Archive | January, 2012

Mouse in a House

30 Jan

Here is a nice little App for young children learning their shapes.  Mouse in a House is like an I-Spy activity where children explore the  different rooms in the house and find hidden shapes. Each room hides a number of the same shape, for example in the living room children will need to find circles whereas in the bedroom they hunt for triangles.

There are also a few fun interactive elements, such as appliances that turn on or frogs that hop.  There are written instructions that are spoken once only, and there is a rhyming story that can be read as the child progresses through the App, but this is not spoken aloud.  Instead parents or other older readers will need to read is aloud for non-readers. Continue reading

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Jungle Coins

29 Jan

Most educational money Apps in the iTunes store use the currency of the United States. Jungle coins is an App that allows Australian (and 15 other nationalities) to use their own currency in a variety of activities. There is a lot to love about this App, and hopefully this post will explain why Jungle Coins is permanently on my iPad. Continue reading

Fun Phonics Apps for Early Childhood

26 Jan

Tiki Bear Phonics

Children in Prep and year one will be busy learning their alphabet and their associated sounds as a basic reading skill.  Two fun Apps on my iPad might be just the thing to help reinforce the sounds.  Tiki Bear phonics has two apps that cover all the alphabet.  The free App covers the short vowel sounds while the second App covers the consonants. Continue reading

MathBlaster Hyperblast

23 Jan


MathBlaster Hyperblast is a drill and practice app and covers addition, subtraction, multiplication and division. It is an arcade-style game where you tilt the device to progress through a spacey-looking tunnel, shooting various targets to earn points and avoiding obstacles.  You can select from three levels of difficulty for the arcade part of the game.  The Math drill and practice part occurs every so often when your path through the tunnel is blocked up by a  multi-armed robot.   The robot asks a series of Math questions and the answer is selected by tapping on one of the numbers in his hands. You can customise the App in terms of Math ability, however the highest level of Mathematics required would still be in the junior primary level, for example addition questions only go up to 24.  You can also select from three levels of difficulty for the arcade part of the game. Continue reading

Math (Grade K)

23 Jan

This is a very basic drill and practice where a question pops up and you answer it.  Correct answers and incorrect answers get the same feedback, kids don’t get a chance to try again, and there are no visual prompts to help them get the right answer.  The only real plus is that you can set the initial level.  Based on the free part of the App (addition), I think the developers are kidding themselves that anyone would pay to unlock the subtraction and comparison sections (99 cents each). Continue reading

Times Table Cloud Click Game

23 Jan

Times Table Cloud Click Game looks exactly as its name suggests.  It is a drill and practice game for multiplication tables. Tables can be selected from 2 to 12, or mixed questions for an extra challenge. The 12 questions for each table are asked in random order, and progress through the table is timed.  Select the answers by tapping on the cloud with the correct answer.  The grey clouds are placed in random order and  become white once their answer has been correctly selected.  Correct responses move you on to the next question, and incorrect answers result in lightning and thunder and another chance to answer.  Upon completion of the table, children receive a prize monster, which is a cute graphic. Continue reading

Penguin Storytime

22 Jan

Liz Shanks presents this 17-episode video podcast for parents and children.    In each podcast, originally published in 2010, Liz reads a mix of classic and new picture books to children in the “Listen, Learn and Grow sessions.”  Most episodes feature a single picture book, although at least one has two related stories.  Parents will benefit from Liz’s brief talks on the importance and benefits of reading to children.  Children will enjoy the beautiful picture books and the warmth of Liz’s story-telling style. Continue reading

Evaluating Apps: Maths Drill and Practice

21 Jan

Also known as drill and skill, drill and practice games don’t usually help children learn their basic facts, but they can help speed up recall and so can serve a purpose in reinforcing what the child already knows.  The main aim is to help children recall basic facts quickly and accurately.  They are good Homework Apps and can act as a reward.

There are hundreds (at least!) of this type of App, in the next few posts I’ll highlight some good and not-so-good ones.  Seeing as I can’t possibly cover all of them, here are the kinds of things I look at when evaluating drill and practice apps. Continue reading

How Do You Pick A Good Educational App

20 Jan

I have my own criteria for evaluating educational apps and I intend to write some posts over the next few weeks that focus on what to look out for Apps in particular subject areas.  In the meantime, here are a few general hints to help you pick the good from the bad. Continue reading

Sentence Reading Magic 1

19 Jan

2012 sees the introduction of the National Curriculum into our Queensland schools.  Some of us are having trouble coming to terms with what our children are expected to be able to do by the end of the Prep year.  One of the goals is that students should be able to write a short sentence, which is something we previously would not have expected of them until year one.  When you realise that a simple sentence may only be made from 2 or 3 words, the goal doesn’t seem that difficult after all, but some parents may wonder what they can do to help their child achieve this.  Sentence Reading Magic 1 by Preschool University is one App that can help children practice simple sentence structures while also practicing basic reading skills. Continue reading

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