While this may be considered more of a travel app, I believe it also has a place in an educational setting. Like any app, it’s important to teach students when it’s appropriate to use an app such as this.
Here are the key features as listed in the built-in User’s Guide.
- Translate text between 57 languages
- Translate by voice by speaking the text instead of typing it
- Listen to your translations
- Display translations in full screen mode to make it easier for others to read
- Star your favorite translations for quick access even when you’re offline
- Access your translation history even when you’re offline
- Spell out the translation of non-Latin script languages in Latin characters to read it phonetically
- Supplemental bilingual dictionary results for single words or short phrases
This app was designed with only one objective in mind – to provide practice for a young student who is learning how to count. A question appears on the bright and colorful screen, “How many animals do you see?”. Three stars float along the bottom of the screen with answer choices. After counting the animals, the student will select the star with the correct answer. Feedback is given once an answer is chosen; however, the student does not have the opportunity to redo a question if an incorrect answer is given. There isn’t a time limit during which to choose an answer. If the student taps on each animal, s/he will see and hear the app counting each sequentially for them.
The Settings menu provides a few choices for customization. However, none of the choices drastically impacts the activity. You can turn on/off the Background Music, Sound Effects, and Voice Guidance. You can also start from the beginning (Level 1) or at the level completed each time the app is opened. It also has an ‘Advanced’ option where questions are more challenging. However, I did not see a difference in the difficulty of questions when this option was turned on.
A prize – in the form of a virtual toy animal – is earned after each level is complete. (Each level has 10 questions.) In the Prizes section of the app, students are able to touch each earned toy animal and play with it by moving it across the screen. I don’t think the ability to ‘play’ with the toy animals is something that would interest students for too long.
In general, I’m not a fan of apps that only address one skill. At this price point, there are other apps that allow your student to practice counting and explore other mathematical tasks. A free version does exist; check that out first to see if this app would make a good fit for your student.
This is a very simple matching/puzzle app for young learners. After choosing one of eight categories (see list below), students listen as the app says an object – like “circle” – then drag the correct puzzle piece to the top in order to make a match. Incorrect responses are met with a ‘ding’, then bounce back down to join the other remaining pieces. Correct responses are given verbal feedback. The pieces are large enough for small fingers to be able to tap with ease.
Categories: Alphabets, Fruits, Vehicles, Shapes, Numbers, Vegetables, Animals, and Colors
Unfortunately there is not an option to turn ‘off’ the audio portion of the app. Doing so would make the app more challenging for those that are ready. Of course you could always just mute the sound of your mobile device.
The option does exist for you to record your own voice for each of the objects. This seems very time consuming and unnecessary, but make a note that the option is there. The settings tab also allows you to activate a ‘Learning Mode’, randomize the puzzle sequence, and reset the saved scores and earned stars.
A free ‘Lite’ version exists; use it to preview the app to see if it would make a good fit for your learner.
This math app allows students to practice basic facts in all four operations – addition, subtraction, multiplication, and division. Three modes are available: Review, Practice (timed problems), and Test (timed problems). For each mode, the user can choose a single operation, a combination of addition and subtraction, a combination of multiplication and division, or ‘mixed’ (all four operations).
This app would make an excellent addition to mobile devices in a traditional education setting because data can be stored for up to 50 students! I’m impressed with the amount of information produced and reports created for each registered student. This feature alone is well worth the cost of the app. However, try out the free ‘Lite’ version to preview it.
I also strongly recommend this app because of the opportunities for customization found under ‘Settings’:
- Problem Counts - Allows you to set the amount of problems presented in each of the three modes. The app is defaulted to have 10 problems in the Review and Practice modes and 100 in the Test mode.
- Answers – Choose what answer type students should select. Options are Numbers (Given 5 + 4, have to input 9), Operators (Given 5 4 = 9, have to input +), or Comparators (Given 5 + 4 9, have to input =).
- Appearance – Customize the Theme, Arrangement (of equations), Keypad, and Colors.
- Reviews and assistants – Adjust how much assistance is given to students as they are working within the various modes
- Sounds – Adjust settings for the Keypad, Congratulations (feedback), Pit stop (pauses), Traffic light, Mistakes, and Alerts
This app is packed with features that make it an excellent choice for use when practice of basic facts is appropriate!
While it may be a stretch to classify this as a geometry app, I do think it’s earned a place in an educational setting. The objective is deceivingly simple - fit the provided shapes of blocks into the master shape. But even I found this app quite challenging! I kept wanting to turn each piece to make it fit. Luckily, however, that option does not exist.
It’s hard to customize a puzzle app too much. But the developers do allow you to select a theme, choosing from: Winter, Old paper, Red leather, Valentine’s Day, Nature, Sci-fi, Notebook, or Chalkboard. The music varies with the themes, but can also be muted.
Although this app is quite challenging, there is the option to receive hints. One hint is earned each time you complete two levels. More complicated levels are unlocked as simpler ones are completed. Levels are sorted into ‘Packs’. The next Pack is unlocked when all levels in the previous Pack are completed.
Students who appreciate challenging (yet addictive) puzzle apps will find this app engaging and fun! You may want to try the free ‘Lite’ version before committing to the paid version.
This app is designed to help young students learn names and locations of parts of the human body.
- Parts of the Body: Head, arm, chest, leg, foot, ankle, knee, elbow, hand
- Parts of the Face: Hair, eye, cheek, chin, neck, mouth, nose, ear, forehead
- The Senses: Nose (smell), eye (sight), tongue (taste), fingers (touch), ears (hearing)
- The Skeleton: Skull, backbone, ribs, pelvis
- Inner Organs of the Body: Brain, heart, kidneys, liver, lungs, stomach
There are only two objectives for each of the five sections. First, students drag pictures of body parts on the right side of the screen onto a picture of a human body on the left part of the screen. The name of the body part is said aloud when it’s touched. The body part will bounce back to the right side of the screen if it’s placed in an incorrect location. Once all parts are properly placed, students have to then drag labels for each part from the right side of the screen to the picture of the body on the left side. Again, the app reads each label aloud and incorrect placements will bounce back.
The app has a built-in reports feature where you can view the total number of correct and incorrect attempts for both the objects and labels. It can easily be reset for a new user, but it’s not possible to save the data for retrieval after a reset has been done.
Other than muting the iPad’s sound entirely, there isn’t a way to prevent the app from reading aloud the body parts. The voice sounds like a computerized older British woman; I wish a voice that was more appealing to younger learners was used.
Despite it’s title – Naming Parts of the Body – I want more from this app, especially at this price point. I think there should be the ability to tap on each part and bring up more written information (similar to an encyclopedia entry) or even short video clips (of a real beating heart, for example).
There are a plethora of word/vocabulary apps out there. This is one of the better ones for two reasons. One, it has a very simple (yet attractive) user interface. There aren’t any constraints such as grids or spaces. Two, it’s appropriate for users of many ability levels. All words earn points; of course longer words and more complex words earn a higher number of points.
You can choose from 3 game modes: Classic, Daily Words, and Word Jam.
Classic – The app’s description, “The one and only original set of puzzles. Battle your way through 60 random levels as they increase in difficulty.” In this mode, you can also select a theme of puzzles (such as Food and Jobs). Additional theme puzzles can be obtained via in-app purchases.
Daily Words – The app’s description, “Compete with players around the world, each day you are given a new set of letters to test your skills.”
Word Jam – The app’s description, “Obtain the required number of points without running out of time to advance to the next round.”
After selecting a game mode, it’s quite simple to begin making words and earning points. The user interface resembles a white slate with letters that resemble refrigerator magnets. Just slide the letters together to make words and watch your points rack up.
This is a very basic spelling app. The full/paid version (obtained via in-app purchase/upgrade) contains over 300 words for young students to spell; it’s not clear how many words are included in the free version. Also note that the free version includes an advertisement that runs across the top of the screen. Nine word categories are included: Animals, Instruments, Colors, Feelings, Objects Around Us, Fruits & Vegetables, Numbers, Shapes, and All.
After selecting a category, a picture of an object appears. The app then states the object’s name and displays the correct spelling. The letters immediately then scramble and fall to the bottom of the screen. The user then has to drag the letters back into their correct positions. A ‘magic wand’ appears in the top right of the screen to assist when students run into trouble coming up with the next letter in the word.
You’ll find numerous ways to customize this app under Settings. You can turn on or off the following:
- Background Music
- Sound Effects
- Voice Over
- Random Words Order
- Capital Letters
- Show Letter Hints
- Spell Completed Words
- Show Magic Wand
- Sort Words by Length
Unfortunately, an option does not exist to prevent the app from initially spelling the word for the student. Although it’s only shown briefly, it’s possible for students to just recall how to spell the word and then quickly drag the letters back into place. For this reason, I encourage you to select another spelling app for the wee one in your life.
Perhaps this app has more educational uses than I’ve discovered so far. But for now, I see it being more for entertainment purposes than for anything else.
The concept is pretty simple. Take a picture in the app. The use the eraser tool to literally erase part of the picture. Then take another picture to occupy the space you just erased. That process can continue until you’ve created your very own ‘photo mash’.
It also comes with a series of 40+ ‘Challenges’ of photo mashes to make.
Here are the directions for a Challenge called ‘Touchy Feely’:
- Take a picture of your hand reaching out with the finger stretched out, or use the provided template.
- Erase everything but the hand.
- Walk around and take a picture of something you shouldn’t touch.
Try the free version before making a commitment to the paid version.