Articles Posted in Educational iPad Apps

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underseamath
Undersea Math

Undersea Math is another math low budget, under the radar educational iPad math app that my kids – particularly my daughter – consistently use.

The premise is very simple. You fill in the answer to the math problem on a little pretend wood puzzle and continue to solve math problems until the whole puzzle is revealed. It is hard to describe but you can look at the picture and get a feel for it. In this image, the last puzzle piece is being selected.

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unitedstatespuzzle
United States Map Puzzle

One of the great, great uses of the iPad is teaching geography. My kids know more about geography than you do. Yes you. And the iPad is the reason. I’m going to write about a lot of high tech geography games.

But let’s start with United States Puzzle Map, a decidedly low tech game. It has annoying music (after five minutes) and very basic graphics. The designer, Jenny Sun, does not seem to believe that the second name in a state should be capitalized. These are not good things.

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I have three kids in Pre-K. It is an article of faith to me that it is a good idea – at least for our kids – and I barely remember my wife and I spending a lot of time debating whether to send our kids to Pre-K. Like most of us, I’m always merrily looking for articles and data that support the wisdom of my thinking.

Today I have New Jersey to thank. New Jersey says it is forking out more than $11,000 a year per child in Pre-K and they are glad they are: the number of kids who repeat first grade has been cut in half in poor districts that offer two years of Pre-K.

Would you get the same data in suburbia? I don’t know but I suspect so. What kids really learn is who they are, how they fit in and how they are going to deal with different people and places. We can’t teach that to our kids at home.

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bookworm
We stumbled onto Bookworm on the iPad and did not realize until much later it is a game that was played long before the iPad came out. I think it is a very productive game for children to play. If it is not, I have wasted at least 30 hours of my life. Even if it was not a good, education iPad app, we still would play it, just not as much. It is a deceptively addictive game.

Here’s the deal: The letter tiles on Bookworm, I finally figured out, are random. You take on adjacent tiles to make words. The letters to the word you made disappear and new ones arrive at the top to take their place on the grid. The Scrabble paradigm applies: the bigger the word and the more unusual the letters, the more the points for the word.

After a while, you start getting red tiles. If a red tile falls to the bottom, you lose. Making bigger words in Bookworm helps keep the red tiles off your back. If you don’t like your tile configuration, you can shake up the tiles and rescramble the words. But there is a cost: more red tiles to fight.

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triangleMy son and I are working on Third Grade Math, an iPad math app by 965 Studios.

I have a lot of 965 Studios educational iPad apps, three vocabulary word apps that we use all of the time that have a similar look and layout as the Third Grade Math app. It also has more apps for each grade up to 7th.

I have played Third Grade Math about three times now. We have had it three days. So, obviously, I like it. They have a really good variety of math problems and they have a lot of mathematical thinking problems I did not conjure up on my own.

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ClassicalMusicAppI really wish I had a better classical education. I wish I knew the top 1000 or so classical music pieces and I wish I knew the great works of art. I will probably never make it but I’ll keep on trying. The news for my kids is better. They have more than a shot. It is almost a guarantee. The primary reason for that – and I know it sounds crazy – is the iPad.

I talked last week about the classical art puzzle app that we love. This classical music app is not as good but it is still an incredible buy for $1. It has 50 classical songs, not in their entirety but the first minute or so. After you play around with this for a bit, you can move on to a 50 question classical music quiz. My 5 year-old can get all 50 correct with ease and I just started with my younger son, who is 4, last night.

Like many of the best iPad educational apps, this AdsSoftware app is not visually impressive. It is downright unattractive actually. But, ultimately, the question is does your child learn. The answer here is absolutely yes.

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eyeMatheyeMath is another educational math iPad application that I really like a lot. Unlike many of the other math iPad apps I have reviewed, eyeMath has a high tech feel to it – great resolution, strong music… just good eye candy for kids.

The idea is simple as the image here suggests. It is multiple choice and players have three minutes to solve the problems. eyeMath gets progressively harder as you move through the game.

eyeMath also has a feature that I absolutely love, a simple thing yet few other math games have it: problems answered incorrectly reappear later until the student gets the answer correct. It is a little thing but if your child has a nagging equation they just can’t get, it might be a while before they see it again in most games. eyeMath allows you to attack this weakness head on.

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pop-math-litePop Math is another low tech math iPad application. It will not be the brightest star in your iPad math firmament but it is a bright and cheap star. Pop Math is 99 cents. And that probably overstates the case. You can get much of the app for free.

This is one of those iPad apps where you “buy” the free version and then buy the full version out of guilt because you got so much use out of the free game and… it is only a dollar. I could explain the game but really all you need to do is look at the image and you already know how to play. You just match up the bubbles and pop them. I stole this image from LunchBoxReviews.com which provides reviews of a lot of iPad education apps.

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First Grade Skills and Second Grade Skills are two iPad apps put out by Visual Learning Aids. I love the idea of this app. But these are not a good apps. The premise is fantastic. Reading comprehension, vocabulary, science question, all in multiple choice format that is very “standardized testish”. But that application is terrible. First, there are spelling errors everywhere. Really? It is a $3 app, get the spelling correct. Moreover, it has a very limited number of questions so, after a week, you can only pull it out every few months. Moreover, the layout is sophomoric, it looks like something we could do if we had only the most basic skills in putting together an app. Attention app developers: someone build on this great premise and make an app just like this one… only good.

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Let me first establish my bona fides to give this MathBoard/Math Board iPad app review: I’ve played this with my kids for at least 50 hours. I know this app!

MathBoard is exactly why the Apple iPad is so revolutionary. It is a chalkboard that you can also use a thousand other different ways. It is just better than a chalkboard because it gives the problems to you – lets you modulate difficulty – and allows you to save the results and chart how well you are doing.

The only downside of the MathBoard app is that it is a little more difficult to use than pencil and paper. Your iPad handwriting is just not quite as good and, when it comes to carrying numbers and such, it can be a problem. But I think these difficulties require young learners to be more disciplined about their handwriting and this is probably a good thing.