iLearn With – Planet Boing HD

iLearn With – Planet Boing! HD

by Tribal Nova

As we near our 200th educational app review, we are pleased to share with our readers the latest and greatest things that development group, Tribal Nova has to offer your preschooler to kindergartener. Tribal Nova is no stranger to the app world, with several iLearn With educational series already on the market: Seasons, Counting & Addition, and Mighty Jungle Animals. In each, users play and learn alongside kid friendly characters, Poko, Bibi, Babu and Mr. Murphy. As of late, this friend list is growing as your child visits the Planet Boing. Planet Boing HD is like the “hub station” that connects all the educational series in one central location as it tracks and reports your child’s progress. As your child builds essential skills in math, science, language and literacy to name a few, they will be encouraged and rewarded through a variety of game break type activities. As our own resident expert explored, all we could hear were “hoops, hollers and oh ya’s”. Planet Boing HD is a free download to your iPad device and runs on those devices with an iOS of 4.0 or later.

Upon entering Planet Boing HD, parents or educators will want to establish an account, a total of four can be created. Each account is associated with an avatar or icon and that child’s birthday. Depending on the number of devices in a school or home environment, the ability to switch accounts is very easy. Planet Boing HD was designed to meet the academic needs of children ages 3-6, but it also meets the “gaming for a reason” requirements of both parents and educators. From the main menu of Planet Boing HD, children are able to see not only their avatar but a colored tracking bar. This indicates their success based on those academic skills experienced. In addition, a new reporting feature is now associated with most iLearn With educational app series. An adorable eye winking bumble bee indicates that a particular series is connected to Planet Boing HD. Parents and educators can now see how their child(ren) are virtually growing while they play with Poko, Bibi, Mr. Murphy and their friends from Ice Land Adventures, a new literacy application now available. See what is “buzzing” around as your child games for a reason. The iLearn With “academic trees” are currently broken into four categories: Math, Literacy, Science and Language. Branches of each of these trees indicates which games will reinforce specific skills. By simply selecting a section of a branch, additional information is provided of those skills played/not played and the user’s level of success. If an educator or parent feels that a particular skill needs reinforcing, users can immediately access it by clicking the play button.

Whether your child is developing their understanding of phonics, letters, days of the week, weather, numbers or operations, a little “down time” is always a nice reward. Such down time would be to design your very own alien within Planet Boing HD. Aliens can be customized in a variety of ways through a roller deck of options. Such options include: altering their aliens hands, feet, eyes, nose, and accessories. Initially this roller deck is pre-installed with items, but to increase those options, users must play within the iLearn With educational app series. At an early age, they will be learning that you can’t get something for nothing! By simply tapping a needed item, users are then connected to a particular iLearn With app series. Through leveled progress activities in science, math and literacy, users will earn or unlock new customizations. Once items are earned, users can then go on a psychedelic like ride as they zip along the planet’s floor to unknown places in the sky.

At this time, Planet Boing HD is linked in with reporting features to the following iLearn With series:

iLearn With Poko: Seasons is an application which develops ones vocabulary as your child learns the essentials to the seasons and weather. Here are the skills that will be uncovered.

✔ Game 1: Weather conditions – Learn to distinguish seasons and weather conditions by comparing different pictures.
✔ Game 2: What to wear – Find Poko and Bibi’s clothes and objects that do not fit weather conditions.
✔ Game 3: Days and activities – Explore week days and match the right activities to the weather conditions.

iLearn With Poko: Addition is an application which encompasses both numbers and early addition facts. Here are the skills that will be uncovered.

✔ Game 1: Bowling – Count and add up to 6 bowling pins by playing with Poko and Minus.
✔ Game 2: Building blocks – Help Poko, Bibi and Minus group sets of blocks and learn to add up to 10.
✔ Game 3: Poko’s toys – Find all the objects Poko is looking for in his room and learn to add up to 15.

iLearn With Ice Land Adventures is the newest addition to the iLearn With series and builds your child’s knowledge of letters, phonics and words.

✔ Game 1: Letters – Learn upper-case and lower-case letters as well as their names.
✔ Game 2: Phonics – Compose syllables by combining vowels and consonants.
✔ Game 3: Words – Spell words by placing letters in the correct order.

As you can see Tribal Nova has been hard at work to make their educational apps meet the needs of our school age children. Through vibrant graphics, familiar characters as seen on TV, clear and concise directions, a great deal of repetition and reinforcements, your child will be saying “iLearned With” and had fun while do so. Overall, we love the recent updates and additions that Tribal Nova has offered to our iPad device. In the coming weeks, see additional branches of learning that will be offered on Planet Boing HD. The three iLearn With series briefly mentioned above can be downloaded to your iTunes library for $2.99, however, keep your eyes open for future sale prices. To learn more about Tribal Nova, please visit their website here. If you are interested in making a full educational connection and management system for your child’s learning, then be sure to add Planet Boing HD to your device today by simply clicking here.

A disclaimer that should be shared with my readers is that Applicable2U was a part of the pedagogical design of iLearn With – Ice Land Adventures HD and Planet Boing HD.

Sight Words and Spelling with Pixopop

Sight Words and Spelling with Pixopop

by Marcel Widarto

Years ago an educator shared with those participating in a professional development course that our brains are filled with file folders. Inside such folders are memories, experiences and informational facts. As adults and children, we pull or sort through these file folders on a daily basis. This visualization has stuck with me over the years as I fill my own 6 year olds filing system. Upon entering kindergarten this year, my son’s teacher indicated that he would be expected to know 25 sight words by June. Sight word acquisition is a critical building block as preschoolers to first graders learn to read. Amazingly, children that are familiar with Dolch’s word lists will have access to 75% of what is printed in most pieces of children literature. As a parent or teacher, what strategies do you implement to support your child on the road to reading? A large number of homes and schools are equipped to introduce and reinforce sight words but are their efforts fun? With the popularity of implementing mobile devices in various environments, there are a number educational apps in the App Store which support this concept. However, how many actually create informative reports for both parents and educators? Developer, Marcel Widarto looks to teach 200+ sight words through games, Sight Words Hangman being his first, but as of late he has added to this collection. At the end of April, he launched Sight Words and Spelling with Pixopop. Come play and learn with Ugly Doll or Hello Kitty like characters: Draco, Stitch, and Pinku in three modes of interaction on your iPad device running iOS 4.3 or later. With a simple design, colorful graphics, game play repetition, verbal/visual reinforcements, and academic support, Pixopop might be the yellow brick road to learning that you were looking for.

Experience Sight Words and Spelling with Pixopop with the support of an adult or independently. By spending one to one time with your child or students as they learn and practice their sight words, you will be providing them a greater chance to integrating them into their long-term memory. Upon entering this educational app, users will be immediately introduced to Stitch Bunny. In addition, the target audience (preschool to 1st grade) and those instructing will find Sight Words and Spelling with Pixopop to be very kid friendly. Developmentally children learn new information in stages. To support this idea, developers have included three levels of play; Flash Card, Word Challenge and Spelling. Each mode of play offers 24 word lists with 10 words in each. Exploration can begin by simply tapping a game mode and a friend to learn and play with. Concerned that with your download that you won’t have access to all word lists? Don’t be!! For $1.99, all 240 words are at your disposal. A note to the developers – might it be possible in a future update to include the option to add multiple accounts? By adding this option, homes with multiple children or schools with only a limited number of devices will benefit from this educational experience.

We have explored and reviewed several educational apps which looks to reinforce those sight words commonly seen in the English language. Each has its own positives, however as we tested out Sight Words and Spelling with Pixopop, developers have included some added components. The first being a simple, but very effective reporting system. As a parent and an educator, this is critical. Reports are generated for every exposure; words that are completed, incomplete and failed. Upon entering the bar graph icon from the main menu, parents will get a quick view of results for each word list which is dated and timed. If interested in seeing more, simply click an individual list to see a more detailed report indicating those words that your child struggled with. Words that have been reported as incomplete or unsuccessful while playing in the Word Challenge or Spelling mode will be added to the users “tricky words” list. These tricky words can be selected in either of the modes of play and re-experienced in order to gain mastery. A note to the developers – might it be possible to allow users to share reports via email with other interested parties, like a parent or an educator.

Let the positives continue. The objective of this application is to learn, reinforce and master the Dolch’s word lists necessary for early elementary students. However, we believe it can even go one step further. From the main menu click on the “cogwheel icon”, here parents will be able to change the level of difficulty while playing the Word Challenge game based on their child’s needs. In addition, parents will be able to view default word lists 1-24 and to create new word lists of their own. With a very clear and concise design, developers have included the ability to create individualized word lists. Since those pre-installed lists have 10 words per level, we assume that the same number of words are added to those designed by you. Along with written words, users can record themselves saying each word. As suggested by the application, those building new word lists should read the word, along with reading it, it would also be helpful to put it in a sentence for meaning which will guide users during the spelling mode. The integration of this feature is so wonderful because what student doesn’t come home with a weekly spelling list? If your home is like mine, each night your child is expected to complete an activity which reinforces their spelling list. Why not make your mobile device an activity? If looking at this application for older students, it is most certainly applicable to you.

With no in app purchases or the ability to click buttons linked to outside sources, Sight Words and Spelling with Pixopop is now on our academic agenda. It’s time to prepare your child for a future of reading and spelling. Your child will have the ability to build their academic mantle piece with success trophies along the way. This is an educational app which games for a reason and is considered a top pick from our opinion. If you would like to learn more about Marcel Widarto, please visit his website here. Whether you are a preschooler to elementary school student, Sight Words and Spelling with Pixopop is worth adding to your iPad device today by simply clicking here.

This review is also featured on Fun Educational Apps site along with several other detailed educational app reviews.

Nora’s Crabby Day

Nora’s Crabby Day

by PicPocket Books

What is your mood like today?  Have you woken up feeling blue, unbeknownst to you? Did your day start off great, but an unfortunate situation turned that right around?  This is not uncommon for both adults and children.  At an early age, children will struggle with a number of new things like how to handle one’s feelings.  As parents, we like to think that we can explain and model such feelings, however, connections are not always made.  Children need things short, sweet and to the point and our words might not be the ones they want to hear.  Implementing personal connections through the use of books, both mobile or hard covered, might be just what you are looking for. Released back at the end of March by PicPocket Books is Nora’s Crabby Day.  It was written and illustrated by Jan and Todd Graveline and can be viewed on your iPad device running iOS 4.3 or later. Come walk in Nora’s shoes for just one day and see how her day starts off gloomy but ends with a bowl full of joy!

We have reviewed a number of interactive books by PicPocket Books and are pleased to add Nora’s Crabby Day to our iPad library.  Like most interactive books, it promotes early learning as your child develops their reading skills through audio words and sounds as text is highlighted on each page.  In addition, it provides young readers the option to have it read to them or they can read it aloud on their own.  We loved how a dedication page was included to Nora Claire, the main character. “When she smiles, we smile.”  This is so true in any household full of one or multiple children.  Each page appears to be divided into two as if holding a real hard covered book.  In addition, pages magically come to life as those words narrated are visualized wonderfully from beginning to end.  Throughout the book, all participants reading will notice how the story incorporates colorful detail and the use of rhyming words. Characters and objects of all kinds; clouds, animals and food, need to turn their frowns upside down. Can Nora’s day get any worse?

Nora’s Crabby Day  is very appropriate for children as young as 2 and beyond.  Applicable2U can see it being incorporate in any home or school setting.  Pages are managed by the user, so it allows for adults and children to stop and talk about each page, to make connections to those things that Nora is going through.  Children and adults need to be made aware that having a bad day is very normal.  Whether your mood starts off bad or ends badly, tomorrow is a new day and as humans we need to find some light at the end of the tunnel.  Nora’s light was that of a warm bowl of macaroni and cheese.

To learn more about Nora’s Crabby Day or any other interactive books by PicPocket Books, please visit their website here.  For only $1.99, you too can have Nora’s Crabby Day for your iPad library by simply clicking here.

Happipets

Happipets

by Happi

Come play with letters in order to build and spell words that look like animals or imaginary creations.  Use your fine motor skills to rotate, enlarge, move and flip objects to manipulate your ABC’s as you explore in three modes: plAy, Beasts, and Create. Launched in early February, developers from Happi created Happipets, an usual approach to spelling words for your iPad device running iOS 4.3 or later.  It is designed with a younger generation in mind, however, even the oldest of children and adults will enjoy exploring.  What pets will your child create?   With 12 real animals, 12 imaginary ones and over 140 letters to build just about anything, your child will feel like they are watching an episode of Word World on PBS Kids.  Drag, drop and recognize animal names or individual letters to your workable canvas as letters turn into a picture or scene.

As you initially explore Happipets, Applicable2U would suggest that you collaboratively work with your child(ren).  As developers state in their iTunes description, this educational app is not the usual spelling app.  Regardless, with a kid friendly appearance and support systems in place, children and parents will have fun building a happipet.  Get the hang of Happipets by starting in the “plAy” mode. At the top of your canvas will be a scrolling feature which alphabetically lists your 12 real world animals.  Come play and learn about such animals as a dog, flamingo, lion or rabbit.  Amazingly letters are artistically designed in their color and detail.  With a single tap of the animals name your scroll bar will disappear and exploration can begin. The objective is to manipulate each letter around the page by enlarging, shrinking, moving, or rotating it to transform from a word to an actual animal picture.  Whether you are an adult or a child, this concept visually may be challenging, but not to worry.  At the bottom of the screen, users might find it helpful to click the “help” button.  This help feature is the giveaway to your end result, however, you will find yourself using it multiple times.

While building your animal, learn a few interesting facts about it by clicking the “information” button in the lower right hand corner of your screen.  Need to start fresh and put your letters back to default in the scroll bar, click the trash can and it will clear your canvas. To access your scroll bar, simply click the pull down tab at the top of your screen.  Users will know that a letter has been manipulated and dropped into its correct place when they hear a locking sound. After the animal has been correctly draw, an appropriate background or environment will suddenly appear.  A note to the developers – might it be possible to offer in the scroll feature a single and double tap.  The single tap could say that animals name and the double tap option could drop it on the users canvas.  Without adult supervision as it is set now, users will not know what animal they are learning to spell or create.  In addition, we would love to see an audio feature added in two areas.  First, as a user manipulates letters, it would great to hear that letter announced for letter recognition reinforcement.  In addition, we would love to see that interesting facts could be shared aloud by simply tapping a microphone icon.

As you move from playing with real animals, it is now time to play with mythological ones.  Ever heard of a delipolk or a dufou??  With those same features found in the plAy mode, come explore the Beast mode.  As we navigated our way through this round, we immediately made a connection to a science project that was done in a 5th grade class.   Students had to create an animal of their choice, but were required to explain what it was, what were its predators or prey, what adaptations were necessary for it to survive and where could it be found.  With the implementation of a drawing and word processing program, this project came to life.  As technology has changed over the years, this Beast mode would be a great update to our animal studies project. As the animal comes to life and is locked into place, take a screen shot on your iPad device by simply clicking at the same time the home and sleep button.  This screen shot can then be found in your camera roll and inserted into any document.

The last area for exploration is the Create mode.  Here users will be able to select random letters as a way to create their own pets.  Since this design is by users choice, the help button is no longer present.  However, a saving, scene and sharing feature has been added. Choose from a laundry list of letters and designs, 24 different scenes to add your animal too and the option to share your creation via Facebook and/or email.  A note to the developers – might it be possible to put a parental lock on the sharing option for the safety of those using the application.  In addition, it might be interesting to add a feature to your website that would allow Happipet application users to upload and share their creations with your followers.

Overall, Applicable2U enjoyed our exploration with Happipets.  It is an application that fits at home and at school.  It endorses creativity and the possibilities to collaborate with others in a fun way.  If you would like to contact the developers, Happi, please visit their website here.  We were encouraged to see that new letters and animals will be added for free in the next round of updates.  To add Happipets to your iPad device, please click here to begin your $1.99 download today!

Kids’ Dental Health

Kids’ Dental Health

by Alexandr Stacanov  © 2012 TwoTea Applications

How do you introduce the importance of dental hygiene to your children?  Do you sing songs?  How many families out there sing to the tune of “Row, Row, Row Your Boat” the ToothBrushing Song?  Families will jump through all kind of hoops to instill good dental hygiene habits at an early age.  If singing songs or just telling your child(ren) like it is, isn’t working, then maybe a new approach is needed.  Recently launched at the end of March, illustrator, Alexandr Stacanov and TwoTea Applications created Kids’ Dental Health for your iPad device running iOS 4.0 or later. With very few educational and interactive books in the App Store centered around health topics, like dental hygiene, Kids’ Dental Health is very user friendly and well worth the $1.99 download. Turn part of your morning and evening routine into something more entertaining as your child attempts to find hidden sounds on each page. Take on a new persona; Sam, Lily, Daniel or Mia and become a ‘dental defender’.  In doing so, you and your child will read about the importance of flossing, applying tooth paste, ridding your mouth of bacteria and eating healthy foods.

Open wide and smile to show off your pearly whites as Kids’ Dental Health can be read to you by a professional teen narrator or read by you. Which toothbrush will make sense for your child(ren)?  Regardless of which is chosen, this informational and interactive book can be implemented in a number of ways at home and school.  Scroll through the four ‘dental defenders’ by simply tapping their smiling faces.  Once selected, click the directional in the lower right hand corner and let the adventure begin.

As the Toothbrush Song states,

Brush, brush, brush your teeth
Brush them everyday.
We put toothpaste on our brush
To help stop tooth decay

Floss, floss, floss your teeth.
Floss them every day!
Using the string to clean between
Keeps the plaque away!

Clean, clean, clean your teeth.
Clean them every day!
Your teeth will sparkle for years to come
In the most beautiful way!

Brush, brush, brush your teeth.
Brush them every day!
Happy, healthy teeth you’ll have
If it’s done this way.

In reviewing this song and this application we noticed a connection, each stanza of this song coordinates with a page within the book.  To rid your mouth of tooth decay, Kids’ Dental Health not only shares factual information in a story like format, but it also introduces new vocabulary.  To reinforce vocabulary, zoom in on your mouth as you play the Bacteria game.  As quickly as possible, use your fine motor skills to tap away all forms of bacteria built up in your mouth.  Notice that some forms of bacteria are more difficult to vanish than others and that toothbrushing needs to be done efficiently.  A note to the developers – while playing the Bacteria game might it be possible to have an inside look of a scrolling mouth, indicating where possible bacteria will land. By brushing away the bacteria, you become a knight or magical fairy equipped with a toothbrush sword or wand.

Just as the song indicates, our story also continues as it shares the significance of flossing.  Flossing for some children and yes, even adults, can be challenging.  To guide our readers, developers have included a narrated graphic of techniques or strategies for best flossing, however, Applicable2U thinks a video presentation would be even more effective.  Now that your ‘dental defender’ is equipped with a toothbrush and some floss, they have been protected for the day.  Motivate your child towards a healthy, shiny smile in just 10 short pages.  If your toothbrush and floss are not at your disposal during the day, don’t panic.  Be sure to eat healthy and make regular visits to the dentist twice a year.  If you don’t have time to read the whole story, simply click the page icon from your main menu screen and let the reinforcement continue.

Kids’ Dental Health could not have come at a more appropriate time as my own ‘dental defender’ tends to argue over having to brush his teeth.  By making this interactive, informational book a part of our bedtime routine, teeth brushing hassles will become a thing of the past.  At this time, there is only one interactive gaming feature, however, 3 additional games are coming in a future update for free.  If your child’s doctor has indicated that it is time to start brushing their teeth, then downloading Kids’ Dental Health to your iPad device is an excellent addition to your iTunes library.  Are you a family whose children have been brushing their teeth for few years, but put up a fight, then it’s time to learn and play towards a healthier mouth.  Even an early elementary classroom teacher can benefit from downloading Kids’ Dental Health as it meets curriculum requirements for those in preschool-1st grade.

Applicable2U would most certainly give Kids’ Dental Health two thumbs up!!  We are looking forward to continuing our mouth journey in future updates.  If you would like to learn more about TwoTea Applications, please visit their website here.  To add Kids’ Dental Health to your iTunes library today, simply click here.