Wednesday, December 28, 2011

App Review 1

App Review 1

This year I was very lucky to have a parent buy my classroom two iPads.  Once I found this out, not only was I super excited, but I also wanted to start researching what apps would be the best for my class.  My students always love being on the computers during center time and with this amazing parent I knew I would have another center using the iPads.  I knew I would have to come up with a way for all the students to be able to use them and find apps that the kids would enjoy but also learn something from while playing them.  So, I wanted to share some of the BEST and not so great apps out there (at least in my opinion) for kindergarteners and preschool aged students.  

 Big Kid Life Fire Fighter

Says it is appropriate for 4-7 year olds.  It helps children with color and shape identification, number sequencing and sorting, greater than and less than recognition, counting by 10's, and numbers 50-100.
For this app, children have to move the Fire Fighter throughout different obstacles to the star door while saving animals and putting out fires.  The goal is to go through each level as quick as you can.  Throughout the level there are different math questions.  When the questions come up, it asks the question with four different answer options.  The child has as long as they need to select the correct question.  If they select the wrong answer it beeps but then has you try again.  When you first start playing the game, it shows you exactly how to play by telling and showing you what to do.  If the Fire Fighter runs into fire, it makes the Fire Fighter glow and have stars around his/her head but it does allow them to keep playing.  After each level it tells the child how good they played and encourages them to play again, seeing if they can play it faster.  This app has numerous levels.  My son really seems to enjoy this app.  He can sit and play it for awhile which is a big sign to me that it is a good app.  If I had to rate this app out of 5 stars, I would give it 4 stars.  I like how it tells and shows the player exactly what to do.  I like how it is a game but does have learning questions throughout it.  I also like how parents can set up for player information to be sent to them so they know when their child has passed a level. 

Big Kid Life Vet

Says it is appropriate for 3-6 year olds.  It helps children with Logic and Geometry, Letter Identification, Shape Identification, and Phonics

This app is based on what children want to be when they grow up.  Some want to be a Vet, so the children get to be a Vet when playing this app.  There are animals that are hurt so the children have to rub the animals and then take an x-ray of the animal.  Once the x-ray is taken, the children have to listen to the different questions and answer them while the clock is counting down.  If a child misses a question they get a red x and may try again.  After a few second the correct answer flashes to help the child get the correct answer.  Although my son found this game kinda boring with the rubbing and the x-ray, the questions are pretty good.  The question section does focus on numerous skills but I think what I like about it most is that a child really has to listen to the questions to be able to answer them and stay focused on the question in order to answer them.  The app does have 3 different levels.  Also, another thing about this app that I do like is you can set it up to get feedback on what your child is playing.  After my son passed a level I received an email saying he had passed the level and I was able to send him an email (through the game) back to him saying good job, I love you, etc.  I did think this was a cool part of the app.  If I had to give this app a rating out of 5 stars I would give it 3 stars.  I think the app would be fun for kids for a little while, but I do think they will get bored with it.  I am also giving it 3 stars because it is a free app.

Big Kid Life Fairy Princess

Says it is appropriate for 4-7 year olds.  It helps children learn comprehension and plot and sequence.

This is another app by Fingerprint.  The name of it is Fairy Princess, however it isn't just for girls.  When first playing the app you get to choose who you want to play with.  There are different boys and girls to choose from.  Then you get to pick the level you want to play with.  Once you pick the level then the narrator tells a story.  Throughout the story the narrator pauses and has the player complete different tasks.  Once the story is complete, it asks the player comprehension questions.  If the player makes the wrong choice during the questions, the app just beeps and says try again.  After the questions are over the story is retold.  This time the story is written out and each word is highlighted when it is read.  This app also has the parent reference set up so you know what your child is doing.  If I had to rate this app out of 5 stars, I would give it 4.5 stars.  I like that there is a parent reference part although that doesn't really help me with my classroom, it is good for when my son plays it.  The stories are entertaining and keep your interest by having you complete tasks throughout the story.  I like how it has three parts to each story.  (The story being told to you, question part, and the rereading of the story with highlighted words)  This app is great for my kindergarteners too because it helps them with comprehension.  This one is my favorite from Fingerprint. 

Approach to Montessori- Numbers

Learn full comprehension of numbers zero through ten.

This app has six different games in one app.  This app is pretty basic since it only deals with numbers through ten, but it does help children learn number recognition, writing numbers, quantity, and sequencing numbers.  This app is great for my three year old son and it would be great for kindergarteners who don't know numbers through 10.  Since the app has six different games, it works with children's learning styles.  If I had to rate this app out of 5 stars, I would give it 3 stars.  My son and my kindergarteners seems to really enjoy this app.  I do think the app is a great app for numbers through 10, I just wish it would deal with numbers all the way to 20. 

Counting Caterpillar

Says it is appropriate for preschoolers and kindergarteners. Teaches basic counting.

My students really seem to enjoy this app.  This app has 3 different levels. Easy- counting 1-100. Medium- count by 2, 5 & 10. Hard- random counting.  The player has to catch aphids in the correct order sequence and feed them to the caterpillar.  If the player feeds the correct number the caterpillar eats the aphid, but if it is the wrong number, the caterpillar doesn't eat it.  After the caterpillar's belly is full, the player earns butterflies.  The player can look at their butterfly garden to see all the butterflies they earned.  If I had to rate this app out of 5 stars, I would give it a 2.5 stars.  The graphics are great with everything is this app.  I gave it a lower score because when you feed the caterpillar the aphids, the caterpillar is crawling and I find it distracting.  My students do love this app, however they never play it too long because of how it is moving.  I think it would be much better if the caterpillar just stood in one spot while you feed it. 

I hope you find these reviews of the education apps helpful.  I know when I go to the App Store, it can be very overwhelming with how many education apps there are.  Plus, with most of the apps being $2.99, I know I don't want to waste money on an app that I would not use. 

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