“A sailboat!” yelped Alex with glee as he uncovered his eyes and gazed upon a shiny dinghy sailboat sitting proud on a trailer in the garage.
Alex’s dad was happily standing next to him with his arm over his shoulder. “Happy Birthday, Son,” he said, “he’s all yours now.”
That’s the opening two paragraphs in NauticEd’s new educational and interactive sailing book called Alex Learns to Sail. The world’s first of its type ebook has been written especially for kids and is the latest invention of Grant Headifen, NauticEd’s Educational Director. “It’s an invention because no where have a I found such a book. It’s an educational, entertaining and interactive approach to teaching kids to sail” says Headifen.
Readers are introduced in a step by step manner to the concepts of dinghy sailing using a fun fictional storyline and by utilizing progressive micro interactive applications through out the ebook. At the end of the book Alex, the main character, races in a club regatta with an edge of the seat finish. Readers can then electronically build and paint their own dinghy then race the same regatta course in a game that incorporates all the skills they have learned through out the ebook.
The micro applications teach the reader the how to assemble a dinghy, how to steer a dinghy with a tiller, adjust the mainsail for optimum speed, understand the telltales and to feel the heel of the boat. The dinghy sailing game at the end then allows the reader to compile all their new found skills learned in the ebook.
Headifen developed all the mathematics for the game using his knowledge of sailing and his engineering background. He then outsourced the flash programming but first, he says, he had to teach the programmer to sail via Skype chat. Probably a first as well he says.
Headifen came up with the idea while watching kids sailing on Waiake Beach in New Zealand earlier this year. “I had been approached many times to develop an online kids dinghy sailing course similar to the NauticEd big boat courses. I just didn’t think a factual online course could hold a kids attention for long enough and so the idea of an exciting fiction story developed. It’s got a really cool twist in the ebook that kids are going to love and the interactive elements will keep them captivated”.
NauticEd is expecting that kids sailing programs worldwide will pick up on the ebook due to it’s educational value. Instructors will be able to ask the kids to complete the ebook in their own time and show up with the certificate of completion before the first practical teaching session starts or they can use the ebook for rain out days.
Those wanting to post a message on their notice board at their yacht club etc regarding the dinghy sailing lessons can download this PDF file.
NauticEd’s Kids Sailing ebook has been released at http://www.alexlearnstosail.com