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.

Felt Board for iPad

Felt Board for iPad

by Software Smoothie

As I follow my Twitter feed, one of the latest technology trends being “tweeted” about is the educational benefits of storytelling. It has been researched by many that storytelling is an excellent teaching strategy. Amazingly it can spark student interest as it helps children create vivid mental images while activating their thinking process. Storytelling can provide many opportunities to make connections to events and concepts as a way to better understand and recall information. As of late, several educators are incorporating a more differentiated form of instruction with the help of online resources. But with so many schools going the mobile device route, storytelling is once again changing. At the beginning of March, developers from Software Smoothie released Felt Board for iPad. Currently designed for your iPad device running iOS 4.3 or later, with an update coming for those with the iPad 3. Creatively tell a real or imaginary story with the help of felt like pieces.

Felt Board for iPad caused Applicable2U to recall a personal discussion that was had with a friend and parent at the beginning of the school year. This parent was told by her daughter’s kindergarten teacher that her daughter doesn’t associate the correct colors with items, objects or people. At such a young age, why does that matter? Can children not creatively envision things? Sad, but true in some educational settings. Happily we knew Felt Board for iPad had an alternative approach, just take a look at their application icon.

Upon entering this application, users will immediately get a craft like feeling as every aspect of this educational app is created with felt. Use your fine motor and hand-eye coordination skills to develop amazing stories as you tap, drag, drop, pinch and zoom pieces into a scene. Felt Board for iPad is a very user friendly application for children young and old. It is an application that encourages all learning styles as children can work collaboratively or independently. With an Apple like dock that can appear or disappear on the left hand side, storytellers will have access to eight categories of felt objects. Categories include a large selection of backgrounds, people, articles of clothing, animals, nature, letters and numbers. Also included on ones canvas is a recycle bin for unwanted items, a camera to screen shot stories and a bottle of glue to group objects as one.

Felt Board for iPad can be implemented at home and at school. Unlike other storytelling applications, this does not include a recording or a typing feature. Stories are told through objects only. It provides an alternative method of assessment for various learning styles. As you study and read a variety of genres like fairy tales, fiction or nursery rhymes, teachers or home schoolers could connect their device to a projector and share their creations. When projected on a large screen in small or large groups, children can verbalize their stories to classmates, parents or educators. Regardless of who creates the stories, this form of storytelling encourages further discussions on the elements of a story: characters, setting, plot and such. In addition, developers also encourage users to create stories that include letters and numbers. For example, users can spell and place their name on scenes created. If working on a “letter of the week” tell a story centered around that letter. An alternative option would be as children understand numbers, tell a number story. Your child or student(s) story becomes a visual story problem to reinforce appropriate grade level operations. A note to the developers – might it be possible to save scenes within the application in addition to storing in the photo gallery. Have you also thought about adding the option of multiple scenes? By offering a saving and multiple scene feature, users that may need an extension could then sequence their stories.

Overall, Applicable2U loves what Felt Board for iPad has to offer. We are looking forward to seeing and hearing it in action with our own child. For a simple download of $1.99, let the storytelling begin. Your child will begin to make connections, build their understanding of a book read or can just tell a story with their imagination and fun. If you would like to learn more about Software Smoothie please visit their website here.  As you drag and drop objects, magically feel the softness of your story as it develops and comes alive. To begin downloading Felt Board for iPad to your iTunes library click here. You won’t regret it!

Buildo Museum Sticker Book

Buildo Museum Sticker Book

by JAJDO AB

A childhood memory of mine that I will never forget about was my infatuation with collecting stickers and storing them in a peel and seal photo album.  Stickers for Applicable2U was like collecting postcards from family vacations that we had been on.  Having these sticker books were my pride and joy that I shared with friends and family.  Back then stickers meant one thing only; were they scratch and sniff, fuzzy, or glittery? Today, sticker books mean so much more and JAJDO AB developers have brought back my childhood connection to all Apple devices running iOS 3.2 or later.  Recently launched and is currently free until February 6th, Buildo Museum Sticker Book can encourage children ages 1-9 to build their creative side as they manipulate Cartoon Network like stickers while they visit three imaginary museums. As the creativity develops, parents and/or educators can sit back and watch and observe.  More importantly, they can communicate with their student or child as they ask leading questions on the elements of their story: characters, setting, and a story line.

This concept of sticker book stories began with Buildo Rescue and Buildo History.  The story continues as Buildo Museum is the third book in the series.  Come jump into three virtual museums: a laboratory, art and historical museum.  Before the history can begin, it would important for young fingers to understand how to build and manipulate their creation(s).  Visit the “Mums and Dads’ Zone” in the upper right hand corner of the main menu.  Here storytellers will see how to play with their stickers as they observe the drag, flip, rotate and resize visuals. A note to the developers – might it be possible to click on these “how to play” icons that would allow users to practice each of these motions prior to entering a museum.  Although storytelling and creativity are the key concepts of the application, building and reinforcing ones fine motor skills is also very present.

There are a number of features that Applicable2U likes about this age appropriate app.  It provides users a large library of stickers as it applies to each museum that is chosen.  As the story begins to be built, users will hear unusual sound effects that stickers will make as it is placed into the scenery.  Let the fun begin as your child takes a grand tour of each museum. Visitors can swipe from left to right as they enjoy Buildo Museums panoramic feature. Stickers reside at the top and can be dragged on and off at any point.  To increase the viewing room, the sticker scroll bar at the top can be visible or invisible, simply click the double arrow button in the upper right.  If interested in museum hopping, select the bat icon in the upper left hand corner.  Some stories are a work in progress, so there is no need to panic that your creation needs to be finished on the first visit.  Scenes can be saved and deleted as needed.

Buildo Museum applies to a large age range.  Depending on ones age will determine how this application is used.  Early on, Buildo Museum can be used for simple sticker manipulation and fine motor development.  As children begin to develop their vocabulary, stickers are placed and verbal stories can be shared with parental prompting.  As visitors reach school age, the experience of Buildo Museum changes as they use their improved fine motor skills to alter stickers and to truly tell a story that has a beginning, middle and end. A note to the developers –  to maintain the interest of those older visitors, it might be interesting to add a speech bubble feature. Such a feature could be turned on/off possibly in the “Mums and Dads’ Zone.”  Having such an option could encourage a reading and writing skill of a character’s voice.  As a teacher, it might be interesting to see Buildo Museum used in a large group as the iPad device is connected to a large screen.  Prior to a writing lesson, the teacher could create a scene that is then shared with the whole group.  As the teacher walks through the museum, students could choose one area of the visit and begin storytelling.  Let the creativity, imagination and collaboration begin.

If you are interested in sparking your child or students level of creativity or to encourage writing in a more positive way, then you will want to take advantage of this free app TODAY!!!  To learn more about the Buildo Sticker Series and the JAJDO AB development group, then visit their website here.  Go on a creative and child friendly museum tour as you download Buildo Museum to your iTunes library here.

Archie and the Mysterious Sphere

Archie and the Mysterious Sphere
by Antletics

Lets go on an adventure with Archie, an adorable ant.  An interactive book with a Bugs Life (Pixar movie) feel, children will fall in love with the first episode of Archie and the Mysterious Sphere, that bedtime won’t come soon enough at the end of a very busy day.  Who knew that on a sunny morning in May, that Archie’s day might not be as he had expected when he woke ready to play.  Come join Archie as he travels to the land of Fair-a-Way to find this mysterious sphere.  As we see it, it’s a book that takes the perspective of things as something small.

As mentioned in a previous post, interactive books can be for the youngest of children and the oldest of adults.  One should never shy away from downloading an interactive book as it might open a whole new world of reading for those that struggle and for those that can’t put books down. Archie and the Mysterious Sphere is wonderfully narrated and will certainly keep you looking for more. It encourages questioning, offers the reader to make predictions, provides opportunities for laughter and smiles, while also incorporating some pieces of interactivity. Applicable2U has read a number of interactive books, but Antletics offers some new design options that we have not yet seen.  At the bottom of each page lies a small head, Archie’s head.  By clicking that image, the reader is provided with a menu bar of reading preferences.  Such choices include starting and stopping the narration, turning off the sound and the narrator which then provides the reader the ability to read on their own.  In addition, it also has a magic wand that when pressed will share with the reader those objects that will come alive within the page.  Once preferences have been set, simply click Archie’s head and the menu bar will disappear.  As the narrator tells the story you may also notice words on the page highlighted in yellow.  There is no particular rhyme or reason to those words highlighted. When a user taps the highlighted words and sees a magician, this will indicate a definition box. While other boxes might be accompanied by a silly image, like an Ant Captain Hook or a even Darth Vader.  These boxes will share silly or random facts that the reader might be interested in knowing.  Reading incorporated with a little humor a nice added touch!

Since this is the first episode of eight, Applicable2U doesn’t want to give the mystery away.  Just know that at the completion of episode one, you will be on the edge of your seat to know what happens next with Archie as he travels through Fair-a-Way.   Using your own prior knowledge or connections, Archie and the Mysterious Sphere will truly be an enjoyable read.  Applicable2U gives episode one of Archie and the Mysterious Sphere, two antennae up!!!   We are looking forward to the upcoming episode apps in our iTunes library soon!  I would recommend that you visit Antletics website to learn more about them. You can also begin to download the first episode from your iTunes library here for only .99¢.

Family Matters

Family Matters
by Weiner Family Studios

How many times have you been to a restaurant and witnessed each family member on some form of technology and not talking with one another?  Probably too many times!!!  What happened to good old family conversation?  Or while driving in the car, you ask your child how their day was and it is always a one word response.  How have families become so disconnected?  Oh yeah, our children are growing up in a world of many forms of technology.  Weiner Family Studios has designed a solution that still incorporates what everyone loves – technology, but doesn’t loose the communication that every family needs to maintain.

Applicable2U loves the name of this family tested app because families should matter no matter what!  At times, Applicable2u’s own family has been caught being “that family” where  one of the adults, if not both, are on our hand held devices.  What is this doing for my family – NOTHING!!  It is just modeling to my son that technology is more important than spending quality time with each other regardless of where we happen to be.  So why do we think Family Matters is applicable to you?   Are we being hypocritical to offer a solution with what is initially causing the problem? Depending on the age of your children, parents sometimes need that “creative push” to stimulate conversation.  Family Matters is just stimulating, it’s not babysitting in any way.  This family designed application is not one to be used for long periods of time.  In just 5-15 minutes one question from Family Matters can spark several moments of conversation which then turns into wonderful memories.

What sets this application apart from all others is that it provides open ended questions to spark serious or funny conversations. Questions or activities are broken into six different categories: General, Restaurant, Road Trip, Dr. Office, Airport and In a Line. If you happen to have younger children, parents can select and read questions or actions.  Once the question is read, each family member then responds in a round robin format. This is the time to listen and encourage each other.  It gives the user(s) the ability to journal family responses and to highlight those moments when your kids “say the darndest thing.”  In addition, with an Apple device that has a camera, a picture can be taken of that moment in time as well.  Questions or activities can be saved to a “Favorites” folder, emailed to a friend, shared via Twitter and/or Facebook. Wish you could supply your own question or action?  Open your bookmarks tab and a family can then manage and add their own activities. Favorites can be quickly accessed and if necessary items can be deleted.

One might call this the family version of “Truth or Dare” that we as adults all played when we were kids. Applicable2U is excited to see what direction this application takes us during those silent moments in life.  We encourage you to visit the Weiner Family Studios website to watch a demo or to learn more about this family development group.  If your family needs a little flame to regain the communication, then visit Family Matters in your iTunes Library today!