Kiddobook

KiddoBook

by LLC “Kinderbook”

As summer nears, parents and educators will find readily available a list of recommended “summer reading” on school district and library webpages. Although it may be summer and school is out, ones love of reading should not disappear. Whether you are in school or out, reading should be apart of your daily routine. The way society reads has certainly changed over the years. Several years ago, in order to get access to the latest collection of books, individuals had to visit their local bookstore or library. Today’s bookstore or library has a very different feel, as you can visit it virtually now as an app on your mobile device or from your home computer via a web browser. Whether you are a MAC or PC person, everyone is familiar with Apples virtual library, iBooks. It is equipped with a large collection to choose from ranging in Arts & Entertainment, Parenting, Textbooks, and Science & Nature books. You might be wondering, what category do children’s literature fall under? Well wonder no more! As of late, we were introduced to the developers from LLC “Kinderbook”. Kinderbook apps is a team of unusual elves – a Commander, Librarian, Protector, and a Software Engineer. Together they launched back in April of this year KiddoBook. KiddoBook is the child’s version of a virtual/downloadable library much like iBook is for adults. It is compatible with your iPad device running iOS 3.2 or later. Currently, the Kiddobook central library app can be downloaded to your iPad in six different languages. Encourage your child ages 3-8 to love all types of books from fantasy, educational books and both classical and new stories with this free download.

Come turn the pages of this very kid friendly application today! Their logo is an adorable, waving book named Kinderbook. His manual, Kinderbook: The Manual, is the first book on your new bookshelf. As a parent or an educator, if questions or problems arise, be sure to visit this eye catching manual. Their clever “manual” is the help or information button as seen in other applications. Once the virtual library, Kiddobook app has been downloaded for free, users will then be able to build their library. Start your library off with two free books, Marlene: Just Another Princess and Two Frogs. Additional ebooks can be stacked as in-app purchases for only .99¢. If unsure if your son/daughter will enjoy a particular title, simply click on the book jacket and preview a brief description and sampling of pages. By applying this preview feature, it avoids the “oops, I didn’t mean to buy that or I didn’t know what it was going to be about” scenarios. With regular updates and more titles arriving soon, developers are “making sure young readers are having fun while learning to appreciate traditional human values.”

Books can be experienced in a variety of formats. Depending on your child’s reading level, they can be subtitled and read by professional actors, read by a parent or the child themselves. Each page is filled with beautiful illustrations, a variety of colorful details and vocabulary and lessons to be learned. It is important to note that those books viewed on your Kiddobook app are only interactive with the turn of every page. Navigate the story from beginning to end at your own pace as you stop to discussion various types of questions or predictions. Unlike other books read via your mobile device, Kiddobooks does not offer the option of highlighting words as they are read, however, it would certainly be a suggestion we would love to see added in a future update.  For this review we downloaded both free ebooks, however, one book was on the top shelf, while the other was at the bottom.  Is there anyway that all downloaded books could be organized together on one’s shelf?  A great interactive idea to get the readers involved with organizing their own bookshelf would be to allow users to drag and drop books into place.  An interesting way to make your bookshelf your own. Users could simply drag and drop books according to their favorites titles or story lines.

Overall, we loved exploring KiddoBook for our  iPad device.  It is not unusual that a child will model what they see their parent(s) doing as they explore their mobile device.  There is no need to stuff your travel bag, book bag or tote with tons of heavy books anymore.  Instead, stuff your KiddoBook app virtual bookshelf with a variety of genre.  Your back will thank you!   If you would like to learn more about LLC “Kinderbook”, please visit their support page here.  If the adults get access to iBooks, then why not add a similar, kid friendly version called KiddoBook to your iPad device today for free!  To begin downloading, simply click here.

This review will also be featured on Fun Educational Apps site along with several other detailed app reviews.

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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.

Perky Pranksters: Have Fun in the Country

Perky Pranksters: Have Fun in the Country

By Selma Mariudottir

Recently there has been some twitter chatter on what components educators and parents want to see in interactive books for their mobile devices.  Of the books that we have reviewed or previewed, there are a number of developers that have “hit the mark”.  In our opinion, an interactive mobile device book “hits the mark” when their story makes a personal connection to one’s life, sparks conversation, incorporates the development and love of reading, establishes some form of independence and is a book that keeps children, young and old, coming back for more. Recently a new series, Perky Pranksters  was brought to our attention from developer and writer, Selma Mariudottir.   This series of books was designed for children ages 4-9 years old, as it takes 3 of the most unusual friends to various geographical locations while dealing with life in general.  Perky Pranksters: Have Fun in the Country is the first within the series that is now available for your iPad device running iOS 4.3 or later.   In reading the developers website we learned that our cartoon main characters; Genie, Dapper and Rex are not only stars in a book, but they are also real stars in Selma Mariudottir’s home. Her four legged friends have become the inspiration for this series with their daily adventures and pranks.  Come see what mischievous things they could get themselves into while visiting the country.

As most of us know, cats and dogs typically do not get along. If these two species set eyes on each other, a whole lot of running is going on, with the dog usually chasing after the cat.  Interestingly enough, the main characters of Perky Pranksters: Have Fun in the County are two cats, Genie & Dapper  and Rex is their dog companion.  They are far from afraid of each other in this series, rather other animals should be afraid of what might happen when all three are in the same location.  Genie is considered the principal prankster, although fun loving, is always up to some kind of mischief and tends to learn things the hard way.  Dapper is the well-mannered feline, who at times does get involved with some tricks.  Then there is Rex, who looks just like Lassie.  Rex is a sweet addition to the family and book series who tends to be interested in everything.

Perky Pranksters: Have Fun in the Country is an interactive and creative book that is chock full of good things.  As we reviewed it, we would compare it to a chapter and activity book in one.  Your child’s experience can occur in a variety of ways.  Even before the story begins, come have some fun with Genie, Dapper and Rex, as users will be given opportunities to: Color, Play Dress Up, learn a little Musical Fun, play Rhyming Games and Record their Voices.

Coloring Book: gives users the option of five black and white pages which are scenes from the book that they can color.  Once a scene is chosen it will appear on their virtual easel with an available paint palette as well.  In addition, users have access to three thickness types of paint brushes.  Pictures created can be saved to your photo gallery by simply clicking the camera icon at the top of the page.  The green light bulb will indicate which items/objects are tapeable.  While painting if a mistake occurs simply shake your device to erase your entire page.  A note to the developers – might it be possible to include another option for erasing through an icon at the top.  At times only one things needs to be erased and some users may become frustrated that they have to start all over.

Dress Up Games: gives users the opportunity to put their silliness to the test.  Choose to dress up one or all of our fury friends.  After you have chosen which prankster to dress up, select those articles of clothing and accessories that you would to see on them.  It’s like playing real world paper dolls all over again!  A note to the developers – might it be possible to interchange articles of clothing and accessories between characters.  It might be interesting to allow users to scroll through the options and once simply drag and drop it place.  Once complete, save and print your animal paper doll to provide for an extended period of play time outside of the book.

Musical Fun: shares with users practical information on musical families, particularly the brass family.  Come hear what 5 musical voices sound like from the sounds of a tuba.  This is a very quick game as it only presents one family.  In a future update, it would be great if another family or two was added to spark the learning of those with a musical ear.

Rhyming Games – ABC: as users read Perky Pranksters: Have Fun in the Country, they will notice how the writer incorporated many forms of rhyming.  This game reinforces such word findings as a matching game.  The only addition that I would implement would be the option to hear those directions in the large green box at the top of the window.  By adding this, it will support learners of all styles.  If the correct rhyme is chosen, users will be presented with a musical reward.  In order to continue rhyming, simply click the arrow at the bottom right hand corner of the screen.

The last fun and games option is the ability to Record Your Voice.  This gaming feature seemed a bit out of context for this section.  However, could have a great deal of potential while reading the book.  If a reader has chosen to Read it Myself, it would be interesting to support their learning with a microphone on each page which would play back their voices to indicate a readers fluency or areas of difficulty.

The storyline behind the Perky Pranksters: Have Fun in the Country is very amusing and educational.  The story can be narrated by Debbie Irwin, a parent or even your child.  Pages are filled with two verses that incorporates text that rhymes on each picture along with running text at the bottom.  If choosing to read alongside the narrator, words will be highlighted so as to keep the reader focused.  As we reviewed this interactive book we equated it like being a chapter book. Follow along with our fury pranksters as they explore the country in seven entertaining comedy of errors.  It’s like watching Abbott & Costello the animal version.  A note to the developers –  because the device needs to be vertically positioned, the pages do appear rather busy.  Might it be possible to have the two verses at the top disappear once they are read.

Overall, we loved this first book in the series and are excited to see where our four legged pranksters will take us next.  If you would like to learn more about Selma Mariudottir, please visit her website here. For a simple $3.99 download to your iTunes account, you too can begin building your Perky Pranksters library of books by simply clicking here.

This review is featured on Fun Educational Apps site along with many other detailed reviews.

Murky Reef Educational App Series

Murky Reef Educational App Series

by Frolyc

There are a number of educational app series currently in the App Store that are just amazing.  As a parent and an educator, I want to know that those apps that are installed on my personal and educational equipment will make an impact on my children.  Education is shifting on a daily basis and many schools are moving towards a 1:1 program with tablets, particularly iPad devices.  Some schools however are questioning is it worth the money?  What will the impact be on our students as it relates to the all important state test scores.  Some teachers are wondering how technology fits into the new standards, particularly those of the Common Core State Standards coming their way.  Amazingly those from Frolyc development group are taking these questions very seriously.  Through a variety of different multimedia formats, Murky Reef educational app series guides young learners in first and second grade through a cross curricular learning adventure.

Back in February of this year we reviewed Murky Reef: Think and Play.  Our review was based on the Lite version, however, with an in-app purchase of $4.99, curriculum connections and engagement are taken to the next level of learning.  It’s critical thinking at its best as children navigate through the murky seas learning to be a scientist, mathematician and a reader.  In any of their educational app series – Math 1, Math 2, Language Arts 1, Language Arts 2 or Science, parents and educators will be astonished at the levels of learning and engagement that is going on while frolicking the depths of the ocean floor.  The Murky Reef educational series app design was built with the intent to make our children think in a variety of ways. Their educational games have students moving through hierarchical levels of learning based on Bloom’s Taxonomy. When applying these educational apps in your classroom or home, students will be building their knowledge and comprehension as they apply, analyze, synthesis and evaluate their learning.

As Applicable2U explored with their recent download of Murky Reef: Science, we had a sense of having a textbook in our hands.  Information is shared interactively through narrated reading passages, YouTube videos and manipulation of items on each screen.  Content could be presented in a variety of ways: large/small group or individually.  Presentation would be dependent on the number of devices available.  Regardless, once information is learned or reinforced, put it to the “Puffer test”. Puff, is Murky Reef’s superhero and needs your help to stop Ogee the ravenous eating shark. If your school is equipped with multiple devices, teachers could set up student accounts, allowing students one to one time to move through a quiz like format of questions to share what they have learned.  Through an individual performance report, all concerned parties (parents, educators and yes, even students) will be provided a break down of skills learned and needs of improvement.

With classrooms jam packed with content to cover and uncover in 10 months, learning should be presented in a cross curricular manner and Frolyc educational apps are making this happen. Whether you download one or all of the apps within this series, parents and educators of all learning styles will be pleased.  If you would like to learn more about Frolyc apps, please visit their website here.

Nora’s Crabby Day

Nora’s Crabby Day

by PicPocket Books

What is your mood like today?  Have you woken up feeling blue, unbeknownst to you? Did your day start off great, but an unfortunate situation turned that right around?  This is not uncommon for both adults and children.  At an early age, children will struggle with a number of new things like how to handle one’s feelings.  As parents, we like to think that we can explain and model such feelings, however, connections are not always made.  Children need things short, sweet and to the point and our words might not be the ones they want to hear.  Implementing personal connections through the use of books, both mobile or hard covered, might be just what you are looking for. Released back at the end of March by PicPocket Books is Nora’s Crabby Day.  It was written and illustrated by Jan and Todd Graveline and can be viewed on your iPad device running iOS 4.3 or later. Come walk in Nora’s shoes for just one day and see how her day starts off gloomy but ends with a bowl full of joy!

We have reviewed a number of interactive books by PicPocket Books and are pleased to add Nora’s Crabby Day to our iPad library.  Like most interactive books, it promotes early learning as your child develops their reading skills through audio words and sounds as text is highlighted on each page.  In addition, it provides young readers the option to have it read to them or they can read it aloud on their own.  We loved how a dedication page was included to Nora Claire, the main character. “When she smiles, we smile.”  This is so true in any household full of one or multiple children.  Each page appears to be divided into two as if holding a real hard covered book.  In addition, pages magically come to life as those words narrated are visualized wonderfully from beginning to end.  Throughout the book, all participants reading will notice how the story incorporates colorful detail and the use of rhyming words. Characters and objects of all kinds; clouds, animals and food, need to turn their frowns upside down. Can Nora’s day get any worse?

Nora’s Crabby Day  is very appropriate for children as young as 2 and beyond.  Applicable2U can see it being incorporate in any home or school setting.  Pages are managed by the user, so it allows for adults and children to stop and talk about each page, to make connections to those things that Nora is going through.  Children and adults need to be made aware that having a bad day is very normal.  Whether your mood starts off bad or ends badly, tomorrow is a new day and as humans we need to find some light at the end of the tunnel.  Nora’s light was that of a warm bowl of macaroni and cheese.

To learn more about Nora’s Crabby Day or any other interactive books by PicPocket Books, please visit their website here.  For only $1.99, you too can have Nora’s Crabby Day for your iPad library by simply clicking here.