Tag: Teaching »
This week at 148Apps.com, we took a closer look at what may be the future of Disney Interactive Entertainment: Disney Infinity. Site founder Jeff Scott writes, "Disney Infinity will be a multi-property, multi-platform exploration game which will let you can combine various Disney characters and worlds to use your imagination to the fullest. It will be a combination of real world toys and video games, similar to Skylanders, but taken to the extreme. For example, in Disney Infinity you can answer the question: who would win a race between Lightning McQueen from Cars and Dash from The Incredibles?
This is both good and bad news for iOS users. While the mobile part of Disney Infinity will be initially limited to so-called support apps, it will evolve over 2013 to a full Disney Infinity platform, though we are still trying to get details on that."
Over at GiggleApps.com, Amy Solomon reviewed My Beastly ABCs, saying, "I really appreciate not only the colorful look of this app, complete with wonderful illustrations and mild animated moments containing both a vintage sense of style as well as a modern look and feel, but also the pitch-perfect use of suspenseful, jazzy music and perfectly realized narration by celebrated voice-over artist Jim Dale as well."
And what week would be complete without a new KickStarter spotlight from AndroidRundown.com? Joseph Bertolini writes, "I just wrote an app review about an app that really helps me keep my life organized called Catch Notes. In that post I talk about the struggles I – like millions of other people – have with remembering events and to-do items. Apps in this space are generally very similar and are just slightly different iterations of the same thing; the idea stays consistent and there is very little motivation to pay attention to them. This is most apparent when trying to work on bad habits or trying to start new good ones. This is not going to be a cheesy New Year’s post, but the best way to change for the better is to work on the small things instead of trying to make large drastic changes. Since the biggest problem with existing apps is that there is a lack of motivation to continue checking them, and the medium that has most mastered this addictive motivation are video games, it was only a matter of time before there was a hybrid love-child of the two. This chimera is one of the more creative KickStarter projects we have done here, and it is called HabitRPG."
Educators face a common plight, regardless of what they teach: how to inspire their students to be interested in the subject matter. Perhaps it's down to human nature, that anything that must be learnt is immediately dismissed. I'm as guilty as many others, only truly appreciating the works of Shakespeare when it came to having the choice of reading his work. I've got a feeling, though, that if apps such as Explore Shakespeare were around when I was learning, it would have helped.
The Explore Shakespeare series has recently been released by the Cambridge University Press, offering users the chance to read the full play, listen to an audio performance of it (featuring the voices of actors such as Michael Sheen and Kate Beckinsale) as well as explore and analyze the content.
But how does it actually fare with its core market? Headmistress of St. Mary's school, Cambridge, Charlotte Avery explained to us that the students were immediately enthusiastic during their time with the Romeo & Juliet app, she particularly enjoyed "the ease with which the students can find out the meaning of a word or phrase by simply tapping on it as they read," as well as a "diagram of all the characters involved in a particular scene," reducing any confusion that can come from understanding complex fight scenes in the play. The girls themselves explained that they appreciated the color photographs of professional productions "so that you can imagine what is going on" and that it was "fun to use."
Given the school's policy of "Bring Your Own Devices" into school, the Explore Shakespeare series looks set to be quite the hit there and hopefully elsewhere, too. Charlotte Avery explained it best that "bringing iPads into the classroom is the way to go!", pointing out that it helps to "bridge the 'disillusionment gap' between what young people experience with technology inside and outside of school."
It's an interesting move for education and one that I'd heartily recommend. Anything that brings classic literature to life for a new generation has to be a good thing. The Explore Shakespeare apps are available now. They're usually priced at $13.99, but currently on sale at $8.99 each.
This week at 148Apps.com, we celebrated the coming Memorial Day holiday with a closer look and an ever-growing list of apps on sale. Site editor Rob LeFebvre writes, "So, it’s that time of year again! BBQs, lawn chairs, beer, and the ability to finally wear shorts with sandals without fear of frostbite. Tan those legs and check out all the huge sales that are going on across the App Store below. We’ll try and keep it updated as we go this weekend, so be sure to let us know of any good sales on iOS apps..."
At GiggleApps, writer Amy Solomon reviewed The First Million-Teach Your Child to Read. Solomon says, "The First Million is a lovely universal “mix and match” book application that adults and children will find interesting as well as intuitive as here, as the pages of this book are split into three sections – each being able to be flipped back and forth to create new and intriguing illustrations and word combinations. Unlike other “mix and match” books where one can look for the corresponding thirds of the same image to make a match, this app is completely open-ended with no right or wrong matches to be made, giving children free range to produce any and all combinations they may fancy."
Finally, 148Apps.biz writer Kevin Stout reported on Disney's push into Angry Birds territory. Stout writes, "Intensely popular Disney game, Where’s My Water?, will be receiving its first line of merchandise based on the game. The physics-based puzzler by Disney has been popular on both iOS and Android. Fans of the popular game can now buy all kinds of merchandise featuring the story’s character, Swampy the Alligator."
This week at 148Apps.com, two great new apps for kids were featured: AutisMate and Ruckus Reader. Writer Jennifer Allen had this to say about AutisMate: "AutisMate was designed by Jonathan Izak, someone whose younger brother and first cousin who have autism. It allows users to add their own pictures, videos and voice recordings to the app in order to create scenes that help promote positive interactions."
Kevin Stout contributed the following about Ruckus Reader: "When a child is in possession of a device as versatile as an iPad, it could be just as distracting as it is productive. A new series of apps by Ruckus, Ruckus Reader, has been released that help parents keep track of their children’s progress through Ruckus Reader books."
Meanwhile, at GiggleApps.com, Amy Solomon was investigating the hidden joys of Smash Your Food HD, "Smash Your Food HD is a highly entertaining app for iPad dedicated to the better understanding of the amounts of sugar, salt and oil found within foods that are commonly eaten. With five levels included, players are asked to determine the amounts of these substances by reviewing the nutritional facts of each food in question and then watching as these foods get pulverized – much to the delight of children."
And last, but certainly not least, 148Apps.biz writer Kevin Stout reported on Apple's recent change in policy regarding iAd revenues: "Before April 1st, developers earned 60% of the iAd revenue they generated within iAd-supported apps. Now developers will receive 70% of iAd revenues, according to Apple’s Developer Center. Developers will now receive this higher percentage for both app download and iAd revenues. This is likely to be a rather large boost in income for developers that use iAd as their primary source of revenue for their free apps."
And, to paraphrase Cronkite, that's the way it was. Keep track of all the latest happenings across the iOS and mobile universe by following us on Twitter and liking us on Facebook. You'll be glad you did. Until next time, watch out for the hoary hosts of Hoggoth!
This week at 148Apps, writer Gianna LaPin continued the 500,000 Apps Interview Series by chatting with Colin Lynch of Freeverse. Lynch says, "There are plenty of skill-sets that are helpful in creating great apps and great games. An eye for design, an ability to analyze the market and spot opportunities, speed of thought and action to take advantage of those opportunities, great coding skills, flexibility to work around problems or change directions when events warrant."
Over at our kid-centric sister site GiggleApps, reviewer Amy Solomon took a thorough look at Practice Book, a new iPad app that uses a familiar connect-the-dot approach to helping children learn letters and words. Solomon writes, "Because my son is new to creating letters, this is an app we work on together. I may demonstrate the correct way to connect the dots in terms of the up or down motions commonly used to make letters or give him simple instructions that he can follow by himself. Sometimes I hold his hand and together we trace over template in the hope that his muscle memory for writing these letters will develop. We often use a stylus as well to get used to holding a pencil to write."
And at Android Rundown, Carter Dotson comments on the new that iOS superhit Instagram is coming to the Android platform...sort of...maybe...one day. He writes, "Instagram’s CEO Kevin Systrom has announced that an Android version of their photo sharing service is “on the horizon” for Android. The app is very close to being real, as they don’t even have a team assembled to develop the app for Android. That is also sarcastic."
Finally, here in the states, it's the Labor Day weekend. That means scads of sales on tons of apps. Keep up to date with the latest and greatest changes by visiting our Huge Labor Day Weekend Price Drop Round-Up. There are great deals to be had, and some amazing games to play in between bites of char-broiled goodness.
That's it for this week. Want to know the latest and greatest news about everything happening in the iOS world, including giveaways and contests? Join us on our Twitter and Facebook streams. You'll be glad you did. See you next week!
Are iPads the future of education?
Well, maybe not. But there's no denying that "abc PocketPhonics" is an amazing app. A universal app—it works with both iPhone and iPad—PocketPhonics teaches the basics of reading and writing to young kids. Most surprising? It seems to work.
With reading, the app uses the "synthetic phonics" method supported by US, UK, and Australian governments. Kids are first taught letter sounds (instead of the names of the letters), including hybrid sounds such as "ch" and "sh." US and UK pronunciations are both included, so you don't have to worry about your kid picking up the "wrong" accent. (Darn!)
And for writing, the app demonstrates how to draw the letters, instead of just presenting pictures. Kids can then trace the letters' outlines on the iPad or iPhone using their finger. If you chose, the app will then grade their accuracy. I can see this being very useful for young learners especially—tracing with a finger is infinitely easier than using a pencil. Cursive and print alphabets are both included.
Finally, PocketPhonics rounds out its offering with a sound-based word "spelling game," which includes over 170 words with accompanying pictures. There's also a "ParentZone" area where parents can tweak the app's settings.
Oh, and it's only $0.99.
While I doubt that a single app will ever be able to replace real-life teaching, abc PocketPhonics certainly looks like a competent, comprehensive app. It won't teach letter names, but it can get pre-readers "hooked on phonics."
You do remember those old commercials, right? Don't you?