Geometry Quest by Bugaboo Math Games For Kids

Since I have not reviewed many educational Geometry apps, I was excited when the publisher Bugaboo requested that I review this app. Geometry Quest does not disappoints. In this app, you get the opportunity to travel around the world. Each city has a set of geometry questions that you need to answer to be able to travel to another part of the world (and another city). In order to be able to visit a country you need to have a passport. You start the game with 3 passports. You lose a passport every time you miss a question. If you lose all your passports you are not able to travel to the next part of the world. As you enter each part of the world you are presented with some pictures from that area.

The app is very well done. The questions and answers are clear, and the app provides hints if you get the answer incorrect with your first try.

Now for the things I didn’t like. On one of the devices I tested it, it would take a very long time to load the scene picture after selecting a place on the map. It took so long that initially I thought the app was frozen. Although the tablet is not state of the art by todays standards, it still is fairly fast (dual core, 1 gig ram). I understand the problem of trying to support many android devices, but as a consumer it is hard to pay for an app that might not work on a device. At least there is a free version. I also wish the app supported landscape view for all its screens. As it is now, some screen flip to landscape and other don’t. And lastly I wish it supported multiple users, and provided some description of what the particular lesson is about.

Overall a very good app. I tested the Android free version as prompted by the publisher. It is available on Google Play, the Android App Store, and the Barnes and Noble store for the Nook.

Number Splash by DMT Source

It is rare I get to review an Android app. Very rarely are publishers willing to send me the app via e-mail (due to piracy concerns), and unfortunately both the Google Play and the Amazon App store do not have an easy way to gift an app. I was very excited to receive Number Splash by DMT Source.

The app consists of 6 different math activities that you individually select from a menu. Let’s Count allows you to count back and forth by click on a set of arrows. While clicking the arrows, fish appear on the left top of the screen. On other activities you have to guess what number comes next (What’s Missing), count the fish and provide the count of fish by clicking on a box (How Many), answer addition/subtraction equations, and clicking on bubbles until they add up to a number (bubble sum).

From the settings menu you are able to adjust the ranges of the numbers used in the activities (from 1 to 20 in most cases), see a progress report, and change the language. The language settings of the app is a very useful feature. You can select two languages at the same time. Then at any time a number is read, the app will read it in the two languages that have been selected. This is a great option for children and adults trying to learn a second language.

The game has average graphics and somewhat repetitive background music. I did not find a way to turn the sound off for the app itself, but of course you can turn down the volume for the device (less convenient since you lose the spoken numbers). The equations are missing the equal sign (a minor gripe); and the app cannot keep track of progress for multiple children.

Overall a very good app. The ability to select multiple languages is a great feature. The app was provided free by the publisher. I tested it on a 4 inch phone, a 7 inch tablet and a 9 inch tablet. The app didn’t have any problems adjusting to the different screen sizes.

iTooch Elementary School by eduPad Inc.

iTooch Elementary School app is a typical question and answer study aid for elementary students with an interesting twist.

The questions are very nicely written and presented. They are also clearly worded and easy to see. The questions are not all words and multiple choices. Some of the questions have pictures, graphs and other elements. Some of the elements even zoom when clicked. And some of them are answered by typing, and underlining.

You are able to pick particular topics out-of-order (as seen on the screenshots). The app keeps track of the students progress and all the questions have an info screen to provide you with detail about how to solve the problem. The actual app is free, but each of the subjects cost around $4.99. Fortunately all the current content allows you to try a few lessons before you buy.

And now for the twist. As an educator you are able to create content that will show up in the in-app store of the app. The educator creates the content using an online content creation tool (which I didn’t try). Then the profits of any sales of the particular book is shared with the content creator. This technically allows educators with neither the resources or knowledge to create apps to distribute content for a profit.

As usual my review would not be complete without my gripes. The questions are not read, so children that have not mastered reading but should be able to answer the question will need the questions read. Also I couldn’t find a way to handle multiple students other than resetting the entire app. When you reset the app, the score and progress is erased. This is problematic in households with more than one child in grade school and not one device per child. Hopefully these items are oversight on my part, and are existing (but well hidden) features of the app. Also I find it interesting that a Windows 8 version exists, but none for Android devices.

Overall the app is fantastic, and recommended as a study aid for students in grade school. I tested the free iOS version both on my iPad and iPhone.

Splash Math Grade 3 by Study Pad, Inc.

Splash Math Grade 3 is an impressive app (both in scope and execution). The app covers more concepts than I can possibly review here, but the Study Pad site includes the entire list of items covered.

The main portion of the app is a set of questions that you can answer by clicking at the correct answer. This same concept is used for both practicing the concepts and testing the concepts. The app also has other areas like the aquarium where the student can buy fishes and crabs with the points that he/she won by completing the lessons. The concepts are taught adequately and with visual aide where appropriate. The app tracks progress, and can send reports.

The rest of the app is also very well done. The graphics are a combination of illustrations and what appear to be pictures of Origami animals. And the sound effects are not jarring.

Although the app is designed for third grade, it could be used for student at the end of second grade. And it can be also used in 4th to learn and practice a student’s weaknesses.

Overall a great app and a great study partner for a student in 3rd grade. Highly recommended. Study Pad, Inc makes similar apps for other grades. All apps are available for the iPhone and iPad (unfortunately no Android version). I tested on the iPad (provided for free by the publisher).

Compare A Twist by App of Approval, LLC

Compare A Twist is a study aid app. The game play consists of dragging items (either pictures or words) to the appropriate category. The set of items and the categories that go with those items is considered a lesson.

The game comes with a set of pre-made lessons, but the power of the app is in the ability to create your own lessons. Lessons could be created, saved and loaded from Google docs. The results of the lessons can be mailed. The report includes data like how many of the items were answered correctly and on what attempt. Teachers, parents and educators can create a generic Google account were they post the lessons and then the students can retrieve the lessons and send back the results.

The graphics are simple but adequate. The app provides audio and visual feedback when you select the appropriate category and when you don’t. When running a lesson you can also select the type of bucket (2 are available) to drop the items into.

I wish the app had the ability to create more than two categories. I can think of many lessons where more than 2 categories would be helpful. The Google log-in screen also does not have a back button. On two occasions, I ended up being stuck in the Google pages without being able to return to the app (had to quit and restart). I also wish the lesson report was in non-editable PDF format instead of text.

A very solid app. I reviewed the iPad version (provided by the publisher). I didn’t find an Android version.

Shakespeare In Bits By Mindconnex Learning Ltd.

Works of Shakespeare abound for free from online booksellers. You can get them in paperback for less than $8. Plenty of people reading them can be found on YouTube. So why would anybody buy these same works for $14 each on the Apple App Store?

Shakespeare In Bits is beautifully animated, provides a space to write notes as it is read to you, is annotated, provides clarification (in the way of synonyms) for certain words, summary for each act/scene, character relationship map and you can even show the animation on a monitor (via AirPlay). Sure you can cobble together all this information for free on the web, but it wouldn’t be as polished and as enjoyable as this app.

My complaints are minor: No Android version exists, although technically you can use the web browser (I did not test this). In a couple of the scenes it was hard to hear the words over the background music. Perfectly read, but I felt some of the characters didn’t act it out as well as they should have (but this is subjective, and for $14.00 you can’t expect Claire Danes).

For a child struggling to understand any of these great works, I think Shakespeare In Bits is a great addition to the learning tool kit.

It is also available for teachers and teaching institutions online.