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  Lvl 4 - Expert

Jon S.

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- iPad3- iPhone3GS- iPhone4- iPhone5

Description: @ipadsammy is how I am known on Twitter. Over 4300 educators follow and rely on me for app advice. That can be very helpful if you choose me to review, instant exposure. I am an educational technologist and have over 200 iPads at my K-5 school. I also am able to test with former students, and my own PK-8 year old kids.

Profile categories: Can test apps with kids ages 0-2 - Can test apps with kids ages 3-5 - Can test apps with kids ages 6-10 - Can test apps with kids ages over 10 - Teaching kids ages 0-2 - Teaching kids ages 3-5 - Teaching kids ages 6-10 - Teaching kids ages over 10 - Homeschooler - Educational Technology specialist - Gamer

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

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

Wubbzy's Space Adventure [text]

Link to the App Store

Rating  
What I liked Wubbzy's Space Adventure is a fun interactive book. I really liked how the words highlighted along with the voice as the story was read to you. I also thought that the graphics and animations were excellent. The grown-ups corner is a nice feature that I have not seen before in an interactive book. I really wish that all the storybook apps would contain some questioning like that. The extra videos and drawing features are also great, and my kids enjoyed those a lot.
Improvements The games in the middle of the story need to be updated to something more challenging. The game play on Space Craze was just sort of lackluster. The Man In The Moon game was just a Wack A Mole throw away. If there was a way to make those games with some relevant learning, it would be much better. I would have also liked the videos to highlight the words as they were sung, just like the storybook.
General review Wubbzy's Space Adventure is a very entertaining storybook app. It can be read to the child, or the child can read and interact with the story on their own. Each page has at least three animations that the child can interact with after they read the page. There are two game imbedded in the story for the child to play with. The grown-ups corner allows the child and parent to read the book and ask comprehension questions about the story.

Math Summoner [text]

Link to the App Store

Rating  
What I liked I like how the app helps students practice reflections and rotations. Those concepts are some of the skills that students need to practice most. I also liked the graph and feedback that the app gave at the end of the level. The overall average and amount gained or lost on each level was helpful feedback too.
Improvements I didn't think the controls were very intuitive for the player. As the levels went up, the play got very confusing and students did not know what to do. The confusion of the game play took away from the learning outcome for the app. Many things seemed out of place there were aliens, dogs, birds, and stars all in the same level. The tie in with the magic summoner did not make sense to me.
General review Math Summoner practiced some concepts like reflections and rotations which are not found on many other apps. The graphs and feedback from the math practice were very helpful to chart student growth. The overall game play was confusing and not as intuitive for the player. There were also too many things going on in the game which distracted the learner and did not seem to tie together the magic theme.

The Ant and the Grasshopper v1.1 [text]

Link to the App Store

Rating  
What I liked The story had great graphics. I liked the 3D effect on the pages that were interactive. I thought the story kept true to the fable, and I liked the fact that you could turn the music on and off easily. The navigation of the story was very simple with only a few buttons so that a younger child could use the app. The read it yourself, or have it read to you was also a nice feature.
Improvements I would like the story to highlight the words that are being spoken in the Read It To Me feature. I think that is a very important skill that all educators want for early literacy apps. The story was short, and I could see the child getting tired of the app after a few uses because of the simplicity of the app. Three interactive pop up pages will not be enough after a few times reading the story.
General review I think the story had a good feature going for it with the 3D element. I would have liked to have seen more of those pages and more interactive elements. I like the fact that it is simple to use for younger kids, but could also see them getting bored with the app after a few times through. I also want any story that is read to a younger child to highlight the words as they are read to start building fluency practice.

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

Link to the App Store

Rating  
What I liked Sir Mania was very simple for my three year old to use right away. She picked start on the app and she was off and playing. She really enjoyed the owl that gave positive feedback. I think that the puzzle game was also the one that she enjoyed the most. I thought the music and appearance of the app were also pleasant to her. I liked the concepts that were reinforced, counting, colors, and identifying animals.
Improvements Sir Mania was too easy for my daughter to master. After going through all the games in the app two times, she was reluctant to keep playing. I felt that she wanted the games to do more, or have a little more substance to them. I think that there could be letter identification, or number identification games to go with the counting games. I also think maybe an animation, or a game featuring the owl would be good.

General review I think that Sir Mania had some good concepts for younger students, but lacked the overall pizazz or features that would hook in a young learner to keep playing. I liked the positive owl and the skills that were covered, but thought there were more opportunities to cover other concepts. Letter recognition being one of the main skills a three year old needs to start having reinforced. I think if there was an update with more games, that it would be a positive step for the app.
First 5 minutes video review
Video review once the app was mastered

Word Scout Sight Word Finder v1.0 [video]

Link to the App Store

Rating  
First 5 minutes video review
Video review once the app was mastered

Wubbzy's The Night Before Christmas [text]

Link to the App Store

Rating  
What I liked Altering the Night Before Christmas Wubbzy style was a great idea. It engaged my children and they enjoyed the three games hidden in the story. The option to have the story read to you, read on your own, or to even read without the animations is great. The music videos add a fun reward after reading the book. The Wubbzy storybook apps always feel you get good value for your money with the games, story, and videos.
Improvements I would like to see the words in the music videos highlighted when they are being sung to help with reading fluency. The app does it for the storybook, so it needs to be consistent throughout the app. I liked that two of the games had a shape matching feature, but the third game has no learning value. Three different learning skill games would make the app complete.
General review The Wubbzy storybook apps are affordable and provide great entertainment for children. They help with reading fluency, and make reading fun with the interactive animations and games. The music videos are one of the best parts of the cartoon show, and are included in the app to give a reward after finishing the book. Taking the Night Before Christmas classic, and giving it some Wubbzy flair is a great idea.

Legend of Fat Ninja [text]

Link to the App Store

Rating  
What I liked The graphics and sounds for the game were very good. I like the concept of the game too, a cross between Kung Fu Panda and Angry Birds. It was entertaining to play and I found myself wanting to play it more. It wasn't easy from the start, so you had to practice the game in order to improve. Challenging games are more fun to play, than something that is too easy.
Improvements I struggled with what I was trying to accomplish to win the game. I knew I was supposed to knock out the chef, but I never saw him after he was in the intro. So I knew where he was hiding, but I couldn't knock out everyone to get to him. I also would like to be able to toggle the screen to see where I am shooting instead of launching my Fat Ninja blindly.
General review I think that the app is very challenging. The concept of the game is fun, and left me wanting to play it more. I like the graphics and sound that go with the game, and think the production is very well done. The game is not easy, and I think that gives the app more value than a game that is easy to master.

Kirin Wars [text]

Link to the App Store

Rating  
What I liked The app drew me in quickly. I am not an RPG player, but I quickly started to size up what I needed to do. Before I knew it, I had been playing the game for about thirty minutes. I am used to games where you have constant action, but I liked having to use strategy and looking ahead to plan my attacks.
Improvements One of my main complaints is that the app crashed both times I played it. Not your normal, I can pick back up where I left off crash, but I lost the game. That is very frustrating when you play a game for 20 minutes and lose your place. It would make me stop playing the game for fear that I was just wasting my time.
General review I really enjoyed the app and would play it a lot more if the crashing issues got fixed. I thought that the graphics were simple, but it reminded me of Legend of Zelda and gave it an old school charm. I thought the audio was enjoyable, but it is nice to have the option to turn it off. Overall I think it is a fun app.

"Mulberry FingerPlays" v1.7 [video]

Link to the App Store

Rating  
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 Very simple, easy to use app. You could get right down to business and start Christmas Karaoke instantly. I liked the fact that the songs weren't the entire song, but just the opening verse and the chorus. I think that makes for better karaoke. The history of the song printed below the video, I also thought was a nice touch.
Improvements There were some classic Christmas songs that could be added, Frosty The Snowman and The 12 Days of Christmas come to mind. I would also like to see an element to record your singing, or video taping element would really make the app stand out. A voice recording with the ability to email or send as a greeting card would be an incredible feature.
General review I think that Christmas Karaoke delivers exactly what it should as an app. It is easy to use, and you can start your karaoke session right after downloading. The only things that could be improved would be a larger song selection, and the ability to record your singing session. I thought the app delivered as promised, and it would be great to add on some other holiday sequels.

Wild City 1.0.1 [text]

Link to the App Store

Rating  
What I liked I liked that you had to create a log in so I could play the game on my iPhone, and continue where I left off on my iPad. That was a great feature. There were many elements to the game that were entertaining. You could sell your stuff at the market, go to the casino, fight, exercise, and rob people. A lot of different elements that Mafia Wars does not have.
Improvements I would like to see more free choice in the first few levels. When starting the game, the choices on what to do were all made for me by the arrows. It took some of the fun out of the game following the arrows and just doing what the game told me to do. I would have liked more explanation on what to do with money or weapons and how they would help me out.
General review I enjoyed this gaming app. I thought there was a good mix of game elements to keep you entertained. I like that you have a log in so you can play on multiple devices, and not lose where you left off. I also thought the chat feature was a good element to help connect with people and get some game tips. I will continue to play this game on my phone and iPad.

The Meeting App 1.1.2 [text]

Link to the App Store

Rating  
What I liked There are many successful features in this app. I like how it streamlines decision making and puts action items right next to it. This keeps the meeting streamlined and on task. The notes section has every feature you would want in an app. You can record voice, import pictures, create flow charts. Very useful features.
Improvements I think the share options need to have more than just Dropbox and email. I tried to Dropbox the notes to myself, and the app showed up, but the PDF didn't. The email worked great, but for the price of the app, I think it needs more. The price of the app is another thing that would deter me from purchasing. A ten dollar app is a pretty large price tag.
General review I am going to use this app when I run my technology meetings, to keep everything simple. I think this app takes meetings and makes them into actionable plans that can stay on task. I think there need to be more options for exporting the plans, as well as a drop in the price. Importing attendees from your address book is a nice option too.

Hamster Chase [text] [video]

Link to the App Store

Rating  
What I liked The app was a fun spin on a puzzle game that my eight year old really enjoyed. The graphics and the appeal of the cute hamsters made her more willing to play the app, because she normally does not like puzzle games. I liked the tilt control and ability to be able to control features in the settings.
Improvements I did not like how the app had settings that went to Facebook and Twitter. If I connect an app to one of those accounts and give that much control, I need to know why I am connecting the accounts. That was never made clear anywhere in the app. The extra features part was entertaining, but it was only one feature. I would have liked more extras, maybe a video or something where you could interact with the hamsters more.
General review The app was a very entertaining gaming app. My child enjoyed it, and the appeal of the hamsters enticed her to play the game. The game made her think logically to solve the mazes, and the tilt control of the app was fun to use. I believe that an extra feature and explanation of how connecting your Facebook and Twitter accounts would enhance the game would have been helpful.
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 really liked the detailed definitions on how to do correct photo composition. There were so many lessons, and detailed explanations on rules of how improve your photography skills. You could then position the lines in such a way to try and use that rule in your camera shot. I also liked the timer feature, you don't find that on too many photography apps.
Improvements The control panel of the app is not very intuitive for person using the app. I had explored the app for at least fifteen minutes before I realized that you could change the app grid lines, to the composition rule you were reading about. The controls are one of the main features of the app. If a user cannot figure out how to use an app in the first few minutes, chances are they will not use it.
General review This app shows you the rules of how to take a great photo in detail. It then lets you take the rules of proper photo composition and gives you the grid lines to match up with the specific rule. There are eleven rules of good photography that you can try in the app. I wish that the control panel was better labeled, it took me a while to figure out where all the controls were within the app.
First 5 minutes video review
Video review once the app was mastered

5 Dice: Order of Operations Game v1 [text]

Link to the App Store

Rating  
What I liked I LOVE this app! It is a dream for a teacher with a campus of iPads. The game can be played by a large range of ages. Being able to use exponents and parenthesis gives this game a big edge over other math apps. Many games don't have those advanced functions that kids need to practice. I also enjoy the negative target numbers which adds an extra layer. Adding the bluetooth two player mode is a great feature that will challenge students to keep playing the app.
Improvements I will have to nit pick to find something I would like to improve. The graphics for rolling the dice could be improved to make it look and feel more realistic. I would also like the ability to control what the target number is. The choice to make it negative or positive, two digit or three digit would be a nice feature.
General review I think this is a terrific app. It is a classic math game that people ages 6-66 can play for fun. The addition of pairing your app in bluetooth mode to play against an opponent in the room is a great new update. The app lets you use functions such as parenthesis and exponents which many math apps don't have. I would love to see more from this developer in the future. Teachers that I know, love this game!

Weather and Clock for Kids [text]

Link to the App Store

Rating  
What I liked I thought the best feature for the app was being able to see the different time and temperature in countries around the globe. That can be a powerful tool when trying to connect a young child to the global community. I liked how it had a digital and analog clock for kids to be able to tell time in both formats.
Improvements The app should have more choice for countries to travel to for the weather and time. I liked the variety, but why just stop with 10 choices for countries? I also was a little let down with the features which seemed like just kind of items to play with. If you have a radio, why not have it do something educational? If the moon is out, why not have it show the actual phase of the moon that is in the sky? I would have liked the ability to create a weather graph or an interactive clock game. More learning opportunities would have been appreciated.
General review The learning opportunities for this app are very good for young kids. The ability to toggle to different countries and see the differences between where you are located is powerful. I would have liked more country choices, and more chances for interactive learning in the app. The chances were there, but seemed to be traded in for cartoon like features that can be found in a lot of apps. The novelty tends to fade on those interactions.

Scholar or Scumbag v1.0 [text]

Link to the App Store

Rating  
What I liked I think this is a very fun game to play and a great conversation starter. I like the interface and how there is a bio of each person so you can use it as a learning game too, not just you are wrong...next question. The interface is very simple to use and it is addictive to play. If I didn't finish a level, I tried again to see if I could beat it.
Improvements One of the things that was difficult to navigate was the landing page. There was the Twitter and Facebook button, which I clicked on both because I thought that was the log in for the game. When it just took me to the developer pages, I had to look around to find out how to start the game. I don't mind the promo buttons, but it should be easier to get the game started.
General review The game is a hilarious concept, and fun to try with friends. I liked how it was very random and you could have a level with all scholars, so you couldn't just guess based on the previous answer. I also loved that whether you got an answer right or wrong, you got a small bio to read on what the person was famous for. I thought it was very entertaining.