Compare a Twist for iPad

Compare a Twist for iPad

by App of Approval, LLC

For the last few weeks, Applicable2U has taken a brief hiatus from educational app reviewing, but is now back in full swing as we spin things up with pin wheels and tornadoes. You might be thinking that our next review has something to do with science, in fact, it has to do with all curricular areas. Recently launched at the beginning of April was Compare a Twist by developers, App of Approval. Currently, it is designed only for your iPad device running iOS 4.2 or later. It is an educational app appropriate for a large population of learners and ability levels. Whether you are a student in kindergarten or an individual wrapping up their high school years, you are expected to understand the concept of comparing and contrasting. Come reinforce these essential skills when your iPad device is connected to a large screen projector, used individually or as a center activity. Initially, Compare a Twist is installed with 5 lessons, ranging from Art to Social Studies. Creative twists or lessons can be imported or added to devices making your experience of comparing and contrasting a challenge with each return visit. No two devices equipped with Compare a Twist necessarily looks the same. It’s time to personalize and share your learning environment to meet your specific classroom needs.

Upon entering Compare a Twist, users will immediately notice its simple, but very effective design. Game building and play occurs at your finger tips. Whether you are learning in a large or small group, your main objective is to drag and drop items to its correct pin wheel or tornado cloud. Clouds are academically labeled as the similarity or the difference. Your pin wheel or tornado will blow in multiple options at the bottom. Learners, young and old are to tap choices and drop them into their correct cloud. If incorrect, items will bounce back to the bottom. However, if correct, users will earn a point as indicated in green. As your pin wheel or tornado stops blowing, users are given a success indicator. This indicator will appear as a bar graph stating the percentage correct and the percentage where help was needed. A note to the developers – is it your hope in a future update to expand upon this bar graph to share with educators or parents those areas needing support. By sharing this information, it can inform further instruction.

Although there are no narrated words, an educator, home schooler or parent will intuitively know what to do. Simply choose between two icons, a cog wheel or a play button. The cog wheel icon will allow users to review, delete or edit default lessons.  As mentioned earlier, there are currently only 5 lessons (Art, Mammals, Math, Plants or Animals, and Presidents of the United States). Users might think, why did I bother spending $2.99 to download. There are a number of reasons why your download was a good one. There are a number of conversations being had via social media networks and in schools as to why mobile devices should be implemented at the district level or within a classroom setting. There are so many questions going back and forth between teachers and administration. Is it truly worth the money? How can tablets make a difference in ones education? As most educators and parents know, there are a number of educational apps in the App Store that are truly effective, but how many allow you to basically make the app your own.

Making Compare a Twist applicable to you is very easy and can be accomplished in two ways. Within in a matter of minutes, even seconds new lessons can be built and stored on your device. Simply click the “new” button where you will be asked to fill out a form. This basic form will ask for a lesson title, two categories, choices and their answer. Once saved, it can be edited as needed and is immediately accessible for game play. Did you forget to bring your iPad home? No worries!! New lessons can also be created via your Google account while using your desktop or laptop computer. From your Google account, open a new form. Forms or lessons need to have two categories and their appropriate answers in each cell. Once saved to your account, open Compare a Twist on your iPad device, click the cog wheel and log into your Google account. Documents created will appear as a list and can be imported for future game play.  This is a great implementation of true integration of technology into ones curriculum.

As Applicable2U reviewed the App of Approval website, we were pleased to see that they will be encouraging those using Compare a Twist to share their newly designed lessons via their website library. By sharing one’s educational wealth of knowledge as mobile devices are implemented is critical and App of Approval is beginning to make that happen. The potential that Compare a Twist has for your iPad device is very exciting and we look forward to future updates and how others are implementing and building in the classroom. We love the idea of not recreating the educational wheel.  Education is about sharing best practices and resources without a cost.

If you would like to learn more about App of Approval, please visit their website here. Spin around and reinforce a variety of essential academic skills as you play with Compare a Twist. It can be downloaded to your iTunes Library by simply clicking here.

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.

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.

Caboose: Learn Patterns and Sorting with Letters, Numbers, Shapes and Colors

Caboose: Learn Patterns and Sorting with Letters,      Numbers, Shapes and Colors

by AtReks

As our train nears 170 reviews, we are excited to hop on the recently updated educational app, Caboose: Learn Patterns and Sorting with Letters, Numbers, Shapes and Colors by developer AtReks. Your train conductor, a sweet looking dinosaur will offer you two tickets, one that will have you traveling around the United States as you learn about patterns and another that will take you across Europe where your little one will sort items and build their vocabulary.  Go on this amazing journey as it was built to work on all Apple devices running iOS 4.0 or later. Which ticket will your toddler, preschooler or kindergartener take first?  With their recent update, Caboose has implemented a wonderful new menu screen.  The graphics and organization has truly improved since our last exploration and why our readers need to be aware of these updates and how it is applicable to you!

Prior to becoming a first class passenger, it is important that an educator or parent explore the “cog” wheels or options menu in the upper right hand corner.  Your train experience can drastically change as it meets your child’s learning needs.  Within this menu, parents and educators will see how pattern content and type can be altered as it meets a number of academic needs.  If your child struggles with certain fine motor skills, set the answer selection to either a tap or a drag/drop motion.  As they cross new and unusual things, provide hints and select content that is appropriate to your specific child or student.  Regardless of where the tracks may take them, verbal support and reinforcement is very evident.  With the accommodations made by the developers, your child’s mobile learning experience can be done alongside a parent or independently.

Travel by day and night as you piece together the tracks that will take you from the northeast all the way to the upper regions of the western part of the United States with every correct answer.  Children will experience and reinforce six different types of patterns which are taught in the early elementary years.  These various patterns, A-B, A-A-B, A-B-C will be incorporated with learning upper/lower case letters, shapes, colors and sounds.  Visit some of the most famous landmarks like the Statue of Liberty, White House, and the San Francisco Bridge as you learn about patterns.  A note to the developers – as the train leaves a location, might it be possible to fill in the icon on the map so children can make a real world picture connection.  We see it as another learning opportunity and possible conversations with your student or child.  Another  possible suggestion would be at the end of their trip across the United States, might they be able to make their own pattern thus showcasing what they learned.

Extend your travels now across the world to Europe as you hop on the back of a moving train and learn to sort items and build your vocabulary.  Applicable2U was really impressed with this first class passenger experience.  Developers included a number of support features that we really found useful.  For example, it integrated in the upper left hand corner a “wifi” like symbol that when tapped repeated missing directions and visually explained the necessary sorting order as well.  Through tapping of objects, reinforcing key words like “the largest, the smallest, and medium”,  and color coding for answers that are correct or incorrect, children are guided and supported from beginning to end.  When necessary such features can be turned off as users become more comfortable with the content and skill.

Applicable2U gives Caboose two thumbs up! It meets our approval for gaming with a reason.  With a very interactive and engaging design, your child will be learning and having fun at the same time.  If you would like to learn more about AtReks and the other educational apps that they have available, please visit their website here.  With a simple $1.99 download, Caboose can be added to your iTunes library by clicking here.

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!