Merriam-Webster has launched Puku, a fun and motivating vocabulary-building app for kids. The app features Puku, a virtual pet that grows and evolves as players master new words, in an engaging display that rewards progress. Designed for children ages 8–12, the app’s unique format offers ongoing, leveled vocabulary play and gives users the ability to quickly create and share their own word lists, populated with Merriam-Webster definitions.
Every player has a personalized learning experience guided by adaptive learning technology. The app responds directly to the user’s performance, ensuring that learning is efficient and motivating: kids spend their time on new and challenging vocabulary and get immediate corrective feedback when a word’s meaning eludes them.
“We wanted to create a tool for kids who have outgrown entry-level vocabulary apps, and also for parents who are frustrated with the limited resources available to help their older children study words they are learning in school. Puku is delightful to play and empowers users to easily create and share custom word lists, with age-appropriate definitions, to align with classwork,” explains Lisa Schneider, chief digital officer and publisher for Merriam-Webster.
Puku’s virtual pet grows as players master new words and evolves at milestone accomplishments, rewarding kids for their progress and keeping them engaged and motivated to learn. There are three ways to play Puku: ongoing, leveled vocabulary lists; custom categories, such as words about food or mythology; or users can create and share their own lists to match areas of interest or curriculum. Teachers can also take advantage of Puku to quickly create and share word lists with their students, all automatically populated with Merriam-Webster definitions.
“Games are one of the ways that technology, used effectively, can help enhance learning inside and outside classrooms,” said Karthik Krishnan, global CEO of the Britannica Group.
Puku is available for iOS users now. https://apps.apple.com/us/app/puku-learn-new-words/id1460784777?ls=1
he Puku app was developed in partnership with PRELOADED, a BAFTA-winning games studio. The Android version of Puku will be available shortly.