Monday, July 20, 2015

Children’s iPad Story App, I learn

Children’s iPad Story App, I learn
by Susan Stephenson,

I learn is an interactive story app from developer, Bizzibrains, and was produced in conjunction with Screen Australia. Bizzibrains also make I imagine, a free story app.

From the developers:

√ 11 interactive story pages, hand drawn illustrations, music, sounds and narration.
√ Use of device camera; microphone.
√ An intuitive, fun 3 character creation stage including:
* Enter and record your character names;
* Enter your age and where you go to learn (school, kinder, preschool, care or enter your own place);
* Add a photo face or use our illustration;
* Choose hairstyle, clothing, shoes and colours.

√ Educational features and interactions:
* Text highlight as narrated;
* Learn to write your name;
* Get dressed, brush your hair, make your bed and pack your bag ready to go;
* Roll the dice and play a fun take on the classic board game: can you get to school, kinder or preschool on time?;
* Numerical problems tailored to child's age;
* Play I spy, learn letter sounds and identify those letters in words;
* Talk about how you might feel about going to kinder, preschool or school;
* Identify the emotions felt by other children in the classroom;
* Play in the playground.

A child (we can give him/her a name) needs to get ready for school. So kids must help her dress, tidy and gather her things. The next screen shows a dice game where children can roll the electronic dice to advance their characters around a game board to the goal, school. Like all game boards, there are spaces that advance you, and others that set you back. The child proceeds through different activities, ones that practice sounds, others that involve making decisions about play and tidying up.

What I liked:

I really like the way the app lets kids take control of how the story can be. They can use the microphone and camera to choose elements of the story. You can see in my lower image above that I put a gorilla as one of my characters and older kids will have fun with this! On a more sensible note, I thought it was great reinforcement for reading to have text highlighted and read aloud as the story progressed. The developers let me know that you can restart the app with all fresh characters too, and they are working on an update “which will allow people to save a number of versions, each with certain characters/personalised details.”

I learn doesn’t have a lot of bells and whistles. The focus is squarely on education and what you can do WITH the app. I can see parents using it with their children to discuss concepts like getting ready for school or what school will be like. It's a boon for anyone with anxious little ones. Therapists could use it with youngsters to concentrate on vocabulary, emotions or life concepts. Children will enjoy interacting with the story, reading along, and making decisions about the story. Parents will like the emphasis on little ones sharing with their parents at the end of the day - could the app possibly bring an end to “Nothing” being the answer for “What did you do today?” The links to extra resources for Parents are a really nice touch too.

iTunes Australia $2.49 (at time of review)
iTunes USA $1.99

I’ll be adding this post to my List of Charming Children’s Story Apps.

Check out my other iPad App Reviews on Pinterest.

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