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SUMMER ENGAGEMENT - REVIEW OF FREE APPS by RON MILLER





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SUMMER ENGAGEMENT - REVIEW OF FREE APPS by
Article Posted: 03/06/2016
Article Views: 142
Articles Written: 139
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SUMMER ENGAGEMENT - REVIEW OF FREE APPS


 
Parents, I’m sure you’ve heard all about how the summer months are crucial to learning retention. It’s estimated that two months worth of learning is lost when students don’t review their newly learned skills over the summer break. (Cooper, 1996) But how do you promote engagement in learning when all your child wants to do is hang out at the pool? Summer travel and parent workload can cut into the time you would be able to spend tutoring your child. And can you imagine announcing to your kids: “Hey! Turn off the television. We’re going to do some math worksheets!” That wouldn’t be much fun for parents or kids! Without grades and homework to motivate students, engaging your little learner could be like tricky.

Luckily, we live in a beautiful period in history in that most Americans have access to the interactive capabilities of smartphones and tablets. And let’s face it: Your child is probably itching to use smart devices anyway. Why not channel your child’s love affair with electronics into something useful? In your quest to provide learning opportunities for your child, you could spend a lot of money on Common Core apps for your electronic device, but what if you buy an app and then your child doesn’t use it? What if the app is too easy, too challenging, or just plain boring? The best way to test the waters is to start with free learning apps. But before you log onto your device’s app store and search “reading games” (And then panic because there are 400 results), read on. We did some of the homework for you and found five stellar apps for successful summer learning.

  • 1. Summer Bridge Activities: Rally Race, Fun Run, and Cosmic Quest (Carson-Dellosa Publishing) Devices: iPhone, iPad, iPod Touch Subjects/Grade Level: Math & reading, K- 3rd grade

    Carson-Dellosa publishing is already a frontrunner in summer learning retention with their Summer Bridge Activities series. Three of their apps, Rally Race, Fun Run and Cosmic Quest use racing games to reinforce math and sight word recognition along with fine motor skills.

    Customer Ratings: 4.5 out of 5 stars

    Hidden Costs: None

    Drawbacks: These apps are so new; there aren’t many customer reviews available. Also, all three apps test the same skills. The difference is, each game has a different format.

  • 2. Itooch elementary school and Itooch middle school (EduPad)

    Devices: iPhone, iPad, iPod Touch

    Subjects/Grade Level: All core subjects; Grades 1-5 (On the elementary app), 6-8 (middle school app)

    Itooch boasts the largest collection of Common Core based activities of any app available. (It has 25,000 for elementary school students and 10,000 in their app for middle school learners.) The game uses quizzes to test the knowledge of your child and unveils a new chapter as each level is completed. All questions are aligned with Common Core standards. If your child were easily bored with a game or activity, the variety of activities in the Itooch app would be a good choice.

    Customer Ratings: 4.5 out of 5 stars.

    Hidden Costs: None, although in-app purchases are available.

    Drawbacks: Some customers felt overwhelmed by the gigantic number of activities on the app. However, most were impressed that a tutoring game of this caliber was available free of charge.

  • 3. Sushi Monster (Scholastic)

    Devices: iPhone, iPad, iPod Touch

    Subjects/Grade Level: Math, upper elementary grades

    Scholastic’s Math fluency app allows students to get swept up in an appealing game instead of the traditional flash card or quiz app. Addition and multiplication skills are tested. This app does not use any personal information, which is a plus. Most parents praised the kid-friendly graphics and sound effects for keeping their children entertained while learning.

    Customer Ratings: 4 out of 5 stars

    Hidden Costs: None

    Drawbacks: A few customers gave it a lower rating because of how challenging it was. If your child hasn’t mastered addition or doesn’t have a basic understanding of multiplication, you may want to save this app for later. Also, at the time of this publication, some users reported glitches.

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