Ansel and Clair Cretaceous Dinosaurs

Ansel and Clair Cretaceous Dinosaurs

by Cognitive Kid

Like most parents or educators we want to share and explore the world with our children, but it may not necessarily be to places that we can easily get too. Instead of getting on an airplane or driving a car, children can now take part in a virtual field trip to just about anywhere. Has your early elementary student had a chance to explore the Africa desert with virtual friends, Ansel and Clair? Around this time last year, Cognitive Kid launched Ansel and Clair’s Adventures in Africa for your iPad device but as of late has added the ability to explore and visit Africa via your iPhone device as well. We were impressed with this series then and are excited to share that a new virtual experience has been added to their collection list, Ansel and Clair Cretaceous Dinosaurs for your iPad device. This is the first in a trilogy series of Ansel and Clair Adventures which focuses on exploring different dinosaur periods: Triassic, Jurassic and Cretaceous. Come visit an official dig site, ask questions of a paleontologist as your son or daughter interacts with their mobile device. As your child or student explores the cretaceous period they will travel back in time with adorable characters and a “zippy” spaceship to broaden their knowledge and build their vocabulary while having a ton of fun!

This educational app could not have come at a more appropriate time in our household. My 6 year old son had library today and what type of book did he come home with…an encyclopedia of dinosaurs. A book which has 127 pages, he worried that we might not be able to finish the book in time before having to return it to his school library. His worry was quickly put to ease when I mentioned our recent download, Ansel and Clair Cretaceous Dinosaurs to my iPad device. It is an educational app which puts your child at the center of it all. Simply borrow a fossil from Dr. Lindy Bones in order to get your spaceship moving around the world. While spinning the globe, see what the world looked like before it was broken into the continents that we know today. As your child embarks on this imaginative and educational adventure, join Ansel and Clair as they go beneath the ground to find more fossils of the cretaceous period while reinforcing various fine motor skills. Tap with one or two fingers or swipe from side to side in order to explore and play. In doing so, your child(ren) or students will feel as though they have a chisel, hammer or brush at their finger tips. Once all the tools have been used and the fossil is revealed, piece the dinosaur back together like a puzzle and see the environment where such dinosaurs as: Tyrannosaurus Rex, Velociraptor, Kosmoceratops and Oviraptor lived billions of years ago. Hold on tight, because here we go!

As your child(ren) or student(s) go on this adventure they will become critical thinkers with the help of Ansel and Clair. Your elementary students earth science unit or textbook just stepped into the 21st century. Developers have included a great deal of support through both visual and verbal directions. Those items on a page which provide factual information are clearly marked with a magnifying play button or checkmark. In addition, many of the dinosaur names are challenging for our target audience or even an adult to say, so developers have also included a syllable break down just underneath each reptiles name. Since this is like no other journey, your child will be equipped with a backpack which has all the essentials, a camera and a journal. Take as many pictures as you would like, however, your journal does have certain requirements. A note to the developers – might it be possible at the completion of ones journal to be able to tap on pictures within those pages, as a way to share new information or even a recall quiz like question(s) for comprehension. Ansel and Clair do an amazing job at sharing new information and building your child’s vocabulary, the opportunities for extended conversations and further investigation are amazing. As they learn and develop their filing system of knowledge, your child will also be interacting with those from the cretaceous period as they collect stickers, see a volcano erupt, watch a meteor show and care for Maiasaura’s eggs.

Overall, we loved this first in the series dinosaur application, Ansel and Clair Cretaceous Dinosaurs and look forward to learning more about the Jurassic and Triassic periods in the coming months. Whether you have a little paleontologist on your hands or need to spruce up your earth science unit, the educational apps that Cognitive Kid have to offer are worth the download. With all the information that is shared however, we would love to see in a future update the incorporation of speech bubble that highlight as each character reads. With this differentiation, Ansel and Clair’s Dinosaur Adventure scientific application will be able to support all learning styles along their travels.

If you would like to learn more about Cognitive Kid, please visit their website here. To start digging on your first archeological adventure, simply click here to download Ansel and Clair Cretaceous Dinosaurs to your iTunes library for $1.99 today!

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

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.

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.

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.

Find Them All: Looking for Animals

Find Them All: Looking for Animals

by Knbmedia

When you travel locally or globally, an item that is commonly seen on shelves are various types of  snow globes.  Spin it up and down, left or right and see a famous tourist attraction in a whole new way.  With your mobile device or imaginary snow globe, come visit animals from all over the world.  From developers, Knbmedia, Find Them All: Looking for Animals will guide children ages 2-8 as they  journey through four natural habitats: a farm, Africa, Oceania, and Asia. This animal fact finding app is accessible on all Apple devices running iOS 3.0 or later.  When downloading Find Them All: Looking for Animals, the initial cost is free and provides you access to one habitat, the farm.  Additional habitats can be explored with an in-app purchase offering three additional locations for $1.99 each. Whether it’s day or night, use you keen senses of sight and sound to find as many animals as you possible can.

Through the use of sounds, pictures and the incorporation of an “I Spy” game like feel, animal enthusiasts will enjoy the mobile and hands on experience that Find Them All: Looking for Animals will provide them.  It’s early in the morning on the farm and the sun is out, ready to set  your child or student on an investigation.  What animal will the sun be thinking about?  In a ‘thinking’ cloud, users will be given three pieces of information about the animal: a picture, name and sound.  Using your finger tip, scroll from left to right in order to find the hidden animal(s).  Applicable2U was pleased to see how developers included accommodations for all searching styles.  For example, farms can be both big and small, initially as you explore, users will only have access to a small amount of acreage.  As more animals are located, additional areas of the farm will be rewarded.  As we explored, we also noticed that when hearing a clue the sound that the animal makes is rather faint.  As we walked from left to right, if we happen to choose the right direction, the animal sound would get louder.  Who knew that an educational app could tell if a player was getting closer or not, it was as if we were playing another familiar childhood clue game, “hot and cold”.

Once animals are spotted in their environment, tap on them, a life like bobble head trading card will appear.  Animal trading cards can be shared in French, English, Spanish and German.  As users learn about animals and their habitat that live on a farm, in Africa, Oceania or Asia, they are also given an opportunity to say that animal’s name in other languages.  Collect as many animals as you possibly can before nightfall and you might be rewarded with a digital camera.  With this reward, zoom in and out on some or all of the animals you have been introduced to.  Animal explorers will be amazed at what fun things can be done with their pictures even after the pictures are taken.  Applicable2u will share only a few hints: personal animal album, interaction big and small while sharing tidbits of fun facts.  The best part, it’s learning on the go with your device and a little printed out surprise which can be shared.

As you navigate around the farm and night time approaches, there is no need to leave. The friendly sun is still visible, but her ‘thinking cloud’ is masked due to the darkness.  Darkness can be a challenge no matter where you are.  The visual supports once provided during the day are now gone.  The only support available is that of the animal sound(s).  Keep in mind the things that were heard and seen during the day.  Luckily, app developers have included a night support feature, a night light.  As humans our eyes enlarge and adjust to light, well so do our friends on the farm.  As your child or student moves from one location to another, look out for the big eyed animals of the farm.  Be sure to listen very carefully and tap the night light if you think you are nearing your target.

Overall, Applicable2U was really impressed with the features and content that was included in Find Them All: Looking for Animals. This is an educational app that shares information, builds vocabulary, incorporates interactive games, and is user friendly as it encompasses  several learning modalities.   Once you are on the farm, you will want to further extend your visit into Africa, Oceania and Asia.  To learn more about the developers of Knbmedia, please visit their website here.  To start exploring your snow globe, then download Find Them All: Looking for Animals for free today from your iTunes library here.