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.

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Woozzle Wood Puzzle for Toddlers

Woozzle Wood Puzzle for Toddlers

by Swan Soft

The moment you come home from the hospital with your bundle(s) of joy, your world completely changes. Your organized, clean, adult like home takes on a whole new persona from year to year. As your little one(s) grow, so do their toys. Amazingly, toys encourage children to manipulate, explore and imagine. No matter how they play and learn, toddlers and preschoolers will be building and reinforcing their vocabulary, making connections wherever they go. On a daily basis do you find random pieces, unsure as to where they belong? Well now you can control some of those pieces as your child(ren) plays on their mobile device.  From the developers of Swam Soft, Woozzle Wood Puzzles for Toddlers was recently updated for your Apple device running iOS 4.0 or later.  Have your toddler or pre-schooler piece back together 24 familiar objects from automobiles, food, animals and toys.

Put your real world Melissa and Doug puzzle boards into one interactive application.  Woozzle Wood Puzzle is very easy to navigate for the youngest of fingers.  Upon entering, users will be presented with a main menu filled with colorfully decorated wooden squares.  As puzzles are chosen by the user, they will magically break apart into several pieces.  With appealing sounds, your child will feel like they have just shaken, rattled and rolled their puzzle  apart.  Your “work table” screen will have an etched out image which your child must fill and match with colored pieces from the bottom.  Simply scroll, drag, and drop into place.  As pieces are dropped correctly they will lock into place.  However, if incorrectly placed they will bounce back to the bottom of the screen.  Your child will be amazed at how puzzle pieces will merge together as one as smiles light up their faces when they are verbally rewarded.  Verbal reinforcements can be set in 10 different languages ranging from English, French, Dutch, Japanese and Italian.  A note to the developers – as puzzles are built, might it also be possible to incorporate the spoken vocabulary word as well.  By integrating this into the application, users will be making both a visual and auditory connection through their manipulation.  Since Woozzle Wood Puzzle’s is also targeted towards pre-schoolers, we wondered if an option might be added to the “settings” which would allow users to shake their device, making sized pieces different.  Through this incorporation, users would begin to develop their critical thinking and problem solving skills.

Overall, Woozzle Wood Puzzles for Toddlers is engaging as it has a great deal of potential in future updates.  If you would like to learn more about the developers from Swan Soft, please visit their website here. Currently, Woozzle Wood Puzzles can be downloaded and added to your iTunes library of apps for .99¢ by simply clicking here. If your little one just can’t get enough Woozzle Puzzle time, then be sure to download their free coloring book as well here.

This review is also featured at Fun Educational Apps site.  Visit their site to read this and many more educational app reviews.

Kandoobi: Animal Edition

Kandoobi: Animal Edition

by Kandoobi

Has your child “kandoobi” lately?  Are you wondering what that even means?  If so, then it’s time to meet the next educational app developers from Kandoobi.  They are a development group designing apps so “kids can do” on their own or with the support of a parent.  They recently released Kandoobi: Animals Edition for all Apple devices running iOS 4.3 or later.  It is a creative application designed for toddlers and preschoolers.  This target audience love to manipulate and explore.  Well, now it is time to accomplish those two things as they encounter 100+ adorable animals all dolled up.  For $2.99 and one simple download, users will get their hands on four interactive games.   Whether you are playing at home, school or on the go, your child will soon be saying they “kando.” Kandoobi: Animal Edition encourages letter recognition, builds one’s creativity and imagination and allows users to manipulate and match animals from all types of environments.  Come fly, swim, slither or walk in order to have some fun!

Knowing the population that this educational app was designed for, developers have certainly created a very kid friendly navigation menu, intuitive tasks and buttons as directions are very short and sweet.  In addition, we immediately noticed how both verbal and visual representations were incorporated on the main menu as a way to support all learning styles. Whether your child is a toddler, preschooler or grade level, they want to hear or see words of encouragement.  Throughout each game, reinforcements are presented as auditory sounds such as: a bounce, pop or magical stars. As they game for a reason, users will certainly not be surprised or confused when they play the pre-installed games – Letters, Coloring, Scratch & Fill or Matching.

Letters –  Upon entering the first academic game, users are presented with a 6 page catalogue of animals to choose from. Whether the animal is known as a creature to fear or “ooh and ahh” over, illustrators have done a nice job at designing colorful and eye pleasing graphics with their wonderful expressions and unusual accessories. It is up to the user where they would like to begin.  As an animal is chosen, game play within Letters continues in order from that particular animal.   Immediately, users will notice that the screen is divided into three parts: draggable Scrabble pieces on the left, animal graphic on the right and its corresponding word at the bottom, grayed out.  It is up to the user to match those grayed out letters at the bottom with those Scrabble like pieces by simply dragging and dropping them into their correct places. If a Scrabble like piece is tapped, the narrator will announce that letters name. As users begin to recognize and match letters, it is also important to note that they do not have to be dropped in any particular order.  If letters are dropped incorrectly, they will bounce back.  Once the animal’s name is spelled, both letters and animal will animate across the screen.  Game play continues as the train drops off and introduces the next animal friend.

The next gaming option is Coloring which allows users to be creative as they learn various art skills.  As they color with Kandoobi: Animal Edition, children will build their vocabulary of color names while manipulating three writing utensils: a pencil, paint brush and an eraser.  Coloring exploration can occur in two ways, with those animals previously seen in the “animal catalogue” or as free choice.  Regardless of which is chosen, users are given a paint palette of both primary and secondary colors. Depending on a users age and creative need will determine if a thin lined pencil or a thick stroke of a paint brush is required for their coloring page.  If mistakes are made, no need to panic, developers have also included an eraser.  As coloring pages are complete, share them with others by simply tapping the button in the upper left hand corner, as it is saved to your devices camera roll.

Does your child or student have difficulty with their fine motor skills, but love to be creative?  Then, the next gaming option of Scratch & Fill is just what you are looking for. Scratch & Fill does not require users to stay within the lines, simply swipe your finger from left to right, up and down and the colors will come alive within the picture. The last gaming feature called Matching is one that has children manipulating with puzzles.  At the top of the screen users will see an outline of an animal.  While at the bottom of the screen are three choices.  The goal is to simply drag, drop and match the correct animal puzzle piece.

Kandoobi: Animal Edition is very academically appropriate for this age level.  It provides just the right amount of repetition, supports ones creativity, and allows for independence.  It is an educational app that disguises learning as fun.  To learn more about the Kandoobi development group be sure to visit their website here.  If you are looking to stimulate your child’s need for creativity and imagination, then begin downloading Kandoobi: Animal Edition to your iTunes library by simply clicking here.

This review and many others are featured on Fun Educational Apps, AppStar Picks and iear.org

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.

Animated Puzzles

Animated Puzzles

by Alexandre Minard © AR Entertainment

And so our review tonight continues with our “learning is fun” series from AR Entertainment as we travel across the world building puzzles to learn about animals, their habitats and the geography that surrounds them. With colorful graphics, Animated Puzzles turns your Apple device into a virtual wooden board as pieces are zipping around their environment while offering a 2 dimensional feel. Travel across the continents of North and South America, get a little chilly in the Arctic, dive deep into the Atlantic and Indian Ocean and explore what Africa, Australia, and Asia have to offer. Animated Puzzles is designed for all Apple devices running iOS 3.0 or later, however, for those implementing it with an iPad device, it works best with the latest operating system. Like all other “learning is fun” app collections, Animated Puzzles is initially a free download offering young builders two animals, a penguin and a camel. To extend their animal adventures seven additional animals can be unlocked with an in-app purchase of $1.99. Animated Puzzles has a great deal of potential as it enhances visual and spatial skills and works on one’s hand-eye coordination.

Upon entering this educational app, users will be presented with a map of the world as satellites hone in on particular parts of the world. Simply tap an unlocked animal and piece their environment back together. In a future update, we would love for users to hear the animals name when tapped prior to entering their environment. This would provide the target audience more exposure to new vocabulary. Environments will initially appear dull and boring, as it is your goal to drag and drop the colored images to their correct place. Each puzzle contains anywhere from 10-15 pieces. But be warned that parts of the wooden environment will move. By selecting one piece of the puzzle you will make all other pieces invisible, making it slightly easier to locate where that piece belongs. By locking all animals, plants and geography into place, users will make the environment come to life. As you navigate and learn about animals all over the world and ocean, users will find it very easy to navigate from one location to another. However, as we manipulated certain puzzles we found that the animation was rather fast and at times very busy. A note to the developers – might it be possible to incorporate a scroll bar feature at the bottom of each environment that would allow users to slow down or speed up those pieces that are animated. By adding this feature, children of all learning styles and needs can be successful without frustration. Whether you travel to one or all locations, puzzles can be repeated at any time.

Animated Puzzles is designed for children ages 2-6 and as most parents know their little sponges are looking for any new knowledge that they can. This educational app can be incorporated in a number of ways. For the early toddler population, it’s about having fun with animals as they build, manipulate and develop their fine motor skills. In doing so, they can most certainly be independent learners. As children near the preschool age, the question and need for information develops. With parent interaction and conversation, children could discuss animal names as they compare and contrast the different environments. For those nearing school age, they are capable of doing all of the above, however, I think they might like an added feature. In a future update, might it be possible as the environment comes to life that a WOW fact is presented and read aloud. It could be a feature that is turned on/off when necessary and with each return visit to an environment a new fact is learned.

Overall, Applicable2U liked Animated Puzzles. To gain the fullest potential and possibilities of return visits around the world, users will want to have access to the full version. Yes, having seven additional animals to build and play with is great, however, Applicable2U believes it needs a little bit more. Possibly some of our suggestions will come in handy. As mentioned in our previous post, to learn more about AR Entertainment and Animated Puzzles, please visit their website here. To set off on your animal travels of the world today, simply click here to add Animated Puzzles to your iTunes library.