Move the Turtle
by Next is Great
Are you a computer geek that loves programming or are you a classroom teacher instructing on such skills as angles, measurement and two dimensional geometry? If you answered yes to either these, then you have come to the right educational app review. We are no stranger to educational app developers, Next is Great and we are pleased to add to our collection of reviews their latest addition, Move the Turtle. Regardless of which mathematical program your school district is using, we are quite certain that it is a program that builds understanding over a period of time. This understanding comes as informal and formal exposure while also integrating direction instruction. Move the Turtle is a mathematical app for students in their early to late elementary years. Recently it was featured in the App Store in the New and Noteworthy for Education. It is compatible for all Apple devices running iOS 4.2 or later. As your child(ren) works alongside an adult or independently with a ruler, various directions and a pencil, they will soon become a coding guru.
With many school districts moving towards the Common Core State Standards and implementing mobile devices, the purchasing of educational apps is certainly under debate. When educational apps come at a cost, both educators and parents want to feel confident that their child(ren) and/or students will be gaming for a reason. A purchased app needs to not only engage the user, but it also needs to introduce, reinforce and/or challenge the target population. Technology is an essential tool that should be used strategically in any mathematics curriculum. Next is Great and Move the Turtle is certainly making this happen. Move the Turtle is based on the mathematical idea of Logo. Logo was created in 1967 by a Cambridge, Massachusetts firm. Logo gives students the opportunity to be introduced to basic programming or coding skills. Through a few simple step by step commands your “turtle cursor” will be able to draw geometric shapes and patterns, while also reinforcing angles. When looking at the standards for children as young as kindergarten they are expected to “identify and describe shapes, as well as to analyze, compare, create and compose shapes.” Over a student’s elementary years, this same curriculum expectation is expanded upon for a deeper understanding.
With the ability to create what appears to be an unlimited number of accounts, users will be able to unlock a multitude of rewards as they play and learn within three chapters: Let’s Move, A Little Bit of Magic, and Professor Turtle. Chapters are broken into tasks which teaches and builds upon various commands such as: move, turn, pen, color, repeat, sound, position and conditions. It is important to note that there are no audio directions, just verbal/pictorial pop up menus which can support the user as moves are made. As you keep this in mind, this will determine if adult supervision will be necessary. Once it is time to “move the turtle”, the users screen will be divided into two areas. The first being the chalkboard building area which is equipped with a ruler along each X and Y axis. The left side is designated for reviewing and selecting specific commands in order to complete individual tasks. In order to put your commands/steps to the test, simply click the play button underneath your chalkboard. If tasks are considered incomplete, additional opportunities to succeed will be provided. When tasks are completed, young coders will earn 1-3 stars within each level. As rewards are earned, additional levels are revealed. As you progress through levels, tasks become more complicated, but build on previous tasks for further reinforcement. As most people know, turtles are very slow moving, but in this educational app, your turtle can move in three different ways: slow, medium and super fast. Come see what happens when these options are altered.
Once commands are learned compose and save your own creations to your devices library. In addition, developers have also included a nice library of pre-made lessons. A note to the developers – is it possible to share newly made creations with other Move the Turtle followers? It would be greatly if your website had the option to upload and share projects in order to see how others are using this educational app.
Overall, we love this educational app and plan to install it on our new iPads arriving this summer. For only $2.99, it is an educational app worth purchasing. Put your thinking skills to the test and become a coding geek. If you would like to learn more Next is Great, please visit their website here. To get your turtle moving today, simply click here to download Move the Turtle to your iTunes library.
This review is also featured on Fun Educational Apps site along with many other detailed reviews.