Ansel and Clair Cretaceous Dinosaurs

Ansel and Clair Cretaceous Dinosaurs

by Cognitive Kid

Like most parents or educators we want to share and explore the world with our children, but it may not necessarily be to places that we can easily get too. Instead of getting on an airplane or driving a car, children can now take part in a virtual field trip to just about anywhere. Has your early elementary student had a chance to explore the Africa desert with virtual friends, Ansel and Clair? Around this time last year, Cognitive Kid launched Ansel and Clair’s Adventures in Africa for your iPad device but as of late has added the ability to explore and visit Africa via your iPhone device as well. We were impressed with this series then and are excited to share that a new virtual experience has been added to their collection list, Ansel and Clair Cretaceous Dinosaurs for your iPad device. This is the first in a trilogy series of Ansel and Clair Adventures which focuses on exploring different dinosaur periods: Triassic, Jurassic and Cretaceous. Come visit an official dig site, ask questions of a paleontologist as your son or daughter interacts with their mobile device. As your child or student explores the cretaceous period they will travel back in time with adorable characters and a “zippy” spaceship to broaden their knowledge and build their vocabulary while having a ton of fun!

This educational app could not have come at a more appropriate time in our household. My 6 year old son had library today and what type of book did he come home with…an encyclopedia of dinosaurs. A book which has 127 pages, he worried that we might not be able to finish the book in time before having to return it to his school library. His worry was quickly put to ease when I mentioned our recent download, Ansel and Clair Cretaceous Dinosaurs to my iPad device. It is an educational app which puts your child at the center of it all. Simply borrow a fossil from Dr. Lindy Bones in order to get your spaceship moving around the world. While spinning the globe, see what the world looked like before it was broken into the continents that we know today. As your child embarks on this imaginative and educational adventure, join Ansel and Clair as they go beneath the ground to find more fossils of the cretaceous period while reinforcing various fine motor skills. Tap with one or two fingers or swipe from side to side in order to explore and play. In doing so, your child(ren) or students will feel as though they have a chisel, hammer or brush at their finger tips. Once all the tools have been used and the fossil is revealed, piece the dinosaur back together like a puzzle and see the environment where such dinosaurs as: Tyrannosaurus Rex, Velociraptor, Kosmoceratops and Oviraptor lived billions of years ago. Hold on tight, because here we go!

As your child(ren) or student(s) go on this adventure they will become critical thinkers with the help of Ansel and Clair. Your elementary students earth science unit or textbook just stepped into the 21st century. Developers have included a great deal of support through both visual and verbal directions. Those items on a page which provide factual information are clearly marked with a magnifying play button or checkmark. In addition, many of the dinosaur names are challenging for our target audience or even an adult to say, so developers have also included a syllable break down just underneath each reptiles name. Since this is like no other journey, your child will be equipped with a backpack which has all the essentials, a camera and a journal. Take as many pictures as you would like, however, your journal does have certain requirements. A note to the developers – might it be possible at the completion of ones journal to be able to tap on pictures within those pages, as a way to share new information or even a recall quiz like question(s) for comprehension. Ansel and Clair do an amazing job at sharing new information and building your child’s vocabulary, the opportunities for extended conversations and further investigation are amazing. As they learn and develop their filing system of knowledge, your child will also be interacting with those from the cretaceous period as they collect stickers, see a volcano erupt, watch a meteor show and care for Maiasaura’s eggs.

Overall, we loved this first in the series dinosaur application, Ansel and Clair Cretaceous Dinosaurs and look forward to learning more about the Jurassic and Triassic periods in the coming months. Whether you have a little paleontologist on your hands or need to spruce up your earth science unit, the educational apps that Cognitive Kid have to offer are worth the download. With all the information that is shared however, we would love to see in a future update the incorporation of speech bubble that highlight as each character reads. With this differentiation, Ansel and Clair’s Dinosaur Adventure scientific application will be able to support all learning styles along their travels.

If you would like to learn more about Cognitive Kid, please visit their website here. To start digging on your first archeological adventure, simply click here to download Ansel and Clair Cretaceous Dinosaurs to your iTunes library for $1.99 today!

This review will be featured on Fun Educational Apps site along with many other detailed reviews.

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Butterfly HD

Butterfly HD

by Sprout Labs

About a month ago Applicable2U was introduced to those at Sprout Labs. A development group interested in exposing elementary students to those things living in your own backyard. Earlier this year, they launched Plants HD which guides budding botanists to developing their understanding of the life cycle of a plant. As of late, Sprout Labs is once again making science happen at the palm of your hands with their recent launch of Butterfly HD. This educational app is designed for those with an iPad running iOS 4.3 or later. With a quality WIFI connection, see one of the most beautiful transformations of life through text, videos and photos. Does your life science unit need some improving? Are you a school district or classroom environment leading towards mobile devices for learning? Worried that you might not be meeting standards or benchmarks while integrating technology? When implementing those educational apps from Sprout Labs, these questions and concerns are all put to ease as it meets Common Core State Standards and the needs of different learning domains.

As you “play to learn” with your mobile device, see one of the most beautiful day-flying insects, a butterfly, evolve from an  egg – caterpillar – chrysalis – and finally a butterfly. Like Plants HD, upon entering this life science application, each stage of a butterflies life is a link to a wealth of information.  To put your educator’s mind at ease, click the “scholar’s hat” in the upper right hand corner.  This is an added feature with their recent launch, indicating how this educational app correlates to state science standards for those in Kindergarten to Grade 2.  In addition, it also shares how the Common Core State Standards are met in Reading for Informational Text, Craft and Structure, Integration of Knowledge and Ideas, and Range of Reading and Level Text Complexity for K-5.

Butterfly HD is a very professional looking, easy to navigate application.  What Applicable2U loves about the applications from Sprout Labs is their ability to meet all learning styles.  Children learn effectively when material is presented in a particular hierarchy or learning domain.  This hierarchy is called Bloom’s Taxonomy.  Bloom’s Taxonomy is much like the food chain in its design, a triangle.  Each level of the triangle represents a level of thinking that as teachers we want our students to progress.  The lowest three levels are: knowledge, comprehension, and application.  While the highest three levels are: analysis, synthesis and evaluation.  As your child reads, listens, answers and witnesses science through the application of Butterfly HD, this hierarchy of learning will be present.

Some might compare Butterfly HD like a textbook and can be presented in a variety of formats: individually, in small or large groups. This will depend on the number of devices available and the needs of your students.  Each stage of the life cycle is presented in a similar manner.  On one side of the page is the informational content which shares a few lines of text or paragraphs at a time.  Information that is to be introduced or reinforced can be read in two ways, by the reader themselves or narrated for them.  If choosing to have it read, an underlining feature will appear line by line.  To the left of the text are pictorial flashcards representing that stage of the butterflies life cycle for deeper connections and reinforcement.  At the bottom of the page, developers have included a “Did You Know?” scrolling feature of WOW or interesting facts.  You will be amazed at what your child(ren) will recall and share after they have explored.  In addition to the scrolling flashcards, a digital camera of images is also included which gives an even more up close and personal connection to the life cycle of a butterfly.  Taking it one step further, educational videos are also available.

At the completion of each stage put your knowledge to the test by simply clicking the “pop quiz” button in the upper left hand corner.  Questions have been organized based on Bloom’s Taxonomy of learning.  With each correct answer, users are rewarded with a coin.  As a certain amount of coins have been earned, a new level of learning is unlocked.  Of course, as levels are unlocked, questions will become more challenging.   While playing in the pop quiz mode, Applicable2U wondered how the results would be shared.  By going through all stages of Bloom’s Taxonomy, users are given the number of correct questions out of a total.  Depending on the results will determine of a follow up is necessary.  A note to the developers – is it possible to design some kind of a progress report which indicates which level/question of Bloom’s Taxonomy the user struggled the most with?

Overall, Applicable2U would give Butterfly HD two thumbs up!  If you have an elementary student, then this educational app is applicable to you.  It’s time to clear out the shelves of the old hardcover science textbooks and replace it with the newer mobile version.  If you would like to learn more about Sprout Labs, please visit their website here.  For $1.99, you too can alter your life science unit or enhance your child’s love of learning with Butterfly HD by simply clicking here.

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.

Builda the Re-Bicycler

Builda the Re-Bicycler

By Midlandia Press

As an educator or parent how do you raise awareness of Earth Day? Earth Day began back on April 22, 1970 and has certainly come a long way in 42 years. Sadly our this educational review is coming after the fact, however, environmental awareness should be celebrated year round and sharing how available teaching resources come in a multitude of ways. What is your school, community or home doing to help our environment? Whether your classroom or garage has those infamous blue bins which are used to separate paper, plastics or glass, generations young and old know of the 3 R’s symbol of recycle, reuse and reduce. Interactive book apps are truly making their mark for purposes of improving ones reading skills, but they can also be used to make personal connections and inform the reader. Recently launched to the App Store is Builda the Re-Bicycler from the developers of Midlandia Press. This thought provoking book is part of a series called “Tales of Midlandia” and can be viewed online or in print. It is currently designed for your iPad device running iOS 4.3 or later and has a great deal of hidden gems.

Come meet the star of the show, Builda O. Bobo. She is a bike factory owner who helps community members but also comes to realize that she can help in so many other ways. With characters like those seen in a familiar PBS show, Arthur. The characters seen in Midlandia take on both human and animal like qualities.  Builda the Re-Bicycler is equipped with a number of Applicable2U’s favorites: highlighted text, the option to read in a variety of ways, interaction with pages and the best part – discussion questions.  A book which is normally viewed in print is now coming to life in the palm of your hands  as it is very user friendly, has beautifully illustrated images, along with clever sounds and music.  Whether you are reading at home or connected to a large screen projector in school, our friends from the town of Midlandia will spark a great deal of conversation as lessons are learned or reinforced.  For years, things were done a certain way in the town of Midlandia and it’s time to step outside the box.  Your child or student will see new words that are created and connected in a whole new way.

As we explored this interactive book we wanted to learn more about those at Midlandia Press.  By selecting the menu button at the bottom of the screen, we noticed the “info” option.  It was here that we learned how to best manipulate the book, but we also learned of a hidden secret.  Without giving away too much, Applicable2U will ask, “How many hidden items will you find?”  If you would like to learn more about Builda the Re-Bicycler or any of the other books in the series, please visit their website here. For just a $1.99, you too can get this book installed on your iPad device in a matter of minutes, just simply click here.  It’s a story you just don’t want to miss!

Plants HD

  Plants HD

by Sprout Labs

As we near our 180th review, Applicable2U is excited to share our next educational app as it is both teacher and student centered. To date, many of our reviews can be categorized as interactive books, math, spelling, language arts, and reading. We are excited to say that today, we are reviewing a science application for those budding botanists. As our third grade curriculum states, inquiry and investigations are embedded in all domains. With the help of your mobile device, developers from Sprout Labs have designed Plants HD for your iPad running iOS 4.3 or later. Through their exploration, students will get their hands dirty as they develop their Life Science repertoire while identifying the function of plant parts and observing and describing the life cycle of a plant. Plants HD provides students in a classroom and home school environment the opportunity to learn through hearing and seeing. In addition, students will put that knowledge to work in a multiple choice quiz. Come learn as an individual or in a group, regardless, it’s applicable to you!

Game play immediately begins as you enter this educational, scientific app. Life Science revolves around a pattern or cycle of life. What does the life cycle of a plant look like? Become familiar with key vocabulary such as; seeds, dispersal, germination, plants/trees, flowers, pollination and fruit. Scan your eyes around the interactive graphic cycle and put your memory to the test by clicking “play”. Your goal is to drag and drop each scientific term to its correct place in the cycle. Through verbal reinforcements, students will be cheered for correct answers or told to try again if incorrect. Every time the play button is struck, graphic pieces will be placed in a new spot. So now your child(ren) or student(s) know the order of the plant life cycle, but what does it all mean?

As an educator, begin your plant unit with the integration of Plant HD. Connect your iPad device to a large screen or projector and zoom in on the highly interactive content. Get an in-depth look at each part of the plant life cycle. Shuffle through a photo deck of cards as you make connections to the professionally narrated and underlined scientific text that can be paused for further conversations and reflection. Content is not overwhelming in its presentation as information is shared in a scrolling text box. This allows users to hone in on smaller sections of information. Through our exploration, we noticed when more challenging vocabulary was presented, a simpler explanation or definition was connected to it. For example, if the word “emerge” was not apart of your child’s vocabulary, it is then explained immediately afterwards with the word “show”. This is a nice feature for those emerging readers. Knowledge is extended one step further, as developers have included a “Did You Know” section which is made up of a scrolling WOW facts cloud and can be found in each part of the plant life cycle. A few notes to the developers – as students make reflections and share, it would be would great if they had access to a highlighting feature. This highlighting feature would allow students to highlight details which answer questions asked by their parent or educator. Such highlighted items could then be saved to a scientific journal which could be viewed like a study guide. We also wonder if the “Did You Know” facts could be read aloud as well for those needing it. If working independently, some words may appear more challenging to read or comprehend.

As cycles are understood, then it is time to check your understanding of content while having fun!
Read each question and their choices independently or with the support of an adult. Carefully review each choice, if necessary return back to the informational page in order to find its answer in the text. Quizzes are broken down into three levels: easy, intermediate and advanced, however, initially only the easy level is accessible. To unlock the intermediate and advanced questions, users must successfully answer questions as they collect coins.

Our third graders observe the life cycle of a Wisconsin Fast Growing Plant while journaling observations and graphing its growth spurts over several weeks. Students are given a hands on experience by taking their seeds and planting them in a small container of soil and watching it grow by the powers of sunlight and illuminated lamps. Students will measure their plants height and make observations of the scientific changes. This hands on experiment is wonderful, but are they truly grasping the plant’s life cycle. Can they be like scientists and apply or describe terms? Can they prove themselves as plant experts?

For those classrooms or homes equipped with an iPad devices(s), children can become life science experts while exploring and implementing Plants HD. An educational app that is very user friendly, differentiated in its presentation, is highly motivating and fun! For only $1.99, your life science unit just got an upgrade into the digital world. To learn more about Sprout Labs, please visit their website here. It is time to step out of the old and into the new as you add Plants HD to your iPad device today by simply clicking here.