Math Ninja Lite
Last week via my Twitter feed, Math Ninja Lite was brought to my attention. With anime like characters, users can become “the master of their domain” as they learn, practice and reinforce the basic concepts of adding, subtracting, multiplying and dividing. With this lite version, children ages 6-12 will be challenged as they “slice” not only right answers but also the wrong ones as well. As both a parent and a teacher, I have to admit I was slightly concerned about the possibilities of violence being integrated within the app due to the ninja reference. Having these two roles, I sometimes want to “shelter” my students and my son from certain things. Is that wrong? Does the word “ninja” always have to have a negative connotation? Based on student tests, Math Ninja Lite will not provide a user any form of violence but rather an opportunity to learn while having fun as they navigate through 15 games and 4 levels of difficulty.
With so many applications out there that reinforce basic concepts of math in adding, subtracting, multiplying and dividing, how is Kittypad setting themselves apart from their competition? First, keeping to the ninja like theme, users must select their mode of attack. When making this decision, immediately, users will notice the “weapons” appear as the shape of the mathematical concept to be learned within that level. A very clever approach! Second, unlike any other educational app that I have reviewed, Math Ninja Lite has children thinking about math in various ways. Throughout any mathematical program, skills develop or build upon each other. Within some programs, basic number facts are integrated in a variety of other areas, leaving the old approach of memorization behind. With this app, levels can be broken down further as true (an equal symbol) and false (not equal symbol) number statements. Since “play” does not occur on a timer, users can choose to give themselves one or multiple opportunities to get the right answer. Simply select the chain link button by setting it to broken (single choice) or unbroken (multiple choice). This mode of learning will open new challenges on each return visit. Players will be problem solving mentally while their fingers do the tapping. Numbers will fly up fast, but they are quick to return. With a giggle from your ninja, points are earned while tears indicate an incorrect answer. Not to worry, those incorrect number facts will be randomly selected again and can be mastered. Within the “not equal” play mode, users simply tap those answers that would make the number sentence incorrect leaving only the right number in the air. Although it happens very quickly, the unequal number sentence will transition to an equal mathematical sentence. A note to the developers – might it be possible to slow that transition down a bit within the earlier stages. In addition, it might be interesting to even incorporate a pop up window showing the comparison for further reinforcement, again within the first few levels.
Math Ninja Lite is for all early to late elementary students, boys and girls. When asked to explore, my students found this app very appealing. They did mention that it might be cool to see more ninja like scenes, like a dojo or even a temple. In addition, they thought for those really looking to master their skills, that a timer might be a nice added touch. With only 4 levels within the free version, Math Ninja Lite truly shows off the positive educational aspects that it can provide users. Whether you are a parent, home schooler, or educator it might be time to slice up on ones math with either Math Ninja Lite or Math Ninja by Kittypad. Simply click their links to begin downloading from your iTunes library today! To learn more about Kittypad, please visit their website here.