Category Archives: Learning Apps

iTooch Elementary School

Screen Shot 2013-01-27 at 5.15.21 PMiTooch is not only the name of this series of apps, it’s also the name of the accompanying character. Once choosing a grade/age level and subject, students can choose which chapter (or skill) they’d like to work on.  They’ll then choose the mode – practice (not timed) or test (timed).  They can touch the iTooch character at any time for assistance.

The developers have included variety in the types of questions found in both modes; some are multiple-choice, others ask students to touch the correct answer within the question.  As students accurately answer a certain number of questions (thus accumulating a certain number of points), they move up to higher levels that have more difficult questions.  At any time – no matter the subject – students can touch the pencil at the bottom of the screen to bring up a chalkboard to work on.  A click on the settings wheel allows the user to change the grading system (number correct divided by the number of questions or a letter grade).  The ‘User Feedback’ option can also be turned on or off.

While the actual app is free, most of the content will need to be purchased in-app.  I say “most” because a handful of chapters are ‘unlocked’ when the app is initially obtained.  However, stand alone apps are also available for some grade levels.  These contain all of the subjects available for those particular grade levels and are less expensive than purchasing the subjects individually.

I appreciate the effort the developers of this app – eduPad – took to include detailed instructions for use.  Students can touch several places to bring up tips and tricks.  It’s also quite clear that they are committed to receiving and responding to feedback from users.  This is the first time I’ve seen an in-app way to send the developers an email.

I have mixed reviews about this app.  It’s clear that it provides students with access to many, many questions for each subject.  I also appreciate how there are chapters (or sub-topics) for each subject.  But, all of the in-app purchase options can be confusing and a little misleading.  (I assume the developers offered the app this way so that you can customize the options you need for your child/student.)  Also, in order to track progress for more than one user, you must log in to Apple’s Game Center.  That’s certainly not an option most teachers want to use.

Subjects and Grade/Age Levels Covered

– Grade 3 (ages 8 – 9): Math, Language Arts, Science

– Grade 4 (ages 9 – 10): Math, Language Arts, Science

– Grade 5 (ages 10 – 11): Math, Language Arts, Science, and Health

Posted in 3rd - 5th, Free, iPad, iPod Touch & iPhone, Language Arts, Learning Apps, Math, Paid, Science | Comments Off on iTooch Elementary School

Spell Bot

Are you fresh out of creative ways to have your child practice his/her spelling words?  If so, this app is perfect for you!

A parent or teacher first types in the correct spelling of each word, then records the pronunciation (and an optional sentence in which the word is used) on the weekly list.

The child then taps a large, green button to begin ‘playing’ the app.  They’ll then tap another button to hear the word (and possible sentence).  Next, they’ll use the keyboard that pops up to type in their spelling of the word and hit another button when they are done.  Immediate feedback is given.  After they’ve spelled all the words that were put in, their final score is displayed.

This is one of my favorite types of apps.  Yes, it only serves one purpose.  But it does so extremely well!  Plus, the interface is appropriately simple.  Its lack of bells and whistles allows the user to concentrate on the task at hand.  It’s also quite easy for the both the parent/teacher and child to navigate through.

I do wish more than 10 words could be included.  Perhaps the developer will modify that feature.  But in the meantime, this app is definitely worth downloading if you have a child that is learning to be a better speller.

Posted in 1st - 2nd, 3rd - 5th, Free, iPad, iPod Touch & iPhone, Language Arts, Learning Apps | Comments Off on Spell Bot

Sight Words List

This is one of the best choices out there if you’re looking for an app that solely focuses on sight words on the Dolch list.

It has 6 sets of words to choose from.  You can add, edit, delete, and/or rename all six sets or even add additional sets.  Perhaps the most ‘snazzy’ feature is the fact that you can record your own voice for words that you add to the sets.

  • Preschool
  • Kindergarten
  • First grade
  • Second grade
  • Third grade
  • Nouns

It has several other options for customization as well.

  • Sound – Turn on or off the feature where the device reads the sight word aloud
  • Timing – Manual or as few as 0.7 second per slide to as much as 10 seconds per slide
  • Play Mode – The ‘Learn’ option presents a new word on either a click with audio, click without audio, or on swipe.  The ‘Game’ option requires listening then finding 1 of 2 – 6 words.
  • Looping – Choose between no looping, loop through a single category, or loop through all categories
  • Capitalization – Choose between ALL UPPERCASE, all lowercase, First Letter Capitalized, or as you entered the words during the customization options
  • Font – Choose between Helvetica, Arial Rounded MT Bold, Bradley Hand, Chalkboard SE, or Times New Roman
  • Font Size – Choose between small, normal, large, extra large, and super size
  • Font Color – Choose between black, blue, brown, dark green, orange, purple, and red
  • Order – Choose between random, A – Z, or 1, 2, 3, etc.
Posted in 1st - 2nd, 3rd - 5th, Free, iPad, iPod Touch & iPhone, Language Arts, Learning Apps, PreK - Kindergarten | Comments Off on Sight Words List

Word Boom

As you may know, there are many educational word game apps out there.  This is one that many of your students (and even many of you) will find challenging.

To begin, you’ll ‘spin’ a box that randomly selects a power.  Possible powers are: Hint, Next Level, Gun Target and Double and Triple Points.  Once clicking ‘Start’, the timer begins to count down from 1:45.  Seven letters are housed at the bottom of the screen.  You will need them to first create two 3-letter words, then two 4-letter words, two 5-letter words, two 6-letter words, and finally a 7-letter word – all before time runs out.  You can use powers to extend the time or earn more points for words made.  The app will not let an incorrect word onto the game board.    As you’re playing, the score and ‘Letters Left’ is shown at the top of the screen.

Once again, I stress that this is a very challenging app due to the time factor.  I wouldn’t recommend this for use with students who have a negative reaction to apps/games/activities they aren’t able to easily conquer.

Posted in 3rd - 5th, 6th - 8th, 9th - 12th, Free, iPad, iPod Touch & iPhone, Language Arts, Learning Apps | Comments Off on Word Boom

Greater Than Free

This is one of the simplest (design wise) apps I’ve seen.  It covers just one skill – deciding which one-digit number is greater than another.  That’s it.  It contains just one question, “Which is greater?” and shows the user two numbers.  Once the greater number is tapped, a feedback screen appears and says “Correct!”, along with the number sentence (for example, 8 > 5).  A prompt to “Try again!” appears when an incorrect number is tapped.  Each game consists of 7 rounds, but there’s no reward or advancing of levels at the end of each game. 

There is an option to purchase the ability to unlock the ‘Less Than’ game that’s apparently embedded in this app.  Or you can initially buy the paid version of this app to receive both games.

Posted in 1st - 2nd, Free, iPad, iPod Touch & iPhone, Learning Apps, Math, PreK - Kindergarten | Comments Off on Greater Than Free

Marine Life

This informational and visually appealing app would make a good addition to classrooms whose science standards cover marine life.  For each featured animal, students can read (or listen to) an introductory paragraph and learn about its geographical presence and diet.  An animated picture of each animal is also present on the screen.  Make a note that the information is presented in English and Chinese.

Featured animals:

  • * Green mandarin
  • * Ocean sunfish
  • * Hammerhead shark
  • * American lobster
  • * Jellyfish
  • * King crab
  • * Emperor penguin
  • * White butterfly fish
  • * Strawberry hermit crab
  • * Great white shark
  • * Horseshoe crab
  • * Sea turtle
  • * Flounder
  • * Ocellaris clownfish
  • * Octopus
  • * Sea hare
  • * Ocean sunfish
  • * Grimpoteuthis umbellata
  • * Porcupine fish
  • * Angler fish
  • * Dolphin
  • * Sail fish
  • * Sea horse
  • Leafy seadragons
  • Saw shark
  • Flying fish
  • Lion fish
  • Thornback cowfish
  • Ammonite
  • Ray
  • Orca
  • Antennarius Pictus

The animals without an asterisk (*) above can only be obtained via in-app purchases.

Posted in 1st - 2nd, 3rd - 5th, 6th - 8th, iPad, iPod Touch & iPhone, Learning Apps, Paid, Science | Comments Off on Marine Life

Geoboard

This app is the 21st century’s answer to having a crate full of plastic (or wooden) traditional geoboards in your classroom!  Just think – the possibility of students flicking rubber bands at each other – instead of placing them on the geoboard – is now a thing of the past.  But in all seriousness, this virtual manipulative is a great alternative.

According to the information page in the app, “The Geoboard is a tool for exploring a variety of mathematical topics introduced in the elementary and middle grades.  Learners stretch bands around the pegs to form line segments and polygons and make discoveries about perimeter, area, angles, congruence, fractions, and more.”

Users first drag and drop a rubber band onto the board.  They then drag from a line to make a new vertex.  Vertices can be dragged from one peg to another.  They can also fill in the shapes they make with various colors.

Two geoboard sizes are featured (iPad only).  The rubber bands come in various colors.  Please note that at this time, you’re unable to save any work you do on the geoboard.  But I guess you can take a screen shot if you want a record of student’s work.

Posted in 1st - 2nd, 3rd - 5th, 6th - 8th, Free, Learning Apps, Math, PreK - Kindergarten | Comments Off on Geoboard

The Oregon Trail: American Settler

What do you do when your child completes the journey found in the original Oregon Trail app?  Well, you obtain this free sequel!  No worries though, a tutorial is included for those that have yet to conquer the original Oregon Trail app.

The familiar family has settled on their new land on the wild frontier.  Students continue to go through the processes of harvesting crops and working on the farm.  Task completion earns money, lumber and other benefits, but each also spends precious energy.  The possibility of coming across medical ailments – such as dysentery (or Montezuma’s Revenge – yuck!) – still exists in this version!  Steer clear of the option for users to send their friends telegrams – it links to outside sites such as Facebook.

Unfortunately, this app will never be known for its educational value, despite the occasional encounters with various historical figures.  But, it is a great choice to have on mobile devices that children will have access to.  They can literally spend hours creating and personalizing their own frontier villages.  Creative minds and those with long attention spans will certainly find this to be one of their favorite apps.

Posted in 3rd - 5th, Free, Game, iPad, iPod Touch & iPhone, Learning Apps, Social Studies | Comments Off on The Oregon Trail: American Settler

Times Table Lab

This fun app displays a section of the multiplication table.  Every few seconds, balls with products on them fall down the left-hand side.  Students need to place each ball at the appropriate spot on the table.  For example, a ball with a 5 on it can be placed where the 5 column and 1 row intersect (or vice versa).  Obviously, some products, like 4, can be placed in more than one spot.  Once the user hovers over a spot, the corresponding row and column numbers are highlighted – I appreciate this feature.

Points are earned for speed and accuracy.  An extra ‘life’ is earned each time a level is completed.  A level is completed once all numbered balls are correctly placed onto the multiplication table.  Upon entering a new level, more of the multiplication table is revealed.  Each game starts with a 1 – 5 table and progresses from there (1 – 6, etc.).  The game ends when all lives are used up or when there are 5 balls stacked up on the left side.

While I’m generally not a fan of paid apps that only cover one skill, I highly recommend this app.  It allows students to practice multiplication facts in the context of the quite familiar multiplication table.  It also rewards automaticity by allowing them to progress to higher levels once they demonstrate proficiency with the lower levels.

Posted in 3rd - 5th, iPad, iPod Touch & iPhone, Learning Apps, Math, Paid | Comments Off on Times Table Lab

Meet the Vowels

This app is quite appropriately named – young readers ‘meet’ each vowel (A, E, I, O, U, Y) by hearing its name, then selecting it from one of 3 lower or upper case letters shown.  The letters appear large enough for even tiny fingers to touch.  A correct selection rewards your child with a short animated song and dance.  The next vowel is then announced and 3 more choices appear.  If an incorrect choice is selected, that letter is removed from the screen.  If that’s done twice in a row, only the correct answer will remain.

While your child may enjoy this app for a few minutes, I doubt it’ll become their favorite.  It’s just way too simple and doesn’t do much.  There are other apps available that will do more than just help them identify the vowels by sight.  My primary gripe is that the app does not introduce pre-readers to the various sounds that vowels make (the a sound in cap as compared to the a sound in cape, for example).  Luckily, it’s free and does not contain ads on the main screen.

Posted in Free, iPad, iPod Touch & iPhone, Language Arts, Learning Apps, PreK - Kindergarten | Comments Off on Meet the Vowels