About

Hi Readers and Welcome to my blog.

About Sarah

I’m the mother of 6 wonderful children (I kid you not) and most of my life is taken up with them. In my past life I was a Special Education Teacher, and for the last few years of my career I was a Statewide Advisor for Assistive Technology. Part of my role was to review and evaluate new technology, including both hardware and software, in terms of how it supports the learner and how it fits in with the curriculum. These days I am still being asked for advice on which Apps and programs would be good for children, so it seemed a blog on the subject might be a good thi g.

About this Blog

When I look at any technology, be it an App, a program, a book or a device, I look at it in a number of different ways. I’ll gradually post a few articles on the criteria I look for, for example
ease of use as a very basic criteria, but in general each review will not only describe an item, but will go into detail about why various features are good or not, and how the Apps can be used to support learning.

I might also delve into some research into using this kind of technology with children, tweeking the settings on your device and anything else that seems relevant. I’m open to suggestions.

I also believe in having a bit of fun, so watch out for a few Apps/Books/programs for Mum and Dad.

40 Responses to “About”

  1. Polly Robinson 07/04/2012 at 8:54 pm #

    Hi Sarah, I just wanted to leave a note to thank you for you comment on my poem for the Poetry Competition, week 5.
    I like the idea of a blog devoted to iPad apps and will revisit.

  2. chelseamckell 19/05/2012 at 2:53 am #

    This is exactly what I was looking for! Great blog. Lots of resources. Bookmarking this for sure!

    • Sarah DeBellis 19/05/2012 at 10:14 am #

      Thanks for the feedback. If there is any topic you’d like covered or if you have any suggestions, I’d love to hear them. I’m trying to make the blog a practical resource. The Facebook group (link on the side) has a lot more discussion going on and I also put quick alerts about Apps going free or bits of relevant info that don’t seem worthy of a blog post.

  3. Cindy Holman 19/05/2012 at 12:10 pm #

    Thanks for stopping by my blog today!

  4. Sarah, Would you be willing to contact me at momharpold@aol.com regarding reposting (which I did but sited you and your blog)? Thank you! Enjoy your blog!
    Carol

  5. Paul R Collins 17/07/2012 at 7:58 pm #

    6 kids and you get time for anything else… wow! You are a legend.

    • Sarah DeBellis 18/07/2012 at 10:09 am #

      A legend with a messy house! I aim for hygiene and anything else is a bonus 🙂 Actually, I tend to do my writing while waiting for children or in the middle of the night sitting up with party-boy babies.

  6. Deepshikha Khosla 10/10/2012 at 7:32 pm #

    Hi! Sarah,

    Could I interest you in reviewing an iPhone/iPad app for children to learn the Hindi alphabet? There are so many Non residents outside India looking for ways to teach their children about their heritage and culture. Unfortunately there are very few apps out there for kids to learn Hindi. Let’s Learn Hindi! is an app that aims to bridge that need. Do check out our video at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VR5RYR3OXR0

    • Sarah DeBellis 10/10/2012 at 10:00 pm #

      Deepshiksa, thank you for contacting me. Your app sounds really good and I agree that it seems to fill a need. Unfortunately I feel totally unqualified to review it, as my knowledge in that area is sadly lacking. I am investigating whether one of my friends or readers may know of someone who could do a guest review for the blog. Any app that helps children learn to write their own language is a good thing, and I’d like to do it justice by getting someone who knows Hindi to look at it. I will let you know if I find someone.

      Thanks again, Sarah

  7. Deepshikha Khosla 10/10/2012 at 10:08 pm #

    Thank you Sarah.

  8. Anna 21/10/2012 at 3:16 am #

    Hi Sarah! I was wondering how you pick your apps to review? I was hoping to get an honest review of an emotion diary tool that I developed out of the Stanford Learning, Design and Technology master’s program for therapists to use with their clients with autism or those who need help with their emotional skills. I would love to send you more information. It is called Emotionary by Me.Mu and it’s on the iTunes store for free.

    • Sarah DeBellis 22/10/2012 at 9:41 am #

      I’d be happy to look at your app. My kids don’t have autism, but many of my readers do have kids with ASD and there are quite a few special ed teachers. I’ll mention it in my Facebook group and see if I can enlist the aid of some of these people to help give it a good review. Thanks for bringing it to my attention. I’ll download it today.

      As for how I pick the apps to review, mostly I review the apps I’ve already been using with my children. I look for apps that are going to support them with what they are doing at school/kindy, so I keep an eye out for those kinds of things. The hard part is identifying which apps will be best. I try to avoid paying money and keep an eye out for sales, but then there are apps I’d happily pay a lot for if they do exactly what I need them to do. Thankfully, there are also some excellent free apps that are brilliant too.

      Some publishers have given me codes for apps for review purposes, such as the Baby Learns Colors and Demografix’s School Fonts, and the Happi Papi apps. I’m more than happy to take codes this way, but I have to give an honest review, and if I don’t like something, I’ll say so. So far, the codes I’ve been given have been for great apps so I’ve been able to give good reviews. I’ve also won a couple in give-aways, and if it is a good app, I’m happy to review it. The thing is, this blog is a hobby and my real job is mother to 6 kids, so sometimes life holds up my reviews. I had plans to do three a week, but sometimes I’m lucky to get a single review up if we’ve had some hiccups. It might take a few weeks or more for me to get the review up. Lucky I’m not doing this for money 🙂

      • Anna 14/11/2012 at 12:51 am #

        Thanks so much Sarah. Please let us know if you have any questions whatsoever. The app is free for download for anyone and everyone!! 🙂

  9. Michael O'Leary 05/03/2013 at 9:45 am #

    Hi Sarah
    Lovely to see your blog, and to know you are still passionate about inclusive technologies – congratulations on the 6 children as well 🙂

    • Sarah DeBellis 05/03/2013 at 1:34 pm #

      Thanks Michael. You were one of my early mentors, and I’ll never forget the time you spent with me up in the Far North all those years ago when I was just starting out with assistive technology. You were so patient! I’ll have to catch up with you sometime 🙂

  10. Charlene Cullen 05/03/2013 at 11:22 am #

    Hi Sarah,
    Could you contact me charlenec@spectronics.com.au as we have had some app developers ask us about whether you would be interested in some free codes. We love your blog and are interested to see you thoughts on them too.

  11. irrationaljared 30/05/2013 at 9:27 am #

    Sarah,

    I love what you’re doing here. I was hoping you might take a look at the educational game I just released, XYFlyer:

    http://puzzleschool.com/puzzles/xyflyer

    There’s a demo video of it here:

    It’s available on the iPhone/iPad so if you’d like I can send you a promotional code.

    I spent a lot of time trying to make it fun to play around with equations and graphing without going in to any gimmicks or trying to dress it up at all. So it’s meant to be fun just because of the challenges you overcome and the patterns you recognize as you progress through the game.

    I’d love any feedback you have.

    Thanks,
    Jared

    • Sarah DeBellis 30/05/2013 at 10:30 am #

      Jared, that looks amazing. My friend Josh, who runs the blog Mathematical Mischief, would be really interested in this too. He sometimes does reviews for me. I’ll make sure he sees this. I think it looks really great and would be of interest to schools, but Josh could give some good feedback.

      • irrationaljared 30/05/2013 at 12:22 pm #

        Sarah,

        That would be great. I’d love to hear any feedback that Josh has. I’m checking out his blog right now 🙂

        Thanks so much,
        Jared

  12. Jeff Gilden 02/07/2013 at 1:21 pm #

    Hey Sarah! We just launched a new iPad stylus at http://www.jukestyle.com. Would you be willing to review it on your website? If so, shoot us an email and we will be glad to send you one.

  13. Per-Mikael 16/11/2013 at 12:17 am #

    Hi Sarah,
    My name is Per-Mikael and I work at Wisekids Corporation. WiseKids develops educational toys for children, available on touch based devices such as iPad and iPhone.

    We are going to launch 4 new interactive apps for children (Shape the Village, Pinocchio, Sleeping Beauty, Jack and the Beanstalk) on iPad, iPhone and iPod Touch.

    I am writing to you in request of expedited review of our app.

    I am always open for contact at: pmhellstrand(at)wisekids.com

    • Sarah DeBellis 29/11/2013 at 8:55 am #

      Hi Per-Mikael. I’d love to look at your apps. I’ll be in touch by email.

  14. Lee 13/12/2013 at 8:02 pm #

    Hi Sarah,

    My name is Lee and I’m working with Matoto Play, a new entrant in the app development market for children, who have just released their fantastic first app ‘Mini Pupstars’. I hope you don’t mind me contacting you but I thought I’d see if you would be interested in reviewing and sharing the app. If you’d like to, drop me an email to lee@viralseeding.com and I can send over a promo code so you can download it for free:

    Mini Pupstars – celeb style your 3D pooch in fun and creative app

    Mini Pupstars encourages creative play and helps to develop fine motor skills with the player choosing one of four 3D dogs to style by growing their hair, washing, cutting, shaving and spraying colour before adding accessories and taking a photo on the red carpet. The game features brilliant 3D graphics with the player able to rotate the dog to style from all angles to really get creative!

    Yasmin, the founder of Matoto Play and creator of the app says “The inspiration for Mini Pupstars partly came partly thanks to my nine year old daughter. She really desperately wanted a dog, as we live in an apartment there is a ‘no pets rule’. Plus the fact as a single parent I would personally really struggle to commit to having a dog and juggle daily commitments. One day while she was on her iPad she asked me “Mom wouldn’t it be fun if I could have a dog on my iPad”. Around the same time I had seen photos of the ‘extreme dog grooming’ competitions that are popular in the USA – combining that idea with the many hair salon type apps the concept of “Mini Pupstars” was born”.

    A promotional video can be viewed at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4nN1Lo66nPQ alongside a demonstration of the app at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=71471_7Tuas

    Mini Pupstars is designed for the iPad and iPad Mini and available in the app store at https://itunes.apple.com/en/app/id737804821now for $1.99 just in time for Christmas.

  15. magikidapp 20/03/2014 at 11:17 am #

    Hi Sarah,

    I love your site, the in-depth reviews are great, and the quality of the apps you review can’t be denied – I’m a big fan. I’d love if you could have a look at our new app, Magikid Numbers (number.magikid.com). I know you must be busy with reviews and 6(!) kids.

    Let me know if you want a free download code.

    Sean

    • magikidapp 20/03/2014 at 11:20 am #

      p.s. you can email me at : sean (at) sf (dot) angellecho (dot) com

  16. Taletrove 04/04/2014 at 5:09 am #

    Hi Sarah,
    I am reaching out to you to introduce my website with stories for children (in pdf, flipbook, and audio formats), braille books, reviews of some popular children’s books-all accompanied by learning tools, interactive storytelling tips, and activity suggestions. I also believe the website could serve as a platform for authors and illustrators to share stories and art, get feedback from readers, improve, and create books and art readers love.

    I plan to add more content in future to the website. I would love to hear your thoughts on the site and would really appreciate any feedback or feature suggestions to improve.

    Thanks a bunch for your time and support.

    Best Regards.
    Lakshmi
    http://www.taletrove.com

  17. Natasa Gajic (@atReks) 14/04/2014 at 9:18 am #

    Thank you for reviewing Arithmetic Invaders Math Facts series of iOS apps designed by @Reks.
    @Reks cares about the users. Our dedicated team is standing by to assist you with any questions, comments or concerns at http://www.atreks.com.

  18. Abhishek Awadhani 29/10/2014 at 7:50 pm #

    Dear Sarah,

    I saw your Blog and I love some of the reviews you have written.

    I would like to introduce you to Monster Math – our Math game with a twist!

    https://itunes.apple.com/in/app/monster-math-grade-3-game/id924441242

    Here is a quick trailer –

    As you might notice, we’ve worked hard to craft this app; it combines beautiful artwork, hilarious animations, an engaging story line, and a pretty unique game play. We’ve play-tested it with kids from different countries, ruthlessly removing all frustrations and building an experience that makes kids smile. While doing Math!

    Currently it’s available for download in Canada and India, and we will be launching soon in other countries.

    Would you be interested in doing a prelaunch review for our app?

    I would love to hear from you!!

    Best Regards,
    Mansi
    http://www.makkajai.com

    • Sarah DeBellis 04/11/2014 at 1:49 pm #

      Hi Mansi,
      Going by the trailer, your game looks great. My boys are keen to give it a shot (ages 7, nearly 9 and 10) as the characters look really appealing. Unfortunately I use the Australian store so can’t download it yet, but I’d be interested in having a look at it and doing a review. It reminds me of a game my students used to use way back in the 90s – I think there were robots or something and they had to find equivalent equations, but I haven’t found anything similar to it.

  19. Cathy Lacay 02/12/2014 at 11:56 pm #

    Hi Sarah,

    We’re about to publish the first in a series of interactive tablet-centric books for kids (or “tBooks” for short). The first tBook is called, “If I were a wizard…”

    We’ve already had a lot of positive feedback by people fascinated by the ability to look around and interact with the storyworld just by moving their tablet.

    I wonder if you would be interesting it out on your iOS device (Android is coming later)?
    If so, we’d love to invite you to the pre-release beta so you can check it out: you can signup on http://www.facebook.com/lorecorp

    We would welcome a review from you, or even any feedback that could help us improve it.

    Look forward to hearing from you.Thanks!

    Regards,
    Cathy

    About Lore Corporation
    Lore Corp is a producer and publisher of interactive tablet-centric books for kids, or simply, tBooks.

    Unlike static print-centric books, tBooks are interactive and dynamic (they come alive with touch-driven animations and sound).

    tBooks break the mould of 2D illustrated eBooks because they are imbued with the extra DIMENSION of depth. We use 3D modelled environments to bring another dimension to storytelling.

    We work with our clients and partners to rapidly produce next-generation stories that are “mobile native” – they are designed from the outset to take advantage of all the powerful new features of these platforms.

    More about, If I were a Wizard can be found here:
    http://www.mlabs.co.nz/if-i-were-a-wizard-tbook/

  20. Kate 23/04/2015 at 2:05 am #

    Hi Sarah,
    Could you please take a look at my new learning kids game and if you find it possible review it for your site’s readers?

    The game FIND All is devoted to early childhood education and development for kids of 1-4 years.

    EDUCATIONAL BENEFITS of the game:
    * Improve child concentration and perception.
    * Develop attention and ability to focus
    * Visual-active thinking
    * Fine motor skills

    https://itunes.apple.com/app/id945722705

    http://www.salkagames.com

  21. Mariyan Georgiev 12/06/2015 at 7:38 pm #

    Hi guys!
    I recently published my game ‘Math drag’ on Google Play. It’s an educational math game with 3 levels of difficulty, which makes it fun for kinds and grown-ups.
    Play the game on Google Play

  22. Tony 01/07/2015 at 2:33 am #

    Hello “On Sarah’s iPad”,

    I am Tony, I work to build positive and meaningful relationships with the online community of eduPad. eduPad provides the best educative apps for kids, from 6 to 14 years old!

    I think that you already know our apps and I would like to introduce our brand new version 🙂
    Our apps are perfect to study a little in the summer!

    If you enjoy this version, we would be happy and grateful to have you share it through social media, or maybe with a web post ?
    We can also offer to partner for a contest where the players could win some promo codes to get the apps for free.

    What’s new?

    Power Ups: Power Ups bring extra fun to the app! They allow you to answer without timing, switch question or receive a clue to get a special boost.

    iTooch’s Scratchcards game: you now get a set of scratchcards every single day! With a winning card, you can get Power Ups, extra points or unlock content 🙂

    Daily reward system: constancy is key in our educational context. To foster a regular use, we offer extra bonuses to regular players.

    Introduction of monthly pop quizzes : each month, a new quiz is made available to our users. Plenty of fun topics will be covered, such as sports or historical events. We got great feedbacks from our users, they do enjoy extra content! After the World Music Day quiz last month, we will release the Wild Animals quiz very soon, as well as the Explorer quiz 😉

    You own an Apple device? Try our apps, download is free.

    > https://itunes.apple.com/fr/app/itooch-elementary-school-app/id484570190?mt=8

    You own an Android device? Download is free too!

    > https://play.google.com/store/search?q=itooch&c=apps&hl=fr

    You would prefer an ad-free experience? Send me an email back and we will offer you one or more promo codes!

    Thank you so much for reading our email 🙂
    We are looking forwards to read or hear your feedbacks!

    Tony
    tony@edupad.com

    ————————————————————————————————————————-

    eduPad and the iTooch apps in a nutshell :

    eduPad is a French start up. It was founded in 2011, and it is run by a great team of 6!

    Our apps cover the curriculum in Math, Language Arts, Health and Science, from 1st grade to 8th grade. Our content is written by teachers and complies with the US Common Core Standards.

    What will you find in an iTooch app? Hundreds (even thousands!) of exercises on every chapter of the program + lesson summaries + a unique gaming experience + a fun mascot who plays with the kids!

  23. Jeremy Hor 10/03/2016 at 6:49 pm #

    Hi Sarah,

    I am Jeremy from Zap Zap Math, a mobile-first platform that makes learning math fun and easy for kids aged 4 to 12 through games. Here’s how it works:

    1. Children will play high-quality math games using the mobile app available for iOS and Android.
    2. The games advance as your child does train critical thinking, logic, and problem-solving.
    3. Parent and teacher will be able to track child’s performance in our dashboard.

    Here are what other says.

    “… I’m going to insist everyone reading this download the app NOW. It’s a must-have math app for elementary!”, Smart Apps for Kids.

    We believe that the audience might be interested in Zap Zap Math.

    iOS – https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/apple-store/id1003605763?pt=117783332&ct=ComboStore&mt=8
    Android – https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.visualmathinteractive.zapzapmath

    Jeremy Hor
    Zap Zap Math Team

    • Sarah DeBellis 16/03/2016 at 1:01 pm #

      Hi Jeremy. I’ve downloaded your app and am looking in to it now. Thanks for alerting me to it.
      Sarah

  24. charine2016 20/04/2016 at 9:15 am #

    Hi Sarah,
    I´m excited to share our newest app to the Spelling Bug series.
    Spelling Bug Word Match and coloring is a memory card game where kids can decide which combinations of things (words, pictures, sound etc.) they can have on each matching pair of cards. You can also add your own words and voice to a custom list in order to study your homework words!

    I know you are busy (6 kids!), so here is a list of details. Let me know if you need anything else:

    1. App name: Spelling Bug Word Match
    2. App link on iTunes: https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/spelling-bug-word-match/id1101484757?ls=1&mt=8
    3. Pricing model (is it paid, free, or free with IAPs?): Paid app: $2.99 with no IAP or ads. Pay once, play forever.
    4. Link to a trailer/gameplay video (preferred over screenshots):
    Trailer: https://youtu.be/5doQ8ajF5Vc
    Gameplay: https://youtu.be/cm3vYgnKI3M
    Personalized Word Demo: https://youtu.be/Gkq_uGSrDwk
    5. Screenshots and other info: http://aceedutainmentapps.com/word-match.html
    Press release documents: http://aceedutainmentapps.com/press.html

    FRESH PROMO CODE: Get your always-fresh promo code here: http://aceedutainmentapps.com/free-app-code.html

    • Sarah DeBellis 20/04/2016 at 10:54 am #

      Thanks Charine. I’m always interested to see new spelling apps, particularly those that let you use your own custom lists, and yours looks like it has something new to offer. I tried grabbing the code but unfortunately it came up with the message that it had already been redeemed. The YouTube trailer looks great.

      • charine2016 21/04/2016 at 12:27 am #

        Hi Sarah,
        Thank you for taking a look. Thank you for your observations. I’m passionate about making spelling homework more than just memorizing ten words at a time!

        Here is a new code: L93ENR67FJYL

        Let me know if you need anything else.

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