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.

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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.