Q: Will Ballyland work on any type of keyboard?
A: Ballyland was designed for use with the normal keys of a standard English language QWERTY keyboard. That ensures that the child can safely press Any Key in the Entry level, with only sound effects, stories and songs as a result.
Extra and alternative keys or control buttons, as well as other keyboard types and different language versions, may respond differently: produce different sounds, produce no sound at all, or execute an action. Sonokids strongly advises users of other keyboards than the standard English language QWERTY keyboard to check the keys' responses before the child starts to play.
Q: Why do the sounds of the keys not correlate with the first letter of a word, for example the train sound for the letter ‘t’? They seem quite random.
A: The sounds are not random at all, but structured in a different, non-alphabetical way.
Instead of focusing on literacy and/or numeracy, the unique character of the program results in a sound framework based on the fact that some keys have a certain connection to others. Keys with the same sound, have the same formal function (which can be taught later). Groups of keys correspond to categories of sounds. All the letter-keys have in common that they produce a sound from in and around the house. Find those keys, and you have identified the group of keys, that will later be introduced as the letters of the alphabet. Find all the keys that play a song or a story and you have identified the keys that are the numbers. The child is not expected to understand the formal function of these keys yet. But a teacher can build on this experience.
This concept was chosen to best support ‘mapping’ of the keyboard by young children who are blind.
Please refer to the General instructions for tips on how to use the keys and sounds to support the development of a range of skills in all children, including literacy and numeracy skills.