Category Archives: iPod Touch & iPhone
This app falls into the ‘Brain Training’ category that’s quickly emerging. It’s quite simple, yet surprisingly addictive. The only objective is to tap the numbers on the screen in ascending order as quickly as possible.
Blitz = Tap through numbers until the time runs out
Zen = Tap all of the numbers as fast as you can
The app keeps track of personal statistics. It also has the option to connect to Facebook and Twitter.
Catch this app if you can find it when it’s free.
Each topic – or chapter – consists of a brief lesson, followed by four mini quizzes and a chapter quiz. There’s also a final quiz that covers all of the chapters. The app recommends that the user score a 75% or higher on each mini quiz before proceeding to the chapter quiz. But it is possible to move on without obtaining a certain score. It is also possible to complete the chapters out of order. Each quiz consists of a series of sentences with a word missing; the user has to choose the correct word from three choices. On the mini quizzes, options are present to skip the question or to receive a hint. All quizzes have the option of accessing the study lesson.
- Count, Non-Count Nouns
- Possessive Adjectives
- Question Tags
- Reported Speech
The settings tab allows you to turn sound effects on or off, reset the progress meter, and adjust the amount of time the user has to answer each quiz question. The developer – Golden Academy – has also created over ten more grammar and writing related apps.
The free version offers just the following two activities:
Word Machine – The machine verbally announces a sight word. Choices appear and the child has to tap the correct one. Points are earned for each correct answer. More points are earned if students select the correct sight word on the first attempt. Words increase in difficulty as students work through the levels. With each new level, more answer choices appear. The machine repeats each round’s word every few seconds.
Gears – Tap a spot on the screen to hear a sight word. Then students need to drag the written sight word (and its gear) to that spot. Correct answers will make the gear spin.
The paid version opens up all of the grade levels (Pre-K to 3rd) and all of the activities. The others are: BINGO, Memory Games, Spelling, and Flash Cards.
Download the free version to see if it fits the needs of your child, then upgrade to the paid version.
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.