If your child is learning to tell the time and need, you might like to take a look at Tell Time by StudyPad. Unlike many other Apps that just ask questions, Tell Time has some features that support learners, including students with special needs.
8 modules in the App focus on the following topics:
- Parts of the clock. – Identify the minute hand, hour hand, numbers on an analogue clock
- Time in hours
- Time in half hours
- Time in quarter-hours
- Time in 5 minute intervals
- Time to the minute
- AM and PM
- Elapsed Time.
Lessons – Each learning area has a multimedia lesson featuring sound, animation and text. The lessons are short, well-paced with graphics and animations illustrating the different time concepts very well.
Tests – Each question is presented in both text and speech. There is a mix of multiple-choice (from four options) and questions where the child alters clocks to show the correct answer.
Constructive feedback – when the child answers incorrectly, they get more than the standard “Beep! You’re Wrong” response of so many other Apps, which only tells them that they are wrong, and gives no feedback to help them arrive at the correct answer. Tell Time shows the child the correct answer and gives visual cues as to why they were wrong.
Incentives – Three correct answers in a row will earn you a coin. Two correct answers followed by an incorrect answer will result in having to start the tally again. This might seem discouraging, but I think it will more likely discourage the children from tapping random answers. Once you have earned some coins, you may spend them in the Prize section on accessories for your monkey in a “Monkey Makeover.”. The options here are simple: select hats, sunglasses, shoes and neckwear for the monkey. The monkey will then appear in the activities wearing those accessories. Our monkey is currently sporting a look I’m sure all the supermodels will be copying this season. (Note: There has been some debate in the household as to whether he is a Chimpanzee, as indicated by the StudyPad iTunes blurb, or a monkey, but since we can see a tail, the majority vote is for monkey. Tails are important, or so I am informed.)
Special Needs – Too often, Apps have important information available as either all text or all speech. In Tell Time, all instructions, questions and other information is available in both spoken and written form, with visual cues.
- Speech – lessons are read in a computer voice that is easy to understand. All text is spoken, which is supportive of young children and those who have difficulties reading text.
- Text – As mentioned, all information is available as text, which is supportive of children with hearing impairment.
- Visual cues (such as areas of clocks highlighted during lessons) help to highlight important information. The monkey gives visual feedback for correct and incorrect answers. It is possible to complete lessons and tests with no sound, which is very supportive of students with hearing problems. The visual cues are also supportive of other learners.
Progress Reports – Reports can be read from the main screen any time and can also be emailed weekly to a nominated address. These reports indicate how much of each lesson and test has been completed, and accuracy in the test. There are also summaries of Done Well (tests with accuracy over 75%) and Needs Attention (tests with accuracy below 30%) as well as calendar of when tasks were attempted and completed. You can also see a progress bar under each lesson that indicates how much of each lesson has been completed.
Music and Sound effects – the music is pleasant and upbeat, but I was happy to be able to turn it off in the settings. My kids love it and would happily play the game with it on all the time, but there is only so much of a good thing this mother can take!
Teacher or Parent? – An odd feature is that you can nominate whether you are a parent or teacher the first time you log in, but there doesn’t seem to be a reason for this. You can’t change from one to the other, unless you delete the App and reinstall it, which is what I did to see if there was any difference between the two settings: there wasn’t. I can’t see the point of this, but then maybe I’m missing something.
What the experts say
Master B, 6 years old and in Yr 1, loves this App. I asked him which part he liked the best, and he replied, “All of it!”. Master M, in Yr 2, was initially disappointed: “I know all this stuff!” he grumbled. Then he realised there was a second page of modules that he didn’t know, and he is now much happier and is enjoying being challenged by the activities.
Turn off external links – At the base of the main screen is an icon that brings up a page with direct links to the StudyPad Apps on the iTunes store, Twitter, Facebook and the StudyPad website. While these links might be handy for parents, we should be able to turn them off so that our children do not go visiting places that are clearly inappropriate for their age group. TIP: Log out of your social networking accounts, turn off in-App purchases and turn off Internet Access before handing your device to your child.
Multiple Profiles – I’d like multiple profiles as I have several children who could use (and are using) this App to learn and practice with. Each of them would like their own points tally (Not fun if you have earned lots of coins then your little brother spends them!), and I’d like to keep track of individual progress. It will also make the App more attractive to schools.
Lesson Repeats – When students have completed a module, they can’t easily repeat the lesson. This is bothersome for those of us with more than one child using the App. Once a lesson and test has been completed, you are prompted to either choose another module or tore-take the test. Once in the test, you can swap to the lesson mode. It would be great to be able to re-read lessons in a more direct manner without having to erase all the data and start again.
Grammar – Just a minor thing that does not affect the educational value of the game: the names of prize categories are a little awkward. Gears is a plural word when used to describe those things that help clocks work, but headgear, neck gear, eye gear, and foot gear are collective nouns without needing a plural s. Sorry. Can’t help myself. I also have a thing for apostrophes.
The StudyPad team have obviously put a lot of thought into this App and the result is an engaging, inclusive, quality App that supports children across a range of ages and abilities. My kids love the monkey character, and they are motivated to keep taking tests and to think carefully about their answers so that they can earn more coins to dress him up. The activities fit really well with the curriculum in Prep, Years 1 and 2 and are even relevant to some of the older grades up to Year 4. We will be using this one for a long time.
Disclaimer: Thank you to StudyPad for providing me with this App for review purposes. Although I’m pleased to accept codes for review purposes, gifts like this don’t influence my reviews and I pride myself on giving an honest opinion. If the app is a dud, I will say so, but it is great to say that this one is a real gem.
- Back to school with First Interactive Time Learning App on iPad (themactrack.com)
- StudyPad Inc (studypadinc.com)