Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Lots of Updates

It has been quite a while since I last published a blog post so I have a lot of updates for MrNussbaum.com users:

1.) COPPA

On July 1st, the FTC enacted its new COPPA legislation, which mandates child-directed sites such as MrNussbaum.com become compliant with its new initiatives. Among the new rules that affect MrNussbaum.com are those that place restrictions on child accounts. While children never need to log-in to use any MrNussbaum.com activities on the site itself, one of my recent additions, Nussbaum's Neurons did require children to create an account with non-personal information and a parent e-mail address so that points could be accumulated and rewards redeemed. I have disabled this program until the system can be amended to require parental permissions for children to create accounts. Previously, the system only required children to enter a username, password and parent-email (first and last name, address, and age were not required). Under the new COPPA rules, however, the legality of children submitting any username and password becomes very murky, especially because children are more likely than adults to recycle usernames and passwords over many sites. Hence, from the FTC perspective, such information may still be classified as "persistent identifiers." MrNussbaum.com has no interest whatsoever in the personal information of any of its users, however, in the spirit of making the internet a safer place for children, the program has been disabled until the appropriate steps can be completed to make it 100% compliant.

In addition, advertisements served on MrNussbaum.com are now ONLY contextual in nature and do not track users for the purpose of serving ads more relevant to them.

2.) SITE CHANGES

You may have noticed that MrNussbaum.com has recently removed the sub-menus that once appeared on the site when a user scrolled over the subject links in the navigation menu. These have been replaced with icons and grade-level navigation. Some users reported that the sub-menus interfered with their students or children using the content of the site as once they activated they could be difficult for young users to deactivate. Furthermore, I found that the user of icons or pictures in the navigation menu make it easier for young users to navigate the site and make it more likely that they will explore the site. The use of text links in a navigation menu requires users to have (in some cases) advanced reading skills and was a poor choice for a site that attracts users as young as 4 or 5 years old.

I have also (and finally) added substantial grade level navigation to the site. In this way, students and teachers can access content pinpointed to their age or grade level. I had resisted this kind of navigation in the past because I wanted users to explore the site without feeling like they were limited to the content recommended for their grade level. That being said, it has become clear that time-strapped teachers appreciate when content is organized in this manner and due to the sheer size of the site, such navigation serves to make the site less overwhelming to younger users as well.

3.) HIRING TEACHERS

At the beginning of the summer, I had hired teachers to create lesson plans and biographies for the site. While this program is discontinued as of today (I received nearly 100 lesson plans), if you are still interested in submitting please contact me directly. Parameters for submissions are available at:

http://mrnussbaumcom.blogspot.com/2013/03/mrnussbaumcom-hiring-teachers.html

4.) CONTENT

During the summer so far I have added several new games including Tae Kwon Donuts and the Greatest American Zero among others. I have also added new html 5 versions of many of my games which enable users to play them directly from iPad browsers without having to download apps. Of course, they are all free.

5.) FINALLY

Some of you may already know that I was hired by Techno Source to create the educational learning system for their best-selling kids tablet, Kurio 7. The improved system consists of 31 learning and game apps for kids ages 3-12.  The newest Kurio, which will feature this educational system, is now available for pre-order on toysrus.com and will be available at most major retailers in September.

Learn more: http://www.toysrus.com/family/index.jsp?categoryId=22733086

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