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  Lvl 4 - Expert

Heather W.

Status: Beta reviewer - Video Reviewer

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

iDevices she/he owns: - iPad2- iPhone4- iPod4G

Description: I am an ESL teacher who uses technology with my students. I use iPad2 in class to strengthen my students' English language skills. I have iPodTouch 4 devices that I send home with some of my students to help reinforce their English skills as well as concepts that they are encountering in their regular classrooms (multiplication, sight words, etc)

Profile categories: Can test apps with kids ages 6-10 - Can test apps with kids ages over 10 - Teaching kids ages 6-10 - Teaching kids ages over 10

Date when her/his profile was validated: 2012-10-01

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

Total review Karma: + 6     ?

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

Find them all: looking for animals [text]

Link to the App Store

What I liked I like the variety of animals covered - both domestic and wild. I also like the variety of activities that I am asked to do - from finding a animal by sight to finding one by sound to taking pictures. I like that the levels don't remove me from what I've been doing, they only extend the farm. I also like that the name of the animal can be heard in different languages.
Improvements I was confused the first time I played this game. I was asked to take a picture to learn more about the animal, but didn't know what that meant. I also didn't know to listen for the animals at night. While I did figure this all out, a young child might get very confused or frustrated. Also, the quiz for the goose asked if it has a carapace. I'm not sure a young child would know this. It seemed a little out of whack with the premise and concept of the game.
General review This is a fun game for young children that helps not only learn the names and image of different animals on the farm, it also helps learn the sounds that the animal makes and how to say the animals' names in different languages. The game has many fun activities to keep a young child entertained and learning. Fun app!

Professor Chomp v1.0 [text]

Link to the App Store

What I liked I like the premise of this game - help the professor gain power points so he can conduct some experiments. The professor dog is cute if a little nerdy just like a professor should be. The actual game play is very simple to pick up and easy to control. The graphics of the game are nicely done and the colors scheme is pleasing.
Improvements While I realize this app is for young children, this app is too simplistic. The game play rapidly becomes very monotonous and boring because every game is the same, there are no levels or progression of skills. In fact, all you have to do is press play and it doesn't matter if you actually try to catch the energy blobs or just let your device lay there, the result is the same, conducting an experiment. The experiments are pretty lack-luster, with the same "creations" coming up over and over. More animation and a progressive skill set would be excellent additions.
General review At this point, I would not recommend this app. It has the potential to be a pretty neat app - maybe if the experiments were somehow tied to the types of energy particles that were captured or if the experiments allowed for some player choice. Also, if the results of the experiment could be "saved" or "collected," the user would feel more incentive to continue play.

The Legend of Momotaro - Version 1.0 [text]

Link to the App Store

What I liked This is one of the most beautiful and engaging books I have ever seen for the iPad. The graphics are stunning and the story is beautiful. I love how the backgrounds on the pages move at different speeds as the page is scrolled and how the page is animated as the story is read.
Improvements There is nothing about this book that I would want to see changed. All I can say is please, please make more books like this! I love the element of being able to find the "secret" item and learning how to say and write that word in Japanese and sometimes even neat information that I didn't know.
General review As an ESL teacher, I seldom come across an interactive book that I can't wait to share with my students. This is that book! I love how it weaves together an ancient traditional Japanese story with the most modern technology to create a book that everyone can share and enjoy while learning about a different culture. Absolutely gorgeousI I can't wait for the next book in this series (I hope it will become a series!)

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

Link to the App Store

What I liked I liked the simplicity of the drawings on this app. They looked like a kid could have drawn it which I think is appealing to kids. I like that you basically can not fail at this game, you cannot move on to the next level or activity until you complete the task correctly.
Improvements I would like to see some connections between what is being asked and the words that appear on the screen. For example, when asked to find the moose from the 3 picture choices, I would like for the word "moose" to light up slowly from left to right in time with the speaker saying the word. When asked to count the objects and touch the correct number on the number line, I would like for the the number line to light up when I touch the object to count it instead of the number line disappearing.
General review This is a cute app with a nice approach to some very basic counting and reading skills. The pictures are cute with not much animation. I'm not sure how many times a child would want to play this app after the initial completion of the game as I didn't see too much variation with what was being asked on the second and third completion.
First 5 minutes video review
Video review once the app was mastered

Splash Money [text]

Link to the App Store

What I liked I like the visuals and layout for this app. At first I wanted the coins to be bigger and more scaled to the screen, but then I realized that the coins are actually life sized! Great app!! I like that the narrator speaks nice and slowly, especially for ESL students. The children and the monkey are really nicely drawn and animate well. I love the monkey's responses in the quiz section. I like information that appears with the lightbulb. I love the pace and information in the tutorials, especially the sequential nature of the lessons. Kids will learn a tremendous amount about money with this app.
Improvements Please include the other graphics that are on our money, especially the quarter and the updated nickel. You might even do another lesson on this because the different images on the same coin can be very confusing, especially to children from other countries. Please adjust the volume difference between the moderator and the monkey on the quiz screens- I was struggling to hear the narrator and then got blasted by the monkey's response. Please lessen the emphasis on the half dollar - it's not a coin that is in abundant circulation.
Please read the quiz word problems! This would place the emphasis on the question regarding the coins and lessen the burden of understanding the written text of what is being asked. Please include punctuation.
One little typo - On the Money in Dollars tutorial, in the example that combines a dollar with change equaling more than $1, the amount of coins is 110 cents but the lesson claims that it is 105 cents. This was a little confusing.
Maybe put the concept of ordering the coins by value (largest value first) in the Value of Coins section so that in the Counting Coins section kids are not learning to place the coins in value order in addition to adding the various values to find a total.
General review This is a great app! I am very excited to use it with my ESL students. It will be a wonderful addition to my teaching tool bag, both in terms of introducing and practicing and reinforcing the concept of coins. I can't wait to share this app with my colleagues who teach early elementary grades.

Math Summoner [text]

Link to the App Store

What I liked This is a beautiful app with very smooth animation. The game allows the user to learn and reinforce math concepts through engaging and fun games that get progressively more challenging without becoming too difficult. I like the ability to unlock new levels and earn new tools to become even more successful. I really like the progress and stats pages and found them very reinforcing and inspiring to beat my accuracy.
Improvements While I like the introductory lesson, I was never sure how the characters within the games were related. When I started with the apprentice level, I kept waiting to be promoted to the magician and then wizard level and I never exactly determined what I needed to do to unlock the skills found within. I was never able to unlock the "summon" skill even at the apprentice level.
General review This is a wonderfully fun app that flows at a comfortable pace to teach and reinforce numerous math compentencies. The beautiful animation makes the game visually engaging while the mathematical questions are randomly created making the game never boring or repetitive. This is a wonderful game that I am excited to use with my students.

iTooch Elementary School [text]

Link to the App Store

What I liked I like the vast array of lessons available with this app. The lessons are extensive and contain fun pictures and graphics. I like the alignment with the Common Core Standards and ease of use. My ESL students liked the look of the app and the ease of how the app works. They liked the use of different colored text in the lessons to emphasize key ideas.
Improvements I would like to see a more extensive tutorial for each lesson. I would like the option of text being read aloud (an accommodation available to ESL students) so that the reading level does not impede the lesson content. I did not like how sometimes the entire question did not fit on the page limiting the students' ability to answer the question. I like the workspace that can be accessed but didn't like that it covered the entire question- students had to memorize the problem to access the workspace. Please use colored text to highlight key aspects of the questions. Feedback for students please.
General review This app has huge potential for helping students master the Common Core Standards. It does not replace a lesson, rather it should be used as a reinforcement and practice tool. As an ESL teacher, I would like to have the option for the content to be read aloud so that the reading level doesn't become a barrier for the mastery of the content. The addition of more interactive lessons could make this a wonderful teaching tool.

Meet Science: Magnetism and Electricity (v1.0.1) [text]

Link to the App Store

What I liked I really like how this app explores the subject of electricity and magnetism with a depth that provided my students many opportunities to learn and be challenged - each at their own level. The home screen is a nice touch because the workbench looks like it belongs to an amateur scientist and helps to set the tone for learning in an approachable and low key manner. I like the cartoon characters who help to relate the concepts.
Improvements I really like how the mini-games reinforce the lessons; however, I would like to have the option of turning off the timers so that the players have the time to experiment and fully grasp the concepts. The timer option could be turned back on to demonstrate full mastery. Also, I would like to see links to the glossary embedded into the lessons so that as the learner reads/listens she can quickly look up an unfamiliar word. It would also be nice if the word the narrator is reading is highlighted so that the learner can read along
General review This is a really nice app that has the trifecta of great content, enjoyable learning space and nice graphics. My students really enjoyed learning about electricity and magnetism because they could work at their own pace and reinforce their learning through quizzes and videos. We learned a tremendous just by watching the videos accompanying the experiments.