Felt Board for iPad

Felt Board for iPad

by Software Smoothie

As I follow my Twitter feed, one of the latest technology trends being “tweeted” about is the educational benefits of storytelling. It has been researched by many that storytelling is an excellent teaching strategy. Amazingly it can spark student interest as it helps children create vivid mental images while activating their thinking process. Storytelling can provide many opportunities to make connections to events and concepts as a way to better understand and recall information. As of late, several educators are incorporating a more differentiated form of instruction with the help of online resources. But with so many schools going the mobile device route, storytelling is once again changing. At the beginning of March, developers from Software Smoothie released Felt Board for iPad. Currently designed for your iPad device running iOS 4.3 or later, with an update coming for those with the iPad 3. Creatively tell a real or imaginary story with the help of felt like pieces.

Felt Board for iPad caused Applicable2U to recall a personal discussion that was had with a friend and parent at the beginning of the school year. This parent was told by her daughter’s kindergarten teacher that her daughter doesn’t associate the correct colors with items, objects or people. At such a young age, why does that matter? Can children not creatively envision things? Sad, but true in some educational settings. Happily we knew Felt Board for iPad had an alternative approach, just take a look at their application icon.

Upon entering this application, users will immediately get a craft like feeling as every aspect of this educational app is created with felt. Use your fine motor and hand-eye coordination skills to develop amazing stories as you tap, drag, drop, pinch and zoom pieces into a scene. Felt Board for iPad is a very user friendly application for children young and old. It is an application that encourages all learning styles as children can work collaboratively or independently. With an Apple like dock that can appear or disappear on the left hand side, storytellers will have access to eight categories of felt objects. Categories include a large selection of backgrounds, people, articles of clothing, animals, nature, letters and numbers. Also included on ones canvas is a recycle bin for unwanted items, a camera to screen shot stories and a bottle of glue to group objects as one.

Felt Board for iPad can be implemented at home and at school. Unlike other storytelling applications, this does not include a recording or a typing feature. Stories are told through objects only. It provides an alternative method of assessment for various learning styles. As you study and read a variety of genres like fairy tales, fiction or nursery rhymes, teachers or home schoolers could connect their device to a projector and share their creations. When projected on a large screen in small or large groups, children can verbalize their stories to classmates, parents or educators. Regardless of who creates the stories, this form of storytelling encourages further discussions on the elements of a story: characters, setting, plot and such. In addition, developers also encourage users to create stories that include letters and numbers. For example, users can spell and place their name on scenes created. If working on a “letter of the week” tell a story centered around that letter. An alternative option would be as children understand numbers, tell a number story. Your child or student(s) story becomes a visual story problem to reinforce appropriate grade level operations. A note to the developers – might it be possible to save scenes within the application in addition to storing in the photo gallery. Have you also thought about adding the option of multiple scenes? By offering a saving and multiple scene feature, users that may need an extension could then sequence their stories.

Overall, Applicable2U loves what Felt Board for iPad has to offer. We are looking forward to seeing and hearing it in action with our own child. For a simple download of $1.99, let the storytelling begin. Your child will begin to make connections, build their understanding of a book read or can just tell a story with their imagination and fun. If you would like to learn more about Software Smoothie please visit their website here.  As you drag and drop objects, magically feel the softness of your story as it develops and comes alive. To begin downloading Felt Board for iPad to your iTunes library click here. You won’t regret it!

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Buildo Museum Sticker Book

Buildo Museum Sticker Book

by JAJDO AB

A childhood memory of mine that I will never forget about was my infatuation with collecting stickers and storing them in a peel and seal photo album.  Stickers for Applicable2U was like collecting postcards from family vacations that we had been on.  Having these sticker books were my pride and joy that I shared with friends and family.  Back then stickers meant one thing only; were they scratch and sniff, fuzzy, or glittery? Today, sticker books mean so much more and JAJDO AB developers have brought back my childhood connection to all Apple devices running iOS 3.2 or later.  Recently launched and is currently free until February 6th, Buildo Museum Sticker Book can encourage children ages 1-9 to build their creative side as they manipulate Cartoon Network like stickers while they visit three imaginary museums. As the creativity develops, parents and/or educators can sit back and watch and observe.  More importantly, they can communicate with their student or child as they ask leading questions on the elements of their story: characters, setting, and a story line.

This concept of sticker book stories began with Buildo Rescue and Buildo History.  The story continues as Buildo Museum is the third book in the series.  Come jump into three virtual museums: a laboratory, art and historical museum.  Before the history can begin, it would important for young fingers to understand how to build and manipulate their creation(s).  Visit the “Mums and Dads’ Zone” in the upper right hand corner of the main menu.  Here storytellers will see how to play with their stickers as they observe the drag, flip, rotate and resize visuals. A note to the developers – might it be possible to click on these “how to play” icons that would allow users to practice each of these motions prior to entering a museum.  Although storytelling and creativity are the key concepts of the application, building and reinforcing ones fine motor skills is also very present.

There are a number of features that Applicable2U likes about this age appropriate app.  It provides users a large library of stickers as it applies to each museum that is chosen.  As the story begins to be built, users will hear unusual sound effects that stickers will make as it is placed into the scenery.  Let the fun begin as your child takes a grand tour of each museum. Visitors can swipe from left to right as they enjoy Buildo Museums panoramic feature. Stickers reside at the top and can be dragged on and off at any point.  To increase the viewing room, the sticker scroll bar at the top can be visible or invisible, simply click the double arrow button in the upper right.  If interested in museum hopping, select the bat icon in the upper left hand corner.  Some stories are a work in progress, so there is no need to panic that your creation needs to be finished on the first visit.  Scenes can be saved and deleted as needed.

Buildo Museum applies to a large age range.  Depending on ones age will determine how this application is used.  Early on, Buildo Museum can be used for simple sticker manipulation and fine motor development.  As children begin to develop their vocabulary, stickers are placed and verbal stories can be shared with parental prompting.  As visitors reach school age, the experience of Buildo Museum changes as they use their improved fine motor skills to alter stickers and to truly tell a story that has a beginning, middle and end. A note to the developers –  to maintain the interest of those older visitors, it might be interesting to add a speech bubble feature. Such a feature could be turned on/off possibly in the “Mums and Dads’ Zone.”  Having such an option could encourage a reading and writing skill of a character’s voice.  As a teacher, it might be interesting to see Buildo Museum used in a large group as the iPad device is connected to a large screen.  Prior to a writing lesson, the teacher could create a scene that is then shared with the whole group.  As the teacher walks through the museum, students could choose one area of the visit and begin storytelling.  Let the creativity, imagination and collaboration begin.

If you are interested in sparking your child or students level of creativity or to encourage writing in a more positive way, then you will want to take advantage of this free app TODAY!!!  To learn more about the Buildo Sticker Series and the JAJDO AB development group, then visit their website here.  Go on a creative and child friendly museum tour as you download Buildo Museum to your iTunes library here.