Play store (as well as in a browser app) in June. Munro said that a final price hasn't been decided, but that it should be less than $10.

Email Jon Gold at and follow him on Twitter at @NWWJonGold.

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