Ken Healy, Product Developer at Cubiq, with a sample learning kit from Cubiq

All over the world, parents worry about their children’s development and time spent in front of screens. Cubiq provides expert-vetted physical learning toys to bring the power of physical learning into the digital age. We asked Ken Healy, Product Developer at Cubiq and an experienced Montessori teacher trainer, why physical learning is important for children.

Why is it important to start Cubiq?

Learning has been driven by two things. One — technology. Technology is running off thinking that it is the solution for learning. And the second thing is our national state school systems, which think they’re delivering learning, even though being about 200 years out of date. The current methods for delivering education to children of all ages are either outdated or not fully adequate — as in the case of technology.

Modern neuroscience shows us that humans learn best when they use their hands. This is nothing new. Hands-on-learning has been around for over 100 years. And Cubiq is going to deliver on that — hands-on-learning. That is why is it important to start Cubiq

How will Cubiq change the world?

Cubiq is going to take care of the child’s basic needs, and one of those basic needs is learning. When the human brain is born, it is programmed to learn. It’s how we survive: by understanding our environment, by adapting to that environment, and by thriving in that environment bigger and stronger than any other life form. So Cubiq is going to deliver on one of these basic needs.

Unlike pretty much every other startup in the world, Cubiq is not focusing on technology. We’re focusing on developing child’s brain by delivering the tools that humans need to learn best. And we are going to deliver this system to the masses, to everybody. We will bring it into people’s homes, kindergartens, schools. So many parents don’t know what’s going on with their children in schools. They don’t see the results in their children. Cubiq will solve this problem — by delivering the learning tool directly to parents, children and pedagogues.

What would happen if Cubiq is not launched?

This would be a setback for learning for humanity. What we’re struggling with right now is how we come to terms with what is good about technology, but we haven’t really understood what is bad about it. Technology has an impact on the development of children and adults. There has been a 50% drop in the levels of empathy in young adults under 25 and young children. We’re not able to do empathize with other human beings. And I think learning is a huge part of that collective learning — learning together, learning using our hands and developing the brain in a way that it wants to be developed, rather than forcing technology on it just because it makes a few companies a hell of a lot of money.

If Cubiq doesn’t get launched now, me and my wife are going to go do it anyway.

What is special about Cubiq?

We are approaching learning from the opposite direction. We are not approaching it from the side tech companies are doing it. We’re not even approaching it from the direction that schooling systems are approaching it. We’re going direct to the individual learner and build it from there. We give them the tools and help them learn and collaborate with others.

We also give pedagogues access to tools and kits. They don’t have to reinvent their entire school system. They can evolve and develop one step at a time. That is what we are going to do, and that is why we’re different from pretty much everything else out there.

I think that delivering by setting up one school, two schools or even 50 schools is not going to have a big enough impact. I think reaching out to and engaging with individuals will have a much wider and deeper impact on learning.

To summarize: we bring learning into everyday life, and we’re making it fun. We’re going to make it simple, so that learning doesn’t have to be something that you go to school, university or courses to do. Learning is something that we do just by existing. And we want to build on that. So that as kids get older, they will look on schools and universities a learning resource, and not the only place where they learn.

What are you going to do next semester?

We are going to start building our database of products and start opening up channels of work with consultants around the globe. These are the people who will build the product we will deliver to our customers. We’re going to build that network of professionals. We will give them a platform to get their expertise delivered to children through our activities packs and learning journeys.

What is your background?

I’m an accountant. I’ve worked in finance for the first part of my career. I’ve worked in electronics, American multinationals, oil sector, I.T. support and I.T. development. Then I moved into education, specifically Montessori education. We have a family business, established in Oslo twenty seven years ago. I was the first Montessori teacher trainer in Norway. I have been exposed to Montessori all my life. My mother was the person who established a teacher-training college in Oslo. We’ve been deep in understanding hands-on-learning for many years.

Cubiq is going to take the best of Montessori education and deliver it to individuals in their homes and to individual teachers in other educational establishments. So that people don’t have to become Montessori experts to get the benefits of this kind of learning.

My wife is a Montessori pedagogue. I’ve seen her using the Montessori methods with our daughter, and it seemed really simple. It is simple as long as you’ve got the experts who know the complexity and the details of human brain development to deliver it simply. That’s what Cubiq will do.

The past couple of years I’ve been focusing on building startups. I’ve built a startup for Montessori teachers — it is a teacher planning and recording tool. We launched this in Norway two years ago and now our software is used and over 50 percent of the Montessori schools in Norway. Working in startups, I know how they work. I have a lot of experience with how they don’t work. I have a lot of experience in good ideas never making it to the market. With Moonwalk, you have access to so many different quality people, and it makes this process much more realistic.

Why are you passionate about this project?

From my own experience of education, I can say that it wasn’t good. The entire system was always about everybody, but children. I see my other kids going through a similar system that I went through. And nothing has changed in those 30 years. Nothing has changed in 200 years.

I see schools trying to change, trying to adopt. But I think the whole premise of the school being the center of learning is what is the barrier. And they’re not able to break through that barrier because if they do they’re all out of jobs. It breaks my heart that we waste so much of our of the potential of our young children. We want to change that. We want to give kids the potential from day one.



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