With the upcoming school year approaching, one leans toward applications that would be helpful with their darling little one’s education and learning. And the mobile market is full of different applications that can help students learn and expand in a way that’s both useful, and entertaining. Today this will apply more toward the younger ages, items that you’d expect in preschool through third grade (or so), and one that although geared toward high school and college can be easily adapted for all school age children. Below are a couple different apps that have been tried and tested. And I highly recommend.
iWriteWords ( http://itunes.apple.com/us/app/iwritewords-handwriting-game/id307025309?mt=8 )
$2.99 – By gdiplus – Universal
iWrite words is a nice little app to help and encourage kids into learning their letters and numbers. You start off with using a crab along a path to spell out each item. Afterwards you can move onto short words to show how letters are put together to form new words. The primary focus here is the ability to identify and draw each letter and shape. You can even play back the child’s last letter or number sets to get a feel of how they’re doing without having to hover over them each time their on it. Items are reinforced via sound effects and spoken letters/numbers/words. Pictures of the words are shown after it has been spelled out. You can also control the size of what is being drawn, so as the child increases in their ability, you can make it smaller to get them better at writing in a normal fashion.
Alphabet Fun ( http://itunes.apple.com/us/app/alphabet-fun/id364729939?mt=8 )
$2.99 – By Tapfuze – Universal
This is a bit more advanced than the last one. It still is primarily a writing app, but concentrates more on a more traditional paper experience. You choose from either letters, numbers, or shapes and are presented with a selection of those items. You then have a couple of words, shapes, drawings, etc to help you figure out how to write it.
My First Words ( http://itunes.apple.com/us/app/my-first-words-flashcards/id443902005?mt=8 )
Free – By Alligator Apps – Universal
An app that is part learning and part game.
On the first part you have virtual flashcards in numerous categories, first words, animals, fruit, etc. Within those “Sets” you have additional groups so you can concentrate on a certain type of that set. For instance the “Animal” set has a “farm animals” group, and the “first words” set has a “Mommy’s purse” group. There are a few ways to show the cards, mixing up the elements of the picture, printed and spoken words. You can choose what best works for your child. Once the child grasps those cards you can move onto the next phase.
Testing, err… “play mode” allows the child to test what they’ve learned. You can organize it primarily 2 ways – listening and reading. Listen has the app say a word and choose from among a selection of words on-screen. The reading option shows a word, and they need to associate the image with what is written on the screen. Simple mode has 4 options, and advanced has 6 selections.
In addition to the built-in items, you can upload and create your own sets with pictures and voice overs. Primarily geared toward the younger crowd, it handles learning to read and associate words with pictures quite well.
Sight Words ( http://itunes.apple.com/us/app/sight-words-list-learn-to/id445708245?mt=8 )
Free – By Alligator Apps – Universal
Very similar in features to the above app (since it’s made by the same company). This version however, is more geared toward the entire elementary school experience. Words are grouped by reading level, and are spoken with the word being shown on the screen. Play mode is assigned with the word being spoken and having to choose it from between 2 and 6 other words depending of difficulty you’ve chosen.
A very complete app that will last your child well though out elementary school. With the ability to add your own set of words you can enter in any words the teachers have assigned on the fly and use the app to practice learning them.
inClass ( http://itunes.apple.com/us/app/inclass/id374986430?mt=8 )
Free ($.99 in-app purchase to remove ads) – By OneZeroWare – Universal
This is an app that will most likely last your child from pre-school through college (assuming we’re not using chips in our heads by then). The inClass app is this generations version of the old class organizers that some remember from the 80s & 90s. You first set up a “term” to keep track of all your events (so old classes don’t get mixed up with new ones). Then you enter in your professors, & classes. Classes get color coded, and professors get info such as email, phone, office hours, and courses linked to their name. That’s when this really starts to shine. You can enter in homework assignments, finals, tests, projects, all into the calendar, assign them a class and of you go. You can enter notes and tasks that need to be done, and sort them by Course, Date, or Priority. The app can display badges for events happening today, within a day, days, or even weeks.
If your child is too young to use this themselves you can use it to keep track of all those important items for them for your own sanity. Best of all it has an output function so you can keep multiple iOS devices stay in sync. The app is universal and has different display modes depending on if you are on a smaller iphone or ipod, and large layouts for iPads. Hopefully in the future it will allow for on the fly syncing as well as ability to add non-direct events (such as holidays and no school days) into the system, or ability to add/change the “type” that can be categorized. This is primarily designed for high school and college students, but can be easily altered for younger grades as well.