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  Lvl 4 - Expert

Becky W.

Status: Beta reviewer - Video Reviewer

Categories of apps she/he wants to review: Books - Education - Entertainment - Games - Lifestyle - Photography - Productivity - Utilities - Other

iDevices she/he owns: - iPad2- iPhone3G

Description: I have a masters degree in Educational Technology with an emphasis on PreK-6th grade. I have worked as a Technology Master Teacher and a Literacy Master Teacher and written math curriculum. Although I do not have the knowledge to write my own apps, I certainly can help developers with the educational merits of their apps.

Profile categories: Can test apps with kids ages 3-5 - Can test apps with kids ages 6-10 - Teaching kids ages 3-5 - Teaching kids ages 6-10 - Teaching kids ages over 10 - Homeschooler - Educational Technology specialist

Date when her/his profile was validated: 2012-09-28

User who invited him/her: Jean-Eudes L.

Total review Karma: + 7     ?

Each time a developer thinks a review from a reviewer is useful, he give to this reviewer +1 in review Karma. The more Karma a reviewer has, the better her/his reviews are assessed!


Her/His app reviews

JigSaw Zoo Animal Puzzles - Animated Puzzle Fun for Kids with Funny Cartoon Animals! [text]

Link to the App Store

Rating  
What I liked I loved the selection of puzzles with your apps and my children love the reward of an animation at the end. They repeat puzzles just to see the animation again. The customization of puzzles provides for more challenge for older kids or those that have excelled quickly. Nicely done!
Improvements I would like to see some rotation puzzles included. Being able to see the image in the same perspective is a nice challenge, but seeing an image in a different orientation provides even a higher level challenge. Not sure if it is possible but it would be an asset.
General review This is a wonderful app for visual discrimination for children. As a parent, I appreciate the level of support it provides. A slight shadow can be displayed to help little ones get the pieces in the right place or that support can be removed. The most exciting feature is the animation...who wouldn't love that. Additionally this app has customization to make it a challenge for many users.

Find them all: looking for animals [text]

Link to the App Store

Rating  
What I liked This is an engaging app with multiple levels of involvement. The visual search for animals with audio "hints" scores big! Then up it a notch and now you play into visual memory with the night search. Using the camera also created a reward for the user.
Improvements To improve the app, I would suggest shortening the duration (perhaps by reducing the number of animals) or unlocking different sections of play. When tested with a 4 year old she was not interested in progressing through all the levels before she lost interest. When tested with an 8 year old she had the stamina to get through but was growing frustrated. Did experience some crashes during night time scene.
General review This is a well thought out product with multiple levels of engagement for users 3-8 years old. There are so many animals to learn and find! Also the rewards are plentiful -- I especially enjoy the bobble head realistic photograph reward. Too cute! Nice job!

Math Summoner [text]

Link to the App Store

Rating  
What I liked This app is full of variety. You never know what kind of challenge you will receive! There are three different levels to meet the needs of all learners. I really liked the music score and the built in breaks while the summoners are collecting mana.
Improvements I would like some tips on the aliens. They were a complete surprise to me and took me awhile to figure out how to destroy them. I was perplexed because i kept solving problems correct but the aliens would not go away. I might suggest fewer sets (cubes) to achieve completion of a level. I would also like more control of the levels so I could adjust as needed.
General review I liked this app. I was intrigued to keep playing and quickly learned how to use my resources to my benefit. I liked being in conrol of which numbers to use in the equations. This encourages the learned to consider all possible answers in anticipation of the operation.

SirMania - Play & Learn v1.1 [text] [video]

Link to the App Store

Rating  
What I liked I really liked the illustrations in this app. The colors used and the technique made for a pleasant viewing experience. I also appreciated the variety of activities provided to the users. Also the way incorrect responses got neither a reward or punishment.
Improvements The owl is adorable but the voice is terribly distracting. The layout of the sheep in counting Shepard should resemble a 10 frame. Tally marks or number line counting backward when asked to find a certain number will help users to monitor their progress.
General review I believe this app is a good first attempt at a unique app for young children. In order for it to be more appealing more tangible rewards need to be earned. I was confused with unlocking an apple. Small rewards along the way may keep children more engaged.
First 5 minutes video review
Video review once the app was mastered

The Whole Truth about Santa Claus [text]

Link to the App Store

Rating  
What I liked I was fascinated by this app! I never wanted to rush through it. I listened to the pleasant narration in English while accompanied by thoughtful background sounds. It all worked together beautifully. The illustrations were simplicitic to draw the reader to the heart of the text and for once I enjoyed minimal interactions.
Improvements I was perplexed by the highlighting and underlining of some of the text. It kept my mind working to determine if there was more there than random placement of graphics. I couldn't find the reason. I believe there needs to be more warning about the nature of the story being for much older kids - teens and such. Perhaps in the title? I know for content it earns a 4+ rating, but I wonder if that can be changed. And finally, the last page would be more powerful by removing the first part of the third sentence "There is no magic" and add a final sentence to that paragraph, "That is the magic."
General review This is a powerful story for teens and young adults demonstrating the kindheartedness present in every day citizens not just during the holiday season but throughout the year. This opens to the door to search within to find how to be more like "Fred". This heartwarming, touching story brought tears to my eyes.

Baby DJ 2.0 [text] [video]

Link to the App Store

Rating  
What I liked I think this app is a very creative outlet for those musically inclined. The tracks themselves are well made. The interface is appealing with the spinning discs and the art work is high quality. I did enjoy the illustrations as well as the abstract swirls. Also the number of available tracks was impressive.
Improvements I think this app needs a tutorial or at least a link to a website that gives a tutorial. I am not musically inclined so I really had no idea where to begin. I understand there is an art to creating music as a DJ does and I believe most people would benefit from some instruction. Additionally, and I know this will not change, the title "Baby" DJ is decieving. This could be fun for all ages.
General review My general opinion is that this app needs to be targeted to a wider audience. The title itself is limiting. I would also suggest giving some kind of instruction/tutorial/challenge to entice the user to participate. That would lead to more success which in turn makes the app more enjoyable.
First 5 minutes video review
Video review once the app was mastered

Christmas Karaoke: Christmas Carols & Christmas Songs vers 1.0 [text]

Link to the App Store

Rating  
What I liked In addition to a Karaoke app this app also provides historical data about the songs origin. I found this very interesting. There were many traditional carols to choose from as well as more modern and cultural varieties. Sixteen songs is a good number to provide.
Improvements I was a bit disappointed that a wifi network was needed for this app to run. I hoped to take the app along with us while viewing Christmas lights. O Little Town of Bethlehem has a different tune than what I am used to. Songs without vocals would benefit by adding them. White Christmas intro is too long. Oh come all ye Faithful is not in English and not useful to the US market.
General review This is an OK Karaoke app with nothing more. The value of this app would increase if there were customizable features such as turning on/off vocals and a recording feature. There is a wide variety of songs, traditional and modern. It functions like a Karaoke player.

Baby Learns Simple Objects 1.1 [text]

Link to the App Store

Rating  
What I liked I enjoyed interacting with this app and my preschooler even though it is targeted toward a younger child. I liked the pleasant visuals and the mild interactions. The objects that reacted to identification didn't distract from the purpose. The childs voice was pleasant and easy to understand.
Improvements I understand vocabulary apps are tricky do to regional terminology but here are a few suggestions. Bedroom: bed - crib, chest - drawer, switch - light. Kitchen: pie with a candle could be confused as a cake, glass - cup, possibly add a microwave oven. Outdoors: the pronunciation of gosling is incorrect and add the noun rock. Playground: Teddy bear is in a wagon but wagon is not introduced. This could cause confusion.
General review This is a nice vocabulary development app for toddlers with pleasing visuals and audio. It includes 4 scenes with numerous objects to identify. The app allows for a learn mode and a play mode. The play mode incorporates listening, following directions and visual discrimination.

The Friendly Ogre [text]

Link to the App Store

Rating  
What I liked I liked the intriguing story about a young girl who befriends an ogre in the library. They rhythm and language complimented the artistic expression of the illustrations. Additionally the minimalistic animations added to the story. An overall pleasant listening and/or reading experience.
Improvements In the future I would like to see more standardized punctuation. At the beginning the quotations are set apart by a symbol but as the text carries on the conversation between the ogre and the girl are not set apart by common punctuation. Also I don't believe the music adds anything to the reading enjoyment.
General review This is an enjoyable read for older girls or boys. The author creates wonderfully imagery and pathos with the main character. Great as a read aloud or independent reading and a story meant to be discussed with higher level questioning. The voice over is a pleasant addition to the app.

Hamster Chase [text] [video]

Link to the App Store

Rating  
What I liked I liked the challenging puzzles in this app. I found it refreshing that the task frequently changed. What I thought was just a maze became a task of avoiding holes, and then changed again to battling a cat. The visual instructions were the best! No reading skills needed and no language issues to address.
Improvements In future versions I would like to see more uses for the coins earned. I enjoy mastering the leveled challenges and would never use my coins to skip a level. I would like to use reward coins to personalize my hamsters in some ways or gain an additional skill to make the challenge easier.
General review This is a fun leveled game in which your success unlocks different challenges. This game uses a the tilt of the device to move the hamsters through mazes and traps and predators. It requires a keen eye, well thought out movements, and awarenss of body position to succeed at this challenging game.
First 5 minutes video review
Video review once the app was mastered

AdjustGrid / version1.0 [text] [video]

Link to the App Store

Rating  
What I liked I thought the interface was helpful and intrinsic to it's operation. The self timer feature was an added bonus that I didn't expect. The "About" section was a nice tutorial for a novice like me to learn more about composing a scene to make a pleasant photograph.
Improvements In the future, I would like to see the ability to scroll through the photos in the camera roll. Also as a novice I did not know what gradienter was and the self time button was not well labeled. I was able to determine those purposes through the use of the app.
General review This is a very user friendly app for the amature photographer to help with composing a photo. The interface is intuitive and does not interfere with the overall functionality of the camera. It also provides a brief tutorial to explain the use of the grids.
First 5 minutes video review
Video review once the app was mastered

Jungle Picnic 10.2. [text] [video]

Link to the App Store

Rating  
What I liked I liked this app because it is a story and a game that reinforces early critical thinking skills. I also enjoyed using this app with my preschooler because it is so intuitive. Besides the highlighted text in the story there is no addition words or language to interfere with the task. Everything is visual.
Improvements I especially liked that I could access the games outside the story. I would like more customization options to target certain skills. Although I like that there is no timer present, if my child is using the app and I want to gauge his success, if I had a reports section telling how long it took him to complete the task, that would be valuable information.
General review Jungle Picnic is a nice little app for younger children. It contains a story with three mini games of classifying, sorting, and one-to-one correspondence. The games increase in difficulty as play progresses and are available outside the story. The prompts and instructions are mostly visual with an occasional pleasant voice guiding the child when needed.
First 5 minutes video review
Video review once the app was mastered

SIMPLY MISSY HD [text]

Link to the App Store

Rating  
What I liked I liked the premise of this app. My preschoolers are always planning a party during imaginative play and this app transfers this desire to a device. The music was complementary and the child's voice and poem were very sweet and likable by young children.
Improvements In the future I would like this app to be less cumbersome. It took too long to complete the task. I was excited to go shopping and wanted to interact with the screen immediately to do so (open the door to enter the shop, try on the different clothes to see which I liked). Instead perhaps, play the narrative while interaction is going on. Also the bubbles between screens was a dectractor for me. I didn't see the purpose as well as the other 4 buttons (music, cash register, Missy, and the other I don't recall).
General review This app has potential to be entertaining for children. The party planning is highly rewarding. All children enjoy checking off tasks on a list. All in all it is a bit cumbersome and needs some refining to be able to hold a young child's attention. I look forward to future Missy adventures.