Tuesday, September 3

25 iPad apps (set #2) for children with special needs: developmental level K-1

SET #2, apps 6-12

Here are 25 teaching apps and 19 story book apps that I've installed for my 7 yr old daughter with Down syndrome and my 4 yr old typically developing daughter.

View Set #1 (and my criteria for "keeping" an app for my kids!) HERE:
http://cornishadoptionjourney.blogspot.com/2013/09/25-ipad-apps-set-1-for-children-with.html


6-8.  ZOO Set One, Two, and Three
(ZOO set one, ZOO set two, ZOO set three)
by ABCMouse.com

(iPhone and iPad)  look for other apps by searching "ABCmouse.com"
FREE
https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/abcmouse.com-zoo-set-1/id376049077?mt=8
https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/abcmouse.com-zoo-set-2/id536786118?mt=8
https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/abcmouse.com-zoo-set-3/id536787780?mt=8

This set of three FREE apps are identical in their play, focusing on different animals.  These apps introduce general map awareness from their basic layout, but that's as far as the developer goes with map-skills.  Funny sounds are played when you click on a food or restroom image too.  When you touch each animal, it brings you to their habitat and the animals are animated and moving around on the screen.  There are multiple facts that the zookeeper will tell you when you click on her or on the animal.  There are short quizzes on each animal based on the animal facts given.  Most (all?) have baby animals that come on and off of the screen as well.  

We are pretty new to the ABCMouse.com family of programs, but the more I see, the more I'm enjoying for our children!  The website is a subscription-based play, however it is free to private and public school students if your school registers (doesn't hurt to ask...!). These free apps are easy to navigate 

These apps do not retain your 'place' when the home button is pressed, but since there isn't a whole lot of sequential movement through the apps, it's not too hard to make it back to the place you were before exiting the app.

Aside from each app showing 5 different animals (a total of 15), these three app's are otherwise identical in their play and structure.  It's a good set-up, however, so they kept going with something that works, and inevitably get more 'downloads' on more apps because they spread it out a bit.  Can't blame them for good marketing strategies :).



9.  All About Letters Interactive Activities (ABC's) by Lakeshore 
(iPhone and iPad)  look for other apps by searching "Lakeshore"
$1.99
This app is engaging with multiple ways of teaching the letters.  It's not just your basic introduction to letters, but it could easily be used as that as well.  With 5 activities on each letter then a tracing and writing page, there is more to this app than just the basic alphabet.  This app features a 'chant' teaching the letter sound (and showing it phonetically written), then 4 "starts with" activities (using the sound, not the letter name)  The "starts with" activities shows three images with their corresponding word written on each picture.  Click the "more" button on the bottom of the page and you're introduced to writing, with a video tracing demonstration then an area to write on the bottom.

This app opens with an 'intro' screen saying "All About Letters Interactive Activities", then pauses briefly before going right in to the game.  On the top right is the "More Lakeshore Apps" button that I always dread seeing because I know little exploring fingers will click there, get off the game, never finding their way back (unless guided access is enabled... in which case the button does nothing but make a light sound).  The top says "All About" and has a flashing "TAP HERE", but no oral directions.  Thankfully the flashing is pretty telling.  The tap brings up a scrolling alphabet where the child chooses a letter.  

There are several areas that I think Lakeshore dropped the ball on this app, starting with the very first need to select a letter from a scrolling list rather than a full screen, meaning it's more difficult to get a child to find a specific letter if they don't know alphabetizing yet, and it only shows 4-5 letters at a time.  Also, The main center screen with the chant written is not 'clickable'.  Only the "play chant" on the top corner of that box plays the chant.  When you select one of the four boxes (which initially show up as white boxes with a large "?" in them) it reads the directions audibly once, and has written directions, however there's no option that repeats the sound.  Also, when you select an image, it speaks the name, however you have to click a small 'enter' button (similar idea to the 'play chant' above) to select that picture.  I understand that this is so you can hear each image name, but a drag and drop or something similar would be easier for a child to figure out on their own.  Last, in the "more" area with writing there are a few areas that could use improvement.  The "play trace" is again hard to initially know to touch since it's a small button on the top corner, and there is no 'right or wrong' in the "writing" below.  In fact, it's just a 3-lined blank area with a pencil, eraser, and a button that says "clear all".  Below are the words "help" (which goes to a screen with an "all about letters" very wordy set of directions that only an adult would make sense of) and "reset" (which to my understanding really only "resets" anything if you paused the trace part way through and want it to restart without finishing... but it's only a few seconds long to 'finish' anyway... and it clears the writing area, which could be done with the 'clear all' button).  

Ok, so it looks like a lot of negatives, however... once you sit down with your child and show them how to choose a letter, and show them where the buttons are throughout the screens to progress, it really is a FUN app and one with a lot of good imaging and learning value for a child.  I think the tracing and writing area could have been left off entirely, and I encourage my kids to stick to the original screen and just play with the different letters there, but with a stylus and some 1:1 time to sit and work on it together, maybe I'd like the writing section too.  Or, maybe I'd still prefer paper and a pencil for that :).

One last positive, if you exit the game then reenter, it 'saves your place' during the duration of that 'open' period (to close a game, double click the 'home' button when you're not in that game, and hit the 'minus' button on the game.  This doesn't delete the game like the "x" button does on the home screen, but rather it closes that session).  This is great if someone else presses the button and exits the game, or mom needs to borrow the iPad.

For me, it was worth the $1.99, however for being from such a "big name" I was still disappointed.


10. Beginning Sounds Interactive Game
(Sound Sorting Beginning Sounds) by Lakeshore 
(iPhone and iPad)  look for other apps by searching "Lakeshore"
$0.99

This app introduces a child to beginning sounds by using common pictures to place in the 9-grid sliding game board.  The initial pictures can be chosen by the user or you can select 'random', and the corresponding tokens are used on the side.  Tapping any image will give a verbal of the item name, as well as the three main pictures at the top.  A correctly placed token 'clicks' in to place and the other tokens roll down on the side.  An incorrectly placed token makes a "sucking in" sound and disappears in to the game, then reappears coming out of the 'tube' at the top of the game.  This is a good reinforcement game for continued learning of beginning sounds.

This app opens with an 'intro' screen saying "Interactive Sound Sorting Game", then pauses briefly before going right in to the game.  There are NO AD LINKS on the main page! **BONUS**  The top says "Choose 3 beginning sounds", but no oral directions.  Then there are two buttons on the bottom "Randomize selections" and "Enter".  There are 18 pictures in the center, and a child is supposed to know to click three then hit "enter", OR click just the "randomize selections" button.  Eventually, most kids will make it in to the game, though maybe with some trial and error if they haven't been shown previously what to do.  Each picture is named when you tap it and it is automatically selected by doing this.  A second tap 'unselects' the item.  

Lakeshore made a fun app that helps with beginning sounds, however on the second screen it says "match the beginning sounds" at the top, but again, no verbal directions.  After being shown how to play, most children would remember from the layout how the game works.  Unfortunately, this could easily turn in to a "pointless pick and choose" game if the child doesn't understand the point and it isn't explained that they need to match the beginning sounds.  It would be a lot of fun to just click around, hear the tokens continuously fall with their great sound effects, have the vacuum suck the tokens in, and eventually, maybe even win.

One last positive, if you exit the game then reenter, it 'saves your place' during the duration of that 'open' period (to close a game, double click the 'home' button when you're not in that game, and hit the 'minus' button on the game.  This doesn't delete the game like the "x" button does on the home screen, but rather it closes that session).  This is great if someone else presses the button and exits the game, or mom needs to borrow the iPad.

11-12.  Bob Books Magic #1(BB Magic #1)
and Bob Books Lite

by Scholastic
(iPhone and iPad)  look for other apps by searching "Bob Books"
$1.99
https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/bob-books-1-reading-magic/id403753501?mt=8
(*FREE Lite version: https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/bob-books-reading-magic-lite/id408873050?mt=8)
Bob Books is a well known series of word family books.  This app goes through 4 levels of learning, drag and drop, learn left-to-right order, spell without visual hints, and pick letters to spell words.   There are small hints along the way (shaking characters/letters to show what to touch,which can be turned off in options) when needed.  This is a great introduction series of leveled interactive books with the traditional "Bob Books" characters.  You can always start with the Lite (FREE) version to decide if you really like the play of it as well!

This is another app with some good R&D, so if you exit the game then reenter, it 'saves your place' during the duration of that 'open' period (to close a game, double click the 'home' button when you're not in that game, and hit the 'minus' button on the game.  This doesn't delete the game like the "x" button does on the home screen, but rather it closes that session).  This is great if someone else presses the button and exits the game, or mom needs to borrow the iPad.





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