Artistic literacy app praised for 'feel good' factor

Roland Zoss

App developer and composer, Roland Zoss, is a dedicated voice in the heart of Europe and represents the diversity of cultures. He sings his songs under the world music label Putumayo. His best-known children's albums are: ABC Dino Xenegugeli, Muku-Tiki-Mu, Slumberland. Some of the characters in his apps and songs became cultural figures.


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If you want to use music, sound effects and visual adventures to help young pupils learn their letters, then you need to know about globetrotting Swiss musician / novelist Roland Zoss and his app ABC Dino - a resource which has already seen huge popularity in continental Europe. 

In 1999, Roland released the song and picture album ABC Dino Xenegugeli to acclaim from the Swiss education sector, with the resource becoming used as standard in many Swiss preschools and elementary schools. In the 21 years since, the artistic sensation has become an consistently-evolving app - created with the input of a whopping 50 artists - helping teachers to engage thousands of pupils with their language learning in Swiss dialects, German, Spanish, French, and now English. 

With ABC Dino, pupils aged 2 and up are tasked with accurately writing letters and words on their Apple or Android device. Upon successful completion, the learner is rewarded with a new, animated animal friend along with an accompanying song.

"A wonderful app for learning the letters and how to write them," recommends Primary teacher Urs Zuberbühler in one of ABC Dino's many glowing EdTech Impact reviews"Musically accompanied by wonderful songs, children and adults alike immerse themselves in the world of the alphabet. Since the app is available in different languages, it is also ideal for foreign language lessons."

Ireland-based teacher Catherine Rhatigan, meanwhile, says that ABC Dino is "upbeat, very student friendly... enjoyment of the programme leads to a feelgood factor and a willingness to return for more learning."

The app boasts 44 animals (drawn by artist Holger Schöpflin) and songs thus far, each one around 20 seconds long. What's more, ABC Dino does not include any kind of hidden costs, and no data is being sent or collected - ideal for pupils who might be learning at home with their parents. 

Roland excitedly explains the innovate process thus:

"At the start, the app displays the X-animal on the screen and music can be heard. A simple swiping motion lets the first image appear and A, the first letter of the alphabet.

"The animals, which are presented to coincide with the letters, change. A total of 44 animals are called into action.

"The app presents a letter to coincide with the animal image. It pronounces the animal's name, and repeats the initial sound in classical and phonetical fashion.

"When the children tap on the image twice it turns and displays the matching uppercase and lowercase letter. After that it is all about the correct way to actually write the letter. Numbered arrows show how it is done. If the children successfully trace the letter with their finger, or better yet with a stylus, the letter turns green.

"When the card turns around again the child is presented with a reward. The animal becomes animated, and is accompanied by its natural sound and a song clip. A complete set of music regarding the animals may be downloaded as an album."

"Kids love the app. They want to see the animals in action again and again. By doing so, they learn the upper and lower case letters in no time at all. The complete journey through the alphabet takes approximately 40 minutes."

So if you're teaching pupils their letters, ABC Dino is a must-try. You can check out their homepage at, read user reviews at, and get in touch with the ABC Dino team via to discuss further.

 Looking for more resources to support your teaching and learning? Check out the best education technology resources on our sister platform EdTech Impact.

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