iLearn With – Planet Boing HD

iLearn With – Planet Boing! HD

by Tribal Nova

As we near our 200th educational app review, we are pleased to share with our readers the latest and greatest things that development group, Tribal Nova has to offer your preschooler to kindergartener. Tribal Nova is no stranger to the app world, with several iLearn With educational series already on the market: Seasons, Counting & Addition, and Mighty Jungle Animals. In each, users play and learn alongside kid friendly characters, Poko, Bibi, Babu and Mr. Murphy. As of late, this friend list is growing as your child visits the Planet Boing. Planet Boing HD is like the “hub station” that connects all the educational series in one central location as it tracks and reports your child’s progress. As your child builds essential skills in math, science, language and literacy to name a few, they will be encouraged and rewarded through a variety of game break type activities. As our own resident expert explored, all we could hear were “hoops, hollers and oh ya’s”. Planet Boing HD is a free download to your iPad device and runs on those devices with an iOS of 4.0 or later.

Upon entering Planet Boing HD, parents or educators will want to establish an account, a total of four can be created. Each account is associated with an avatar or icon and that child’s birthday. Depending on the number of devices in a school or home environment, the ability to switch accounts is very easy. Planet Boing HD was designed to meet the academic needs of children ages 3-6, but it also meets the “gaming for a reason” requirements of both parents and educators. From the main menu of Planet Boing HD, children are able to see not only their avatar but a colored tracking bar. This indicates their success based on those academic skills experienced. In addition, a new reporting feature is now associated with most iLearn With educational app series. An adorable eye winking bumble bee indicates that a particular series is connected to Planet Boing HD. Parents and educators can now see how their child(ren) are virtually growing while they play with Poko, Bibi, Mr. Murphy and their friends from Ice Land Adventures, a new literacy application now available. See what is “buzzing” around as your child games for a reason. The iLearn With “academic trees” are currently broken into four categories: Math, Literacy, Science and Language. Branches of each of these trees indicates which games will reinforce specific skills. By simply selecting a section of a branch, additional information is provided of those skills played/not played and the user’s level of success. If an educator or parent feels that a particular skill needs reinforcing, users can immediately access it by clicking the play button.

Whether your child is developing their understanding of phonics, letters, days of the week, weather, numbers or operations, a little “down time” is always a nice reward. Such down time would be to design your very own alien within Planet Boing HD. Aliens can be customized in a variety of ways through a roller deck of options. Such options include: altering their aliens hands, feet, eyes, nose, and accessories. Initially this roller deck is pre-installed with items, but to increase those options, users must play within the iLearn With educational app series. At an early age, they will be learning that you can’t get something for nothing! By simply tapping a needed item, users are then connected to a particular iLearn With app series. Through leveled progress activities in science, math and literacy, users will earn or unlock new customizations. Once items are earned, users can then go on a psychedelic like ride as they zip along the planet’s floor to unknown places in the sky.

At this time, Planet Boing HD is linked in with reporting features to the following iLearn With series:

iLearn With Poko: Seasons is an application which develops ones vocabulary as your child learns the essentials to the seasons and weather. Here are the skills that will be uncovered.

✔ Game 1: Weather conditions – Learn to distinguish seasons and weather conditions by comparing different pictures.
✔ Game 2: What to wear – Find Poko and Bibi’s clothes and objects that do not fit weather conditions.
✔ Game 3: Days and activities – Explore week days and match the right activities to the weather conditions.

iLearn With Poko: Addition is an application which encompasses both numbers and early addition facts. Here are the skills that will be uncovered.

✔ Game 1: Bowling – Count and add up to 6 bowling pins by playing with Poko and Minus.
✔ Game 2: Building blocks – Help Poko, Bibi and Minus group sets of blocks and learn to add up to 10.
✔ Game 3: Poko’s toys – Find all the objects Poko is looking for in his room and learn to add up to 15.

iLearn With Ice Land Adventures is the newest addition to the iLearn With series and builds your child’s knowledge of letters, phonics and words.

✔ Game 1: Letters – Learn upper-case and lower-case letters as well as their names.
✔ Game 2: Phonics – Compose syllables by combining vowels and consonants.
✔ Game 3: Words – Spell words by placing letters in the correct order.

As you can see Tribal Nova has been hard at work to make their educational apps meet the needs of our school age children. Through vibrant graphics, familiar characters as seen on TV, clear and concise directions, a great deal of repetition and reinforcements, your child will be saying “iLearned With” and had fun while do so. Overall, we love the recent updates and additions that Tribal Nova has offered to our iPad device. In the coming weeks, see additional branches of learning that will be offered on Planet Boing HD. The three iLearn With series briefly mentioned above can be downloaded to your iTunes library for $2.99, however, keep your eyes open for future sale prices. To learn more about Tribal Nova, please visit their website here. If you are interested in making a full educational connection and management system for your child’s learning, then be sure to add Planet Boing HD to your device today by simply clicking here.

A disclaimer that should be shared with my readers is that Applicable2U was a part of the pedagogical design of iLearn With – Ice Land Adventures HD and Planet Boing HD.

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My First Words

My First Words: The Complete Collection

by Alexandre Minard © A&R Entertainment

Well it’s Sunday and our weekend series review of the “learning is fun” educational apps by AR Entertainment has come to an end. We chose to conclude our weekend series with My First Words: The Complete Collection for your iPad device running iOS 3.2 or later. For a $1.99, users will have access to three categories: animals, food and colors which is stocked with a large collection of words. Within each category, children ages 2-7 can be challenged to spell various words as there are three levels of difficulty. It is important to note that levels progress based on one’s learning needs as users will find their academic supports changing. Learn to spell new words or just reinforce those that you already know in upper or lower case and script. Flip through colorful animal graphics and make connections through a sound. With every splash of color, learn how the spelled word is similar to something else, like an alien or a flower. During each experience your child will learn to arrange letters from left to right as letters pronounced will make more than 50 new words.

My First Words: The Complete Collection is very intuitive and easy to navigate for our young target audience. Children will have an amazing experience as they learn of new animals that they may not see or hear in their backyard, food yet to be tasted and manipulation of colored words as they play with them on paper. AR Entertainment chose to take a spelling approach not with phonics, but rather by letter recognition. As we explored, we noticed words ranging from 3-6 letters in length. The goal of this educational app is to arrange scrabble like letter pieces by dragging and dropping them into place. Interactive spelling screens provide users with an image, a fill in the blank area and lettered tiles. As each letter is tapped, it is pronounced for users. If letters are picked and dragged in the appropriate order, then users will be rewarded with an animation, stars. If users do not see a star animation, then letters were not correctly arranged from left to right. In addition we also noticed that each level provided a different type of academic support as children spelled their way through levels 1-3.

Level 1 – is the introduction level as the “spelling area” indicates how to spell each given word. Users must simply match each letter into place.

Level 2 – is the first of the challenge levels as the “spelling area” no longer provides hints. Users will notice repetition of words seen in level 1 and are expected to recall how to spell each word. If letters are not arranged correctly, they will fall back into the letter line up. Level 2 is users first experience with the importance of reading and spelling from left to right.

Level 3 – is the final challenge. During this round, users will once again see those words from Level
1 and 2. It is important to note that level 3 will not provide users with any hints, users can drag and drop letters as they see fit. Once all letters are arranged, those that were correctly placed will not move. Whereas those letters that were incorrectly placed will fall back down. Thus allowing the user to try again.

As you exit this educational app, those words spelled are not saved to the device. Each return visit starts fresh, making My First Words: The Complete Collection a nice addition to a classroom setting or home environment. As you learn and have fun with My First Words, reinforce letters of the alphabet and see the importance of letter arrangement as a way to spell new words while developing your vocabulary. Although this educational app does not focus in on phonetic spelling, users who are familiar with that approach may want to apply it when necessary. If you have enjoyed our educational series this weekend, then you will want to visit AR Entertainment’s website by simply clicking here. If you have a toddler, preschooler or kindergartener looking to play with words, then download My First Words: The Complete Collection by clicking here to access it from your iTunes library today.

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.

My First Puzzles: The Alphabet

My First Puzzles: The Alphabet

by Alexandre Minard © AR Entertainment

Tonight we continue our series of reviews from developers at AR Entertainment.  The next in our line up is part of the “learning is fun” educational puzzle collection called My First Puzzles: The Alphabet. As Applicable2u plays the role of both a parent and an educator, I began introducing my son to what we thought were age appropriate “academic” things (ie. colors, letters, shapes) during his toddler years.  Unfortunately the approach that we took wasn’t what our son wanted.   When we wanted to practice “academic” things,  he wanted nothing to do with learning thus putting frustration on all parties.  So the traditional way of teaching was put on hold and we chose to go another route, to make learning fun.  When learning is seen as fun, the desire and curiosity builds.  If only we had the “learning is fun” educational collection at the palm of our hands several years ago.

While playing My First Puzzles: The Alphabet, listen to calming music on your Apple device running iOS 3.0 or later and manipulate small and large puzzle pieces in order to build and match letters.  As letters are correctly built, learn how to pronounce all 26 letters of the alphabet.  If English is not your native language, not to worry.  Developers also offer this educational app in Dutch, French, German, Italian, and Spanish.  My First Puzzles: The Alphabet is initially a free download offering four free puzzles as it introduces the first seven letters of the alphabet.  While exploring the free version, users will be given a quick glance of the applications potential.  For an additional in-app purchase of $1.99, young learners will be able to unlock 12 additional puzzles, thus providing them access and experience with all letters of the alphabet.  An added bonus, once your native language is learned, extend the use of this educational app by supporting your child as they learn to say and build letters of the alphabet in another language.

My First Puzzles: The Alphabet is a pretty basic, easy to navigate educational app that allows most users to be independent.  Playing and learning go hand in hand as your little one drags and drops various puzzles pieces into an empty lettered place holder.  Tap one piece and all others will appear transparent. When placed correctly, players will be reinforced with a chime. Once letters are successfully built, each piece manipulated will pop up randomly in a 3D fashion and narrated with its letter name.  A note to the developers – once a lettered puzzle is complete, might it be possible that pieces pop up not randomly but rather in a sequential order.  By sequential order, we are looking for puzzle pieces to visually represent the formation of each letter of the alphabet.  Since the application does focus on school age children, this would be an added bonus and reinforcement.  In addition, we wonder if My First Puzzles: The Alphabet will also include the manipulation and building of lower case letters as well in a future update.

Using your mobile device has so much potential and with My First Puzzles: The Alphabet learning happens as your child drags, drops and listens for some form of positive reinforcement, a chime.  It’s time to steer away from the traditional workbook and hop on board with those 21st century skills as it integrates with your Apple devices.  For children who struggle with holding a pencil, that need learning activities like letter recognition as a way to build their fine motor skills then you will want to try My First Puzzles: The Alphabet.  Make learning fun by getting to know AR Entertainment and the applications that they have to offer your child(ren) or students, be sure to visit their website here.  Children need to know all the letters of the alphabet, so why not download the full version of My First Puzzles: The Alphabet to your device by clicking here.

My First Wood Puzzles: Dinosaurs

My First Words: Dinosaurs – A Kid Puzzle Game for Learning Alphabet

By Alexandre Minard © AR Entertainment

Over the next few days, you will notice that our reviews will be zooming in on one particular development group, AR Entertainment as they have created an educational game collection where “learning is fun” while building academic skills and puzzles.  At a very early age, children are manipulating with various types of puzzles, card board and wooden versions.  As an educator or parent, I am sure many of you are aware of the collection of puzzles that Melissa & Doug have developed.  As toys are evolving with the excitement of mobile devices, now while on the go, in a restaurant, sitting at home or on vacation, game pieces no longer have to get lost.  AR Entertainment has designed for your Apple devices running iOS 3.0 or later a wonderful collection of games for children ranging in ages from 2 to 6 years old.  This collection is very user friendly, offered in multiple languages, and provides users the feeling of manipulating real wooden pieces while reinforcing academic skills and/or building ones fine motor and problem solving skills.

Do you have a young archeologist in your family?  Then you will want to download My First Wood Puzzles: Dinosaurs to encourage this love  as they build their recognition of both upper and lower case letters and the alphabet.  My First Wood Puzzles: Dinosaurs is initially a free download as it provides all parties, parents and children, a quick glance at what the app has to offer.  The free version gives users  access to all levels of difficulty and experiences with upper and lower case letters, however, only a certain number of puzzles are unlocked.  Your young archeologist will be asking for more once they are unable to ‘dig’ any further.  With an in-app purchase of $1.99, dinosaur and building lovers alike will have access to all packages, 75 puzzles in total. Once the full version is downloaded, there are no limits to building and what can be learned.  Regardless of which level is chosen, gaming happens sequentially.  Users may not jump puzzles unless it has been manipulated once.  Repetition at this young age is so critical and also rewarding for those building.

Upon entering each level, users will see a dinosaur button chart.  This chart visually explains to children what has been successfully completed, as dinosaur heads are colored in by its level: blue – level 1, yellow – level 2, and pink – level 3.  It also indicates where to go next with a dinosaur head colored in and stars twinkling around it.  Those dinosaur heads hollowed out indicate what puzzles still need to be put together.  As mentioned early this educational app encompasses several skills: letter recognition (upper and lower case), its placement in the alphabet and the use of ones fine motor skills to build.  The concept of building is supported in different ways within each level.

Level 1 – focuses primarily on manipulating individual pieces. As you progress through this level, users will see the number and sizes of pieces changing.  To support all learners, developers have included a nice feature, when players touch a piece all other pieces become transparent, making it easier to focus on one thing at a time.  Puzzle pieces will be scattered around the wooden backdrop and the dinosaur shape with the puzzle piece outline will be in the middle.  The objective is to drag and drop pieces to match the outline of that puzzle shape. Pieces do not need to be dropped in any particular order.  As your child drags pieces hover over an outline to see if it will line up.  If correct, it will drop into place on its own.  Once the entire puzzle has been built, pieces will 3 dimensionally pop up.  A note to the developers – might it be possible after the 3 dimensional effect to have pieces merge together as one, showing users how they fit together to make an actual dinosaur.

Level 2 – encompasses building and letter and order recognition of both upper and lower case letters.  Puzzle pieces will now have the chosen type of letter, upper or lower case, on the pieces themselves.  Level 2 still provides the outlined pieces within the dinosaur shape to guide children. Unlike level 1, level 2 puzzle pieces must be dragged and dropped in a certain order.  This order is indicated by an ABC box in the lower left hand corner of your building screen.  As you tap pieces, letters will be announced  as it reinforces both the visual and verbal naming of that letter.  If unsure of what letter or piece comes next, be sure to review this box as the necessary pieces are highlighted in white.  As you progress through level 2, users will notice that the alphabetical order will change, helping children to recall the correct order of the alphabet.

Level 3 – is very similar to level 2 in that it provides users an added skill of learning both upper and lower case letters as they build 15 puzzles in each.  Since level 3 is considered the most difficult, some of the support systems that were in place in level 1 and 2 are no longer visible here.  For example, the hollowed out dinosaur no longer has the outline of the necessary pieces.  The ABC box is still present if children are unsure how to build.  A note to the developers – as we progressed through level 3 we noticed that the ABC box never went away.  Might it be possible as children come towards the end of building in either upper or lower case letters, that this indication box disappears. It would a good indication to see if a child truly grasped those concepts being taught through this application.  This would tell a parent or educator that no matter where someone starts chanting off their ABC’s that their child can pick up the song at any point.

Overall, Applicable2U liked what My First Wood Puzzles: Dinosaur had to offer.  The free version allowed us to get our feet wet, however, to truly build on two very appropriate skills for children ages 2-6, the full version was the way to go! Be sure to continue following the AR Entertainment reviews this weekend as we talk more about letters, animals and spelling.  If you would like to learn more about AR Entertainment, please visit their website here.  Try out My First Wood Puzzles: Dinosaurs for free today by clicking here to access it from your iTunes library.