Archive | April, 2014

Little Lost Note

11 Apr

lostnoteLittle Lost Note is the story of, well, a little lost note. The note wanders through the story looking for the instrument it belongs to, encountering a piano, guitar, trumpet and drums throughout the story. We get to explore the sounds made by these instruments until the Little Lost Note finally finds the way home to her right instrument.

 

Features

  • Interactive elements – The major interactive elements occur when the Little Lost Note meets the different instruments and you get to play them. The piano is similar to those piano simulation apps you may have seen, and you can tap a couple of notes at a time to play chords. We had fun strumming the guitar and even more fun when we found we could tap the fret markings and change the notes. The trumpet was a little trickier, until we found that you had to hold down the keys and tap the mouthpiece at the same time. It was interesting to find that each combination of keys on the trumpet can produce both a high and low sound. You can skip straight to the instruments via buttons on the front page of the app.
  • Other Interactive Elements – Each page features some fun interactive elements, some of which repeat on other pages. Tap on a pile of dirt and Mole may appear (or disappear), birds might sing etc.
  • Narration – The narration is clear and well – for a quiet, calm story.  We love the British accent.  You can turn narration off on the main page.  We couldn’t find any way of making the story repeat, except by flipping the page back and forth.
  • Highlighted Text – The text highlights as it is read, which is very supportive of emergent readers.
  • Nighttime Mode – If you tap on the ZZzzz (in the top left of each page) to activate a special mode for calm, quiet, bedtime reading.  The app dims to a level that makes a comfortable read in a darkened bedroom.
  • Background Music – The background music is delightful, and you can listen for the different instruments that appear in the story.
  • Illustrations – I love the original, colourful illustrations that are not too bright for a calm, bedtime story.  There is a lot of clear space left for the text to display without it being obscured by different elements on the page.

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Sticker Play: Knights, Dragons and Castles by Jump App

3 Apr

Sticker Play:  Knights, Dragons and Castles is Jump App’s most recent addition to their collection of educational apps.  Like their other apps, Knights, Dragons and Castles is a creative play app where children take charge and direct the action in a simple and fun virtual environment.  If you would like to win a copy of this app, please see the link at the end of this post.

Features

  • 5 different scenes – Scenes include castle interiors and exteriors, and landscapes. Scroll left or right to move about each  scene.
  • Characters – There are knights and soldiers in all sorts of poses and equipped with all manner of medieval armor and weaponry, a king and queen and assorted other castle folk.  Each character has an identical twin in a different colourway so that you end up with two sides; The green knights and the red/yellow knights.  Most have associated sound effects and small animations.
  • Animals – Dragons in two poses (again in green or red colour ways), a griffin and a few dogs are available.  There are a few horses with mounted knights, and one pulling a wagon.
  • Props – A number of props help set the scene, including medieval war engines (battering ram and catapult), assorted tents, flags, and supplies for troops. There is even a sword ready to be pulled out of the stone by a future king.
  • Sound – most of the scenes are outdoors (or partially outdoors) and feature sounds from nature. The castle interior scene features background sounds that such as footsteps, clanking and creaking, low murmurs, and other sounds that add to the atmosphere. Sound effects can be toggled on or off using the simple controls on the screen.  For a quiet experience, adults can turn all sound effects and background sounds off using the parent controls (accessible from the main screen.
  • Parent controls – Parents can control sound, screenshots (handy if you have limited space on your device) and the Jump App more apps banner.  I love that the link to the AppStore (for ratings and reviews) is hidden from children.  Jump App has a presence on all major forms of social media, but they don’t have direct links that children can access.  Instead, all addresses are hidden in the parent section.  Personally, I believe this should be a standard practice in educational apps and I’m sorry more developers don’t follow their lead.

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