Category Archives: iPad
This app pulls photographs from the device’s library (Camera Roll on an Apple device) and places a soft filter over them. The filter mimics the one used in the iconic Hope poster from President Obama’s 2008 campaign. Photographs can be moved, scaled, and rotated. After importing a photograph, students can choose from one of 9 filters (each black with one additional color). They can then add a word or short message that appears at the bottom of the poster. Most students can create attractive posters in Easy mode. But there is also an Expert mode that allows for adjustments in three tonal regions – shadows, midtones, and highlights. Completed posters can be saved to the device’s library and shared via email, Facebook, and Twitter (as poster or avatar).
Here are summarizations of the instructions for each mode.
Sentence Building – The purpose is “To lay the foundations and to strengthen the ability to read sentences.” It demonstrates how we pair verbal words with written words to form sentences that can be read or said aloud. As each new sentence (and accompanying picture) appears on screen, the mobile device reads it aloud. Then the child needs to drag the words in the proper order. When done correctly, the tiles will join together and play a brief musical number.
Sentence Reading – The purpose is “To give lots of practice reading short, simple sentences and to prepare children to read books.” To eliminate the reliance on visual clues, the picture does not appear. The words also appear in the correct order. Therefore, the objective is for students to read the sentences orally and then tap the blank picture box to hear each sentence read aloud and watch as the accompanying picture appears.
This review is for the free version. It comes with just two categories in Sentence Reading (15 two-word sentences and 25 three-word sentences).
The Deluxe version comes with four categories in Sentence Reading (72 two-word sentences, 84 three-word sentences, 84 four-word sentences, and 84 five and six-word sentences). It also comes with several sound and font options that are not available in the free version.
As always, I encourage you to try the free version before committing to the Deluxe version.
This app has an interesting concept behind it, but overall – it fails to fully deliver. From the ‘About’ section of the app: “Ottercall helps you practice your pronunciation and learn to speak a new language. We use speech recognition to help judge your pronunciation and give useful feedback.”
Unfortunately, the speech recognition component of the app is in need of improvement. It often gives negative feedback when words are actually correctly pronounced.
To begin, the user selects from the list of lessons. They also choose for the language to be English or Spanish. Then they tap the picture to listen as the device reads the word aloud. This feature is the best in the app! Although the voice sounds very ‘computer like’, it is still beneficial to have the app read each vocabulary word aloud. But I do not recommend using the speech recognition component of the app until the developers greatly improve that feature.
Locked Lessons (Unlocked via an in-app purchase)
- Fast food
Ludo is sometimes called ‘pachisi’. The basic premise is to move all four of your game pieces around the square board without getting ‘caught’ by other players’ pieces. You’re also trying to capture your opponents’ pieces.
Up to four players can play at once. You can play ‘the computer’ or play with friends via a local wifi + Bluetooth network or Apple’s Game Center. You also have the option of playing with one or two dice. I find this game to be very addicting. To emphasize its educational value – encourage students to focus on strategy rather than just moving pieces randomly.
Official In-App Rules
- The goal is to walk around the board with the pawns and arrive at the center with all 4 pawns.
- Roll a 1 or a 6 to put a pawn into play. Rolling a 6 gives the right to roll again.
- If a pawn lands on a place already occupied by another player’s pawn, that pawn will return to its starting position. Again, it can only be put into play by rolling a 1 or a 6.
Shape Matching – The objective is to drag the colored object from the bottom of the screen to its card that contains the word and a black-and-white image of the same object. The name of the object is stated each time you tap it in order to drag it to its correct spot. Although the name of this activity is “Shape Matching” and traditional shapes (star, hexagon, triangle, circle) are shown above the title for it, students are actually matching objects, not shapes. Sample objects include a fence, letter, and bicycle.
Letter Matching – Students need to drag the missing letter from the bottom of the screen to its card that contains the rest of the letters and a color image of the object. Unfortunately, when each letter is tapped the app says the name of the object it’s supposed to be dragged to, instead of stating the letter or the sound the letter makes.
Word Matching – This activity requires students to drag the word to its card that contains dashes to represent letters and a colored image of the object. Like in ‘Letter Matching’ each word is read when it is tapped. From there, students have to simply drag it to the card that contains the picture of the stated object.
Verbal feedback (such as, “Great”) is given in all 3 activities for correct answers.
‘Smudge Mark’ is the name of the reports section where you can access the total number of correct and incorrect responses. The data can easily be cleared. Note that it only stores information for one user.
At this price point, I expect this app to do much more. Specifically, I wish it had the ability to make the 3 activities more challenging. For example, it would be beneficial if the black-and-white images of the objects in ‘Shapes Matching’ could be removed. Then students would be required to match the picture of a cup with the word that says “cup”, rather than simply matching the colored cup to its black-and-white version. Sure you can mute the mobile device in order to make the app more challenging, but these types of options should also be built into the Settings menu.
Currently the only two options in Settings is ‘Use only CVC words’ and ‘Use Open Dyslexic font’. I am not familiar with Open Dyslexic font, but I didn’t notice a discernible difference after enabling it.
A lite (free) version of the app is also available.
This app strengthens students visual-spatial skills. It’s more like a puzzle than a game. The concept is deceptively simple – connect pairs of numbers (by creating a path) without leaving any empty spaces on the game board and without crossing over an existing path. The board starts out with 5 rows of 5 and gradually increases in complexity to a 16 x 16 board.
It connects to Apple’s Game Center, but you do not have to choose this option to play. There is a free version, but of course it comes with ads. In-app purchases provide more hints and open up new levels.
‘Hands-On Equations’ is actually an off-line program that simplifies the process of learning and mastering algebraic concepts. It is both visual and kinesthetic in nature.
The iPad version presents six lessons. Each consists of a video introduction followed by two practice problems and ten exercises. The practice problems and exercises remain locked until students complete each preceding one. Feedback (correct/incorrect) is given after each problem. Students are required to redo incorrect problems.
Although I do not have experience with the off-line program, I am impressed with the iPad version. Use it to introduce algebra to mid-elementary students or to practice algebra with older students.
You can also try the free Lite version before committing to the full version. It allows students full access to the first 3 lessons!
Editing and enhancing photographs taken on or imported onto an iPad is quite simple with this app! After selecting a photograph from the Camera Roll, basic tools appear across the top of the screen and more complex functions and tools (the app refers to this section as the ‘Filter Menu’) appear down the side.
Basic Tools and Menus – Undo, Redo, Reset, Select Area, Save to Clipboard, Properties, Save, Upload (to email, Twitter, Picasa, or Facebook), Settings, Help
Filter Menu Categories
- RGB (red, green, blue) balance
- Contrast Brightness
- Tint Blue
- Tint Red
- Tint Green
- Color Splash
- Oil Paint
- Gray scale
- Night Vision
- Thinking of You
- Easter Eggs
- Rotate Left
- Rotate Right
- Mirror Vertically
- Mirror Horizontally
- Text (With the ability to change the back color, font color, and font style.)
- Cinema Vertically
- Cinema Horizontally
Preview the app by downloading the free ‘lite’ version first! It includes the options in bold above. It does not come with the ability to add text. Also, ads run across the bottom.
A Christmas edition also exists!