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Erin K.

Status: Beta reviewer

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

iDevices she/he owns: iPad1

Description: I am a mom of two boys, ages 5 and 18 months. My husband is a high school teacher. I am currently in grad school focusing on technology in education. I enjoy trying out new technology and sharing my honest opinions.

Profile categories: Can test apps with kids ages 0-2 - Can test apps with kids ages 3-5 - 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: + 5     ?

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

Little House Decorator v1.0 [text]

Link to the App Store

What I liked This app was used by a five year old. He loves trying out different apps and enjoyed creating different houses with this program. This app allows the user to create multiple houses (you don't have to scrap the first one) and then print your designs or share them with others. My child was really engaged while he was using the app and enjoyed being creative.
Improvements The basic idea of the app was good, but it needs more staying power. My child really enjoyed playing with it, but it does not have enough content to make him return over and over. I would like to see users be able to completely design their own house (add rooms and create their own). Also, it would be nice if there were more options for items to put in the house.
General review My child really enjoyed using this app initially, and it is nice that the user can create many houses at once. However, we would like to see more options for items to put in the house as well as an option to design your own house. In order for this app to be truly successful, it needs to include more in-depth projects so the app is engaging for more than a couple uses.

Treasure Kai and the Seven Cities of Gold [text]

Link to the App Store

What I liked The artwork was very interesting and engaging. I really liked the way that the characters were drawn and there were a lot of vibrant and interesting colors that were used throughout the app. I enjoyed how the voice acting was done as well. It seemed well paced and engaging and the use of different voice actors was a nice touch.
Improvements I would really like to see more interactivity with the app. The fact that there were things that you could touch and they moved around was ok, but I was really expecting more from them. My son touched around on the first "page" but after that there was less and less exploration of the pages because it just didn't seem to engage him or spark more interest. Mini-games, beyond just dragging and dropping would be a nice addition and could really enhance a story like this. There was a lot of room for puzzles or simple games to be added and I was disappointed that they weren't there
General review I would say that this as a slightly below average app. While the story was somewhat interesting there was little done to make it more engaging than an audio book. While there are some things done well in the app, I was left with a sense of wanting more. I have a level of expectations for book apps and this didn't really meet those criteria.

The Legend of Momotaro - Version 1.0 [text]

Link to the App Store

What I liked We really liked the kanji drawing exercises and looking around for all the different words. My son really responded to the challenge of finding them all on each page without using the clues and liked being able to sound out the words by parts or as a whole. The checkpoints were a nice motivation for him as well as it allowed him to see his progress through the words on the page. I enjoyed the story as it was not one that we were familiar with but it had a really interesting and engaging story.
Improvements I thought that enhancing the Kanji drawing exercises would be a good addition. Perhaps more precise requirements for drawing them would enforce the idea of how to write them more. By the end of the story my son was excited to find them but he was just scribbling his finger over the words to fill them in quickly. Also, the parts with extra information (like the Koi, could really have used some audio like the rest of the story. That would have helped to engage my son who was excited to learn but could not read the information. I also thought that the pacing of the audio was a little slow.
General review Overall, it was a good experience for my son. It was a story from a culture he was unfamiliar with which was a good chance to expose him to new ideas and thoughts. I enjoyed that the audio represented this as well. The interactive elements were well done overall and encouraged exploration with consistant feedback and monitoring of progress. With a few additions and a little more polish this could be a really fantastic audio book.

Splash Money [text]

Link to the App Store

What I liked I liked how the app used a variety of methods to teach each of the skills. I also like how it wasn't just describing each of the coins by color and size but also talked about all the other properties and markings as well. It was very informative and kept my sone engaged. It was also nice to see the report card feature and the information that it contained. I could really see how a teacher or anyone in education would love to see more apps include these break downs.
Improvements I thought that the voice on the lessons was a little slow in terms of pace. My son often got a little frustrated and thought that something was wrong in some of the delays for what I assumed were think time. We also noticed that the audio would cut out entirely during the Identify Coins lesson. We had to restart it a couple of times before we got through it with all the audio.

The music was a bit much for me also. Perhaps something a little more soothing would have a better effect on the reading. I'm glad there was a way to shut it off because on loop the music, while interesting, got old for me very quickly.

I would also liked to have seen more variety in the prizes that you can earn in the app. Perhaps you could have different avatars and a few more options for accessories. I might even consider a more achievement based system with badges that could be printed or shared online, might hold a little more motivation to keep earning the prizes. Or even a chance to print your monkey or at least save him as an image onto the iPad.

I also thought that the skill ranges for the app were quite spread out. Perhaps separating skills into several different apps and focusing more on teaching and reinforcing the skills that are covered in each, then I believe it could a really good series of apps.
General review This was a solid app that did a really good job of addressing and teaching about money. The lessons were well-rounded, but a little slow at times for my sons skill level. Also while parts of the app were very engaging for my son as they were things that he could get, there was quite a bit of jump between some of the later lessons that frustrated him. While this is true, there are far more benefits, and I would easily recommend this app to others with young children looking to learn about money.

The Whole Truth about Santa Claus [text]

Link to the App Store

What I liked I really liked the story and the illustrations. The story was amusing and well paced and I liked how light-hearted and interesting it was. A very different and far more believable Santa story. The illustrations fit with the tone of the story and I really liked how the animations on each page were subtle but were interesting and really helped tell the story. The audio was also well done.
Improvements My wife found it interesting that the app started up in French and so did I but I really wish that it would default to English if I switch the app to English. I also would like to see the audio turn on and stay on as opposed to having to press it on again after every page. I know the focus is supposed to be on the story but the little interactive points would be nice to see on every page. It might give a reader another incentive to come back to the app some more.
General review Overall this was a very interesting and engaging ebook. My son and I both enjoyed the story and it was executed very well in all the areas that mattered. It had a consistency of style and tone that fit perfectly with the material. The are was engaging and added to the story without being too distracting.

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

Link to the App Store

What I liked The music that was in the app was of good quality and was all pretty traditional in terms arrangements making it easy to follow along with the songs. I thought that the moving color that was used to indicate place in the song was well done and was a good contrast to the words making it easy to follow along.
Improvements I would like to see the music be something that comes along with the app and isn't streamed from the internet. I think that this would be a good app to take along to parties and sometimes internet access isn't always an option. I'd also like to see a larger selection of songs to choose from. It would also be nice to have an option to turn of the audio of the lyrics and just leave the music as well.
General review Overall, it is a nice basic option for some Christmas Karaoke. For the amount it costs it is interesting and delivers a good experience. With a few additions or updates it could be a very good addition to enjoying the holidays. The music is good and works well.

Fuzzy Little Caterpillar [text]

Link to the App Store

What I liked I liked the music lesson that was in the app. The steps were well laid out and allowed me to play around but in a structured way that really led to a deeper understanding of the concepts that were being taught through the lesson. It was well paced and kept my interest throughout.
Improvements I was really hoping that there would be another song that I could see the concepts being used in. I was left wanting more at the end and to see how things would work in other songs so I could get a better understanding. I also thought that the song portion could use a little work to perhaps make it smoother.
General review It was a good app and really picked up with the music lesson. I also thought that the butterfly lesson was a good integration of science. There was some repetition with that section but it was good to see that they covered both butterflies and moths. Well done music lesson and interesting delivery of information.

flippi memo v1.0 [text]

Link to the App Store

What I liked The colors were very bright and the music was nice. The animations were smooth and it worked very well. I also liked that it allowed you to use your own rules and style for playing and it felt like it would be a very good game for teaching a child how to play memory.
Improvements I would like to see the option to choose the size of the matrix. Perhaps 3x3 to 6x6 to allow for a bigger and more challenging game play. That would allow it to mimic box games a little more as those allow for a lot of variety in and larger sized games.
General review For a $1.99 app it seemed very limited. The fact that there were no rules and pressure on making matches seems like it should be an option I can turn off. My son lost interest quickly and noted that it was boring because nothing flipped back over. I also at that price point would have expected other tile sets to help add variety.

Wubbzy and The Princess [text]

Link to the App Store

What I liked I enjoyed the variety of activities that were in the app. The fact that there were so many games and activities was a great assest and I enjoyed that they each seemed to be geared at different levels of readers and skill levels. The voice for the reading was also very energetic and pleasing and the book really kept my sons attention.
Improvements We had several instances when the app crashed and had to be restarted. Once was while listening to the book, on the page where the crown broke. The next was when opening the crown jewels game, and it also crashed several time while we tried to start the painting portion of the app.
There were also almost too many things to click on the book. The interactions with the characters, toys, and things like the calendar and clock worked well, but many of the others just took my son out of the book.
General review Overall, this was a great book app. The way that all the elements went together was fantastic and it seems like a great value at the price that it is listed and what it provides. Definitely an app my son will come back to unlike many of his book apps. The only downside is the crashing problem which really frustrated my son. Without that I would have given it a 5.

Plume's school - Animals [text]

Link to the App Store

What I liked There was a nice variety of games and i think that the levels were nicely varied in level of difficulty and there were things that my son (2 year old) could already do which made it fun while maintaining a nice challenge level for him. The overall levels were a nice development of the skills too.
Improvements The app seems to crash every time we complete a match the picture to the word game. I was also really a little thrown off by the buttons on the bottom of the flashcards. It needs to be clearer what they each do, and I really felt that three of the four were not useful at all for teaching word recognition. Perhaps have the animal sound, and an option to repeat the name. Also I was really surprised by the "ladybird" term. I had never heard that before, and thought it was a typo until I looked it up.
General review This is a very fun and enjoyable app for the toddler and preschool age range. There is a great variety of activities for that are all working on reinforcing the same skills and that really helped to develop the vocabulary. It also has a nice escalation of difficulty for that age ranging. It keeps things fresh without making them so challenging that users are turned off.

Lola's ABC Party 2 [text]

Link to the App Store

What I liked I really liked the ways that it reinforced early reading skills through a variety of reading and spelling activities. The use of phonics was nice to see and there was a nice scaling to the difficulty of tasks that were presented in the app. I also enjoyed the coloring and overall cheerfulness of the app. My son was very engaged by the entire experience that it offered and really enjoyed the reward of making food and kites and treats.
Improvements I was really expecting the ending to be a little more engaging than it was. Even having a mini game where you fly the kite or even an animation where they eat the picnic prepared and fly the kite you made. Touching around was a little underwhelming at that point. I also would have liked to see the difficulty scale a little faster if they were getting the skills and words. Perhaps adapting to their level a little more.
General review This is a very nicely put together app. It kept my sons interest for a long time which was a very big positive. He was laughing and having a good time throughout. The early reading skills are developed well and through a variety of activities and it involves an interactive reward system that is fun as well.

Christmas Karaoke App: 12 Carols [text]

Link to the App Store

What I liked There was a nice selection of songs available in the app and there seemed to be a variety of both traditional religious songs and more "pop" songs. The interface was simple and straight forward and I liked that you could change the color of the background to suit your preferences and for reading ease.
Improvements I thought that the snow falling animation in the background was very distracting and made it hard for me to focus on the lines as I was going through a song. The ability to turn that off or even have it off for some backgrounds would be nice. The graphics also seemed fuzzy and out of focus on my iPad. It was easy to see the pixels and I thought it looked a little unpolished because of that.
General review This is a nice app that provides a good selection of christmas themed karaoke choices. The music is well done and it is simple to use. With some simple fixes this would be a very solid app that would definitely be worth the money for some simple and fun karaoke.