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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Love to Read by Pirate Trio

Love to Read by Pirate Trio

by Next is Great

The pirate trio is at it once again. Some of my readers might be familiar with Next is Great having developed Love to Count and Shapes and Puzzles, educational apps for imaginary pirates as young as three years old.  This time your child(ren) ages 4-8 will go on an amazing adventure as they get to know words phonetically and in context.  Since its launch, Love to Read by Pirate Trio has been featured in the Apple Store as a “New and Noteworthy”, “What’s Hot” and a “Staff Favorite” when it comes to educational apps.  It was designed for all Apple devices running iOS 4.0 or later and was inspired with the Montessori teaching methods in mind.  Like dice in a canister, Love to Read by Pirate Trio will certainly shake things up a bit.

Whether exploration occurs individually or with a parent/teacher, Love to Read’s three pirate friends will be with you along the way.  There are a number of features incorporated that appeal to Applicable2U.  The main menu screen is very user friendly which doesn’t overwhelm those using the application.  Vocabulary is categorized across three pages and can be manipulated with ones finger in two ways: tapping or scrolling.  Love to Read includes wonderful graphics which users can connect too.  With 146 words, both boys and girls will be excited as they experience words ranging from transportation and machines, to home and garden, school, instruments, kitchen equipment and fruits and vegetables.  It is an app that will meet their interest level and guide all types of learning styles. Through this academic adventure, children will be learning how letters have both individual and group sounds.  Based on a great deal of research, this phonetic approach is said to be an excellent foundation for fluent reading skills.   Not all children learn in the same manner, applications like Love to Read by Pirate Trio support this idea, through a multi-sensory approach, it certainly becomes applicable to you!

So how does the application work?  Simply choose one of the six categories and let the exploring begin. Scroll through four pages, each providing six graphically represented cards.  Those just learning to read can begin on any page and select the card of their choice.  Once  a card has been selected, players will see and hear a variety of things.  Upon entering the next screen, a professionally narrated voice will say that word, visually it will be presented as an image card and the actual word is shown below.  Regardless of which category or word was chosen, the goal is to shake things up as you ‘deconstruct’ words.  Deconstruction of words can occur in one of two ways:  shake your device from side to side or simply tapping the “device icon” in the upper right hand corner.  As you shake things up, letters will magically float around the page.  Your challenge is to put that word back together.  Concerned that your child might need support as they reconstruct the word, no problem!  Developers have included several support features.  Drag and drop letters into place correctly and the newly learned vocabulary word will demonstrate the meaning and possible use of that word in a sentence.  To support readers, words within the sentence are highlighted in yellow as they learn to read from left to right and make connections to additional sight words along the way.  Even after the sentence has been read, words can be individually tapped to support those becoming independent readers.

With a very simple but effective approach, Love to Read by Pirate Trio provides those just beginning their reading adventure many opportunities of success.  Parents or teachers have access to a check off report of those words learned, however, we would love to see multiple accounts offered within a future update.  This would be beneficial for classrooms hosting a single device as a center activity or homes that have multiple children.  As words are successfully learned, game play does not have to end.  There is a reset option in the lower right hand corner of the reports menu.  A note to the developers – might it be possible to host the reset option not on the category names page, but rather within each category.  Thus allowing users to reset only certain categories at a time.

Overall, Applicable2U gives Love to Read by Pirate Trio a thumbs up!  Whether you are a parent, teacher or homeschooler, this educational app is applicable to you.  Through modeling, repetition and reinforcement, children will learn to love reading as they use their mobile device.  If you would like to learn more about Next is Great, please visit their website here.  To share the love of reading with your child(ren) today, then click here to download Love to Read by Pirate Trio today as it is on sale for .99¢ from your iTunes library.

ABCKit

ABCKit

by Arquinauta Consulting, SL

Are you a Montessori educator or parent?  If so, then you are probably familiar with a letter/sound recognition technique called the sandpaper phonics activity.  If unfamiliar with this activity, it builds a visual and muscular perception of the alphabet.  As children become proficient with letters and sounds, the building blocks to reading and writing will come alive.   Whether it’s the Montessori way or the traditional educational setting that you choose to send your child(ren), it is important to build a sound phonics background.  Phonics teaches the auditory senses of words.  When a child hears the sounds of letters and repeats them while looking at the letters and words in which they appear, he logically connects the written and spoken word together.  Developers Arquinauta Consulting from Barcelona, Spain added ABC Kit to the App Store late last year and since then it was 3rd best app for iPad in the Spanish App Store, and also was featured as “App of the Week”. The app can be used either in English, Spanish or Catalan and viewed on any Apple device running iOS 3.2 or later.

With an easy to navigate menu, children as young as 2-6 years of age could benefit from this educational app.  It provides children just learning their alphabet a very multi-sensory approach.  Through exploration, users will be soon KNOW, HEAR and WRITE.  Simply select which mode of learning you desire.  Upon entering learners will immediately see an ABC strip at the top of the window.  With a swipe to the left or right, users will be able to navigate across the entire alphabet.  Whatever your learning approach may happen to be, review letters in alphabetical order or randomly.  Each mode of exploration will provide you something different.

The KNOW mode presents young readers an uppercase letter and a image that starts with that letter.  In addition, a narrator verbally shared the sound that  the letter makes.  If repetition is necessary, users can simply tap the notebook paper.  To know additional letters, simply manipulate the ABC strip at the top of the page.  A note to the developers – as this age requires a great deal of repetition, might it be possible that as users KNOW the letters of the alphabet letters to have a library of coordinating images.  Our thinking is that it could reinforce a larger vocabulary and connection to the known letter and sound.  The HEAR mode is very simply the sound that each letter makes, however now it is  sharing one added component, both upper and lowercase letters.  In our opinion, exposing children to both letter types early on can be very beneficial.  As my own son attends a public school educational setting, we began reexamining our own teaching of just uppercase letter.  ABCKit  can guide him past writing in solely uppercase letters.  The last mode of exploration is the WRITE mode.  Here  users will be able to practice writing both upper and lowercase letters in a tracing like format.  To guide users, developers have included an arrow support system.  When writing, if users go outside the lines, simply pick up where you left off. If interested, users can click the rewind button in the lower left hand corner and start over if necessary or to try one more time.   A note to the developers – when the writer has finished, might it be possible for their drawn letter to be shown without the traced letter in the background.  Using the additional space on the notebook, when a user is ready, might they also be able to write the chosen letter on their own.

With a very basic output, but highly effective, Applicable2U feels believes that this Montessori methodology can be applicable to you if you have children at home or in school that are just learning their letters/sounds.  If you would like to learn more about Arquinauta Consulting, SL please visit their website here.  Currently this education app is going for $1.99 in your App Store, you can begin exploring this “kit” today by clicking here to access it in your iTunes Library.

 

Simplex Spelling Phonics 1

Simplex Spelling Phonics 1

By Pyxwise Software Inc.

Pyxwise Software Inc. has recently launched Simplex Spelling Phonics 1 and it could not have come at a more appropriate time for Applicable2U.  It is now the second trimester of our school year and my son, although he is 5, is beginning to dig deeper into the mechanics of spelling and reading in his kindergarten class.  We have reviewed educational apps by Pyxwise Software in the past, so we were immediately intrigued when we read in their iTunes library description, “Simplex Spelling improves English spelling and reading skills by using a powerful combination of phonics lessons, spelling/word patterns, our unique “reverse phonics” approach and contextually relevant spelling rules.”  Amazingly, within days of its launch, Simplex Spelling Phonics 1 was already on the Apple’s New and Noteworthy apps under the Education category.  Through our exploration, we now know why!  According to research, readers who use this approach will find learners succeeding at a higher rate than those using typical flashcards.   As a child embarks on the road to spelling and reading there are five key areas that a child should focus on: vocabulary, phonemic awareness, sight words, phonics and comprehension. As you explore with this educational app, teachers and parents will quickly see how these five concepts have been integrated fluidly.  Simplex Spelling Phonics 1 is accessible via most Apple devices running iOS 4.0 or later.  Your spelling lists can now go where you go!   With a year full of spelling curriculum which has over 450 high frequency words divided into 42 lessons, your child will be building their confidence as their base foundation of literacy is being established.

Simplex Spelling Phonics 1 can seamlessly be integrated into any homeschool, classroom or home environment.  With the ability to create what appears to be an unlimited amount of user accounts, parents of multiple children will be thrilled that their child’s learning needs will individually be met.  In addition, teachers will be pleased to see that a mobile device can now be a part of a learning center for their students. Whether using this application individually or with a teacher or parent, young readers will find a number of support systems in place along the way.  Within the settings tab, users can work with either upper or lower case letters.  Developmentally, this is very appropriate to focus on one or the other, however, still having experience with both.  In addition, the keyboard layout can be changed to letters appearing alphabetically or like a real world keyboard. Regardless of which keyboard type you choose, letters will appear color coded, vowels will appear bluish/white in color and consonants will be red.  Visually this is very effective for learners.  When beginning a word list, your virtual teacher will briefly explain that sound or letter combination. Proceeding this explanation, the user will be required to spell words falling under that category.  Along the way, additional supports are provided such as: a hint button, the teacher saying the desired word in a sentence and various visuals clues for right and wrong answers.  If a user is unsure what a colored button will do, simply click the question mark at the bottom of your window and the Simple Spelling teacher will verbally explain.  With a simple tap of their finger onto any user friendly tool, letters can be: viewed with a green checkmark, dragged from left to right, provided hints and deleted if necessary.  Their finger is now a virtual pencil and an eraser.

So that learning is held accountable and parents and teachers can further instruct in an appropriate way, reports can be generated indicating words mastered and the number of attempts made within each word list.  Strategically, word lists are organized very clearly as it starts with the basic sounds each vowel makes both short and long.  Some might say that the English language is a bit tricky when it comes to those letter combination words (ie. “ai” or “ay”).  As you progress from individual vowel sounds into the next lessons, users will begin to explore the complexities of these letter combinations. From there, lessons will touch on the blended sounds letter make. The overall purpose of this educational app is not to memorize, but to rather transfer this learning to become efficient readers and spellers with a solid comprehension of the phonics approach.

Applicable2U is truly excited with the updates that have been made from their other spelling application, Simplex Spelling HD. Whether you have a 4-10 year old, this application is applicable to you.  For a simple .99¢ download, your child or student will be gaining a lifetime of academic skills that will be applied throughout their early stages of life.  To learn more about Pyxwise Software Inc., please visit their website here.  It’s time that you take the anxiety that can be built up in a child when reading and spelling with a simple download of Simplex Spelling Phonics 1 to your iTunes library here.

Sound Seeker

 Sound Seeker
   by BrainBeanz, Ltd.

What sounds do you hear?  Whether you are a parent or a teacher of preschoolers or kindergarteners, this early  to learn sounds application is worth the download.  An added bonus, currently it is being offered at a discounted rate for the up and coming return of school.  BrainBeanz Ltd. is a development group made up of teachers looking to support both parents and other educators.  Having an educational background, BrainBeanz Ltd. fulfills one of the necessary requirements that Applicable2U looks for, gaming for a reason.  Through a great deal of repetition, auditory clues, easy to follow directions and eye catching graphics, Sound Seeker will put your student or child on the road to the early stages of reading.  To avoid confusion, small groups of letters are learned, in turn, leading users towards a better rate of success over time.  What child doesn’t love stickers and rewards?

Prior to beginning, parents might find it helpful to check out the “p” shaped cog in the lower right hand corner.  Here parents and/or educators will find the “parental controls” of the game.  Various letter selections can be made.  At any point in the game, parents can change which mode to encourage or reinforce.  The SATPIN mode is for those just getting started.  This is the default mode and is the only option that generates rewards. Such rewards are stickers representing each letter of the alphabet.  The RANDOM mode will select letters arbitrarily for those using so as to practice both sounds and letter recognition.  If vowels are an area of concern or need of introduction, then set the mode to AEIOU.  The final letter selection is a users choice option.  Here players can choose any six letters that they would like.  To extend the learning opportunities, both upper and lower case letters are reinforced.  In addition, at the completion of each mode, parents have the option to reset the game so the learning continues for another go around. Once these options have been set, let the learning and fun begin!

So how does one play Sound Seeker?  In the four corners of the playing window are letters and in the middle are bean shaped graphics.  The object of the game is to drag the graphics on top of the matching sound that it makes.  It is important to note that users should be familiar with the letters of the alphabet prior to playing.  If players should struggle though, BrainBeanz has come up with a solution by providing users auditory support. With a few simple taps, a narrator will very clearly state each letters sound.  As an added support, when graphics are tapped  that same narrator will indicate what those images are in case of confusion.  With the help of good listening ears, users should start to hear similarities as the sound attaches itself to a word/image.  Through both positive and negative reinforcement users will know if their matches are done correctly.  If a user is unsuccessful they are not penalized for their mistakes, it just means more practice is required.

Applicable2U explored each letter mode, but was pleasantly surprised at our findings when we were rewarded with a sticker in the SATPIN mode.  We were under the impression that the sticker was the only reward and boy were we wrong.  In order to earn a reward, users must progress through with a certain success rate. Once that rate has been met, a twinkling star will appear stating that we earned a sticker!  At this point, users should click the star button in the bottom right corner.  It is here that players will be able to view those stickers collected.  Without giving too much away, be sure to have your little one click on those stickers as it will bring them to additional games, interactivity and enjoyment.  As 10 and 20 stickers are collected, it appears a certificate is earned.  We do wonder, is this certificate printable? In looking at those follow up games, Applicable2U does wonder if it might be possible to set the challenge a bit higher as more stickers are collected, thus indicating a user that is building their letter sound confidence.  It might be interesting to see a match of a graphic and its letter, or two graphics that have the same letter sound.  Applicable2U feels that this would be an even better indicator of awareness for both parents and educators.

Overall, Applicable2U gives Sound Seeker a thumbs up!  Certainly worth the download for our soon to be kindergartener!  As a user completes the sounds of the alphabet or is looking to move on in the development of reading, parents might be interested in also looking at the next reading series, Blend Seeker.  If you would like to learn more about BrainBeanz, Ltd. please visit their website here.  Don’t forget these educational apps are still on sale as of today, August 23, just click here to begin downloading Sound Seeker and Blend Seeker to your iTunes library today!