Murky Reef Educational App Series

Murky Reef Educational App Series

by Frolyc

There are a number of educational app series currently in the App Store that are just amazing.  As a parent and an educator, I want to know that those apps that are installed on my personal and educational equipment will make an impact on my children.  Education is shifting on a daily basis and many schools are moving towards a 1:1 program with tablets, particularly iPad devices.  Some schools however are questioning is it worth the money?  What will the impact be on our students as it relates to the all important state test scores.  Some teachers are wondering how technology fits into the new standards, particularly those of the Common Core State Standards coming their way.  Amazingly those from Frolyc development group are taking these questions very seriously.  Through a variety of different multimedia formats, Murky Reef educational app series guides young learners in first and second grade through a cross curricular learning adventure.

Back in February of this year we reviewed Murky Reef: Think and Play.  Our review was based on the Lite version, however, with an in-app purchase of $4.99, curriculum connections and engagement are taken to the next level of learning.  It’s critical thinking at its best as children navigate through the murky seas learning to be a scientist, mathematician and a reader.  In any of their educational app series – Math 1, Math 2, Language Arts 1, Language Arts 2 or Science, parents and educators will be astonished at the levels of learning and engagement that is going on while frolicking the depths of the ocean floor.  The Murky Reef educational series app design was built with the intent to make our children think in a variety of ways. Their educational games have students moving through hierarchical levels of learning based on Bloom’s Taxonomy. When applying these educational apps in your classroom or home, students will be building their knowledge and comprehension as they apply, analyze, synthesis and evaluate their learning.

As Applicable2U explored with their recent download of Murky Reef: Science, we had a sense of having a textbook in our hands.  Information is shared interactively through narrated reading passages, YouTube videos and manipulation of items on each screen.  Content could be presented in a variety of ways: large/small group or individually.  Presentation would be dependent on the number of devices available.  Regardless, once information is learned or reinforced, put it to the “Puffer test”. Puff, is Murky Reef’s superhero and needs your help to stop Ogee the ravenous eating shark. If your school is equipped with multiple devices, teachers could set up student accounts, allowing students one to one time to move through a quiz like format of questions to share what they have learned.  Through an individual performance report, all concerned parties (parents, educators and yes, even students) will be provided a break down of skills learned and needs of improvement.

With classrooms jam packed with content to cover and uncover in 10 months, learning should be presented in a cross curricular manner and Frolyc educational apps are making this happen. Whether you download one or all of the apps within this series, parents and educators of all learning styles will be pleased.  If you would like to learn more about Frolyc apps, please visit their website here.

Online Professional Development Conference

Attention Education friends – You’re invited to a  one-of-a-kind PD event that’s going to be a lot of fun … and best of all, it won’t cost you a dime!

Come learn with educators from around the world at the Online Education Conference: An international conference that’s 100% FREE!

This PD event has been sponsored by SimpleK12, one of the leading providers of 21st century teacher professional development. Join the Blue Bunnies as they camp out in the SimpleK12 offices for 24 hours straight, bringing you the best-of-the-best conference sessions with presenters from around the world.    (Thanks for organizing such an incredible FREE event, SimpleK12!)

Online Education Conference – Details

What:  A 24-hour training extravaganza for educators around the world!
When:  Wednesday, April 25th, 2012 – Thursday, April 26th, 2012
Where:  Online – Join LIVE from your computer or mobile device
Cost:  100% FREE!

What sessions can you attend?
Sessions will be running all day and night … so pick and choose whatever works best with your schedule.  There’s something for everyone! 

What can you learn about?
Perhaps the better question is, “What WON’T you learn about?”  Conference sessions cover ALL of the latest educational trends and topics, such as:

  • Google Earth
  •  iPads for Education
  • Free Web Tools
  • 21st Century Student Projects
  • Blogging
  • Google Maps
  • Podcasting
  • and more!

What are you waiting for?
Registration is free … but space is limited.  Don’t wait – Reserve your seat now before it’s too late!  Sign Up Here:

What’s not to love?!
No Travel.  No Registration Fees.  Lots of Fun. A Great Learning Opportunity. Need I say more?!

Help spread the word about this FREE, international online conference.  Tell as many educator friends and colleagues as you can!  Don’t let anyone miss out on this incredible learning opportunity!

See you there!


Elfishki and the Giant Cake

  Elfishki and the Giant Cake


There are a number of states in the US that have been following the Common Core Standards for a number of years, while others are just coming on board.  For those new to the Common Core Standards many are questioning what it might mean for how material is presented or how it compares to previous standards.  Common Core Standards are designed “to be robust and relevant to the real world, reflecting the knowledge and skills that our young audience needs in order to be successful.”  This level of success can come in any format and Kids iPhone Apps is making that possible via your iPad device running iOS 4.3 or later.  Recently launched in February of this year is a wonderful interactive book called Elfishki and the Giant Cake.  Whether you are an educator in a school or home setting or you are a parent trying to teach your child(ren) conscious reading skills, then this needs to be your next educational app download!

What Applicable2U loves about this development company is that their goal is to create not only captivating stories, but to apply their stories and illustrations as teaching tools.  As an educator just delving into the Common Core and how technology fits in, this review could not have come at a more appropriate time.  In order for our children to fully participate in today’s global community, we need to keep in mind the 4 C’s of 21st century skills (Creativity, Critical Thinking, Collaboration and Communication).  Elfishki and the Giant Cake is designed for children ages 6-9 and is supporting those 21st century skills just mentioned, exposes children to a familiar genre; fairy tales, myths and legends, and it integrates several Common Core Standards for English Language Arts along the way.

Come journey to Rainbow Island which is in the middle of Sparkling Sea and meet the adorable fairy tale creatures called Elfishkis.  Hear a wonderful story of how our main creatures or characters, Elfizz and Maggie are able to put their two worlds together and become friends, regardless of their differences.  As you enter this interactive, educational book app users will immediately notice the brilliant and crisp colors which makes the story images pop off the screen.  This original story can be experienced in English or in Russian as it is either read to you by a professional narrator or is read by the reader themselves.  Regardless of which is chosen, some young readers may even feel like they are apart of the board game Candy Land, with its magical feel, scrumptious candy and food all around.  With one or more simple taps, certain parts of each page will come to life as an animation.  Not only will objects and characters move, but each page has the reader stop and answer three questions before moving on with the story.  By implementing this feature, educators and parents will have opportunities to build a variety of academic skills such as:  comprehension check-ins, predictions, vocabulary building, discussion of story elements, points of view and to recall prior knowledge related to the information and events in the text.  A note to the developers – might it be possible to also offer new and more fluent readers the option to highlight words as it is read.

Elfishki and the Giant Cake can be implemented in a number of ways.  At times, reading for some is a challenge and not seen as fun.  When reading is differentiated for all learners, children’s academic attitudes will miraculously change.  If chosen to use in a classroom or home school environment, connect your iPad device to a large screen or projector and experience the wonderful world of the Elfishkis as a whole group.   As you navigate through your fairy tale genre unit, use Elfishki and the Giant Cake to support and reinforce what makes up a fairy tale.  Along the way stop and discuss connections, while implementing each pages guiding questions.  To enhance a readers creativity, have children create drawings or visions of what might happen next in the story or even an alternative choice that our main creatures could have taken.  In addition, Elfishki and the Giant Cake could also be used individually or in small groups.  If you walk into any classroom, children are usually in reading groups based on one’s reading level.  Some groups are larger than others and some are much smaller, this interactive book would be a wonderful addition to the school’s library.  Use Elfishki and the Giant Cake to spark communication, critical thinking and collaboration as they answer guided questions provided by the application. As the apps questions are shared, students might find that they have their own questions to share as well.

Applicable2U is pleased to have this interactive book apart of our iPad library.  There are so many books out their in hardcover, softcover and now as an app for your mobile device.  To know that while reading Elfishki and the Giant Cake your child(ren) or students will be building their love of reading, incorporating a number of academic needs and celebrating each others differences is well worth the $2.99 download.  To learn more about this and the other books that Kids iPhone Apps has to offer, please visit their website here.  Which character will you gravitate more towards, Elfizz or Maggie?  Download Elfishki and the Giant Cake to find out by simply clicking here.

eSkills Learning: Parts of Speech and Compound Words

Parts of Speech and Compound Words

Over the past several months, eSkills Learning has been hard at work to expand their collection of educational apps.  The eSkills Learning team have designed BINGO like apps that relate to core curriculum standards in the areas of: Language Arts, Reading Comprehension, Math and Algebra Video apps. Both Parts of Speech and Compound Words can be played on any Apple device running iOS 3.2 or later.  The applications may be pricey compared to other educational apps out on the market, however, the eSkills Learning team is devised of members with over 30 years of educational experiences.  Their goal is to motivate and challenge those using their applications.  The academic end results that a parent or teacher will see in their child or student after having played will be worth the download.  Through this game format, students won’t even realize that they are learning, reinforcing and reviewing for their next language arts lesson or even a state preparation exam.

What truly amazes Applicable2U about the integration of the eSkills Learning apps is how the use of a mobile device can change an educational setting while meeting a variety of standards.  In their About section of their website, they clearly indicate that the design of these two apps and all others were built with the Common Core Standards in mind.  When visiting the Common Core State Standards website, I came across a general key point under Languagethe standards expect that students will grow their vocabularies through a mix of conversations, direct instruction, and reading. The standards will help students determine word meanings, appreciate the nuances of words, and steadily expand their repertoire of words and phrases.” At each grade level, this key point will be met and will be developed upon over time. Through the use of various levels of difficulty and multiple ways of playing (single and multi-player and practice mode), each return BINGO experience can be different, without a sense of feeling that there is no reason to return. With a brief set of directions on each question, users will read a sentence and fill in the blank with one of three choices as they practice parts of speech and compounds words.  Both applications will challenge the user as they game for a reason. Below are some highlights of each application:

Parts of Speech 

  • Levels of Play – Nouns, Verbs, Adjectives, Pronouns, Adverbs, Prepositions, Conjunctions and Interjections
  • A collection of real world images that students can make connections too
  • Improve their visual discrimination skills as they locate pieces on a board
  • It is important to note that there will need to be pre-teaching/direct instruction done prior to using this application on definitions of the various parts of speech that the app will focus in on
  • Games are not timed during the single and practice mode to alleviate undue stress on the user(s)
  • Integration of multiple devices as they safely connect with one another via the devices Bluetooth
  • Practice mode gives the user control over how many questions they will need to answer.  There is no BINGO board in this mode of play.
  • Parts of Speech Lite version has 200 questions
  • Parts of Speech Full Classroom Version has 400 questions
  • Developer support is provided for parents and teacher in a Teacher’s Guide

Compound Words

  • Levels of Play – Locating the 2nd Half of the Compound Word – Easy Vocabulary, Locating the 1st Half of the Compound Word – Easy Vocabulary, Locating the 2nd Half of the Compound Word – Harder Vocabulary, Locating the 1st Half of the Compound Word – Harder Vocabulary
  • Through game play, users will be increasing their word recognition skills, the ability to look at words in many parts and the development of vocabulary as they listen, speak and write.
  • Compound Words Lite version has 100 compound word questions in total
  • Compound Words Full Classroom version has 400 compound word questions in total
  • Developer support is provided for parents and teacher in a Teacher’s Guide

Overall, Applicable2U continues to be pleased with the educational apps that eSkills Learning has to offer.  Depending on your child or students level of need in learning or reinforcing either of these two topics will determine the academic approach that will be taken.  For some it may be challenging, so working alongside a higher level partner might be useful so as to differentiate when needed.  A note to the developers, in a future update, might it be possible to include an option for the device to read sentences when necessary.  Although direct instruction will be provided, could users tap on an unknown part of speech, causing a help window to pop up for further support. Finally, within the practice mode, has your team thought about generating a short report which shows how that student did during that session.

If you would like to learn more about eSkills Learning, please visit their website here.  As mentioned in the brief overview of each application, there are two available versions.  When making this decision, do not look at the dollar value, look at how it will support and guide your child academically.  To begin adding Parts of Speech Full Class version to your iTunes library, simply click here.  To add Compound Words Full Classroom version to your iTunes library, simply click here.

Monkey and the Crocodile

 Monkey and the Crocodile
   by Kunal Desai

Our 125th review will be of a timeless Indian folktale called Monkey and the Crocodile.  An interactive story that shares a morale, incorporates friendly sounds and even has readers going on an animal fact finding game.  It is designed to be viewed on your Apple device that is running an operating system 3.0 or later. Currently, Monkey and the Crocodile is narrated in two languages: English and Hindi, however, if interested, developers are willing to incorporate additional languages. It is wonderful illustrated as the vibrant colors pop from each page. Come swing through the jungles as an innocent monkey tries to befriend a naughty crocodile.

This memorable Panchatantra classic was written by Niyaa and offers three ways to listen to this animal fable.   Similar to other interactive books, it allows readers to listen as the narrator tells the story and offers readers the option of reading independently.  At the bottom of each page is white box. To support all reading levels, we would love to see in a future update the use of highlighting words so readers can follow along with the story. With a simple tap of the arrow, pages can be navigated forwards and backwards.  A new feature that Applicable2U has not seen in other interactive books, is a something called “sleep time” mode.  Incorporating sleep time mode is a perfect addition to any families night time routine.  As you snuggle up for bed, turn down the lights and select the sleep time button.  In this mode, readers will feel as though they are listening to a book on tape as they envision the story in their mind.  At the completion of the story, parents and children can discuss and compare how they each interpreted the story. Applicable2U is impressed with this mode as it provides opportunities to think critically as users share each component of a story: characters, setting, plot, problem and resolution.

Monkey and the Crocodile also incorporates a puzzle like feature that can be viewed at your leisure or at the end of the story.  With a scene from the story, readers will need to find 6 hidden animal facts.  With a simple tap of the screen, a magical fact will appear providing the reader an interesting animal find.  What a great way to learn more about crocodiles and to develop scientific vocabulary (ie. amphibian, migrate, school of fish). If facts or specific words are difficult to understand, this too would open up the lines of communication between parent and child.   A note to the developers – might it be possible as the fact magically appears could the narrator read the animal fact.  In addition, we would love to see some visual count down mode that would indicate how many more facts need to be found.  With these two updates, all reading and learning styles will be accommodated.

Overall, Applicable2U enjoyed reading this classic Indian folktale.  Whether you are a parent or educator looking to teach a lesson or share a different genre of writing, then Monkey and the Crocodile would be a wonderful addition to your iTunes library.  To learn more about Niyaa, please visit their website here.  For a minimal download of .99¢, you too can see why Monkey and the Crocodile is considered a classic and is rated #2 and #3 as the top paid app in the Indian App Store by clicking here to access your iTunes library.