Monday, November 21, 2011

Apps to Use for Descriptives

When I write about apps, I often have a debate with myself about whether or not to blog about apps that are not worth downloading, even for free. Inevitably, I mention them and then delete them from my iPad. For now, I'll continue with that policy thinking that maybe someone may find the app useful.

I have 7 apps I placed in the Descriptives category.  I've stretched the use of some of the apps a bit so that they fit into this category.

Four of the apps focus on emotions. They are Feel Electric, Touch and Learn Emotions, ABA Flash Cards and Games-Emotions and Emoticons.

The Electric Company has produced an excellent app for emotions and is by far the best of the bunch.  Feel Electric is animated, interactive and offers a variety of options to learn a range of 50 emotions. The child starts with What's the Word to see faces of real people expressing each emotion. From there, the child can select her emotions at the moment, create a diary of emotions, manipulate the facial features of creature to show specific emotions and play a Mad Libs type game that, when completed, will create a zany story based on the words selected. There are three fun interactive games where the child needs to pair the facial expression with the written word. Each of these 3 games is scored. The app also allows one to add ones own pictures, music and videos. I also recommend this app for parents, therapists and psychologists who wish to gain insight into a child's emotions when talking about them is hard.

Ages: 5+
Rating: +++++
Developer: The Electric Company by Sesame Street

Cost: Free

The Touch and Learn Emotions app is interactive in that a narrator names an emotion and the user points to the appropriate picture. The pictures are photographs of children and adults; there are four photographs per screen. One does not simply find the individual showing the named emotion. Rather, one needs to distinguish between a toddler, child, adult, girl, boy, kid and teenager based on the instruction. Also, one may need to identify more than one picture depicting that emotion. For instance, the narrator may direct the user to point to the girls who are sad. Besides adjectives, some targeted words are nouns or verbs. In Settings, one has the option to present nouns only, adjectives and nouns only, verbs and nouns only or progressive difficulty. This is a great free app.

Ages: 4-7
Rating: ++++
Developer: Alligator Apps
Cost: Free

ABA Flash Cards and Games can be used as a precursor to Touch and Learn Emotions. The pictures are the same, but presented one at a time. The photos are clear and the corresponding word is written below it. Each emotion is clearly narrated. The Settings screen allows one to customize the pictures and words.

Ages: 3-5
Rating: +++
Developer: Alligator Apps
Cost: Free

Abby Emoticons Maker is a frenzied app. The constant sounds emanate from the annoying round ball. The facial expressions on the "emoticon" are in constant facial contortion mode and have nothing to do with the facial expressions on the ball. Turning of the sound helps reduce the frenzied level a bit. I would think twice about using this app with children who are excitable, which eliminates all but the calmest. Emotions are presented by a round yellow ball with eyes and a mouth. One selects the eyes and mouth out of a choice of 6 each. The eyes and mouth one selects do not necessarily offer a clear emotional picture. For instance, one can select crying eyes with a smiling mouth.  Also, the free version of this app has a large strip of advertising at the bottom of the screen. This app is in the to be deleted (tbd) category.

Ages: 3-5
Rating: +
Developer: Arch Square
Cost: $1.99 for the full version

If one's goal is to teach big and small, Big and Small is an app that focuses on those adjectives using letters of the alphabet. Two letters, one big and one small appear on the screen. The narrator says, "Take a big/small _________." The user has to tap on the either the large or small version of the letter. Some letters appear as upper case and others as lower case. The narrator sounds like she is sitting in an echo chamber, making the quality of sound mediocre. The app does provide scoring. The lite version of this app has constantly changing advertising at the bottom of the app. Another app tbd.

Ages: 3-5
Rating: +
Developer: Sanghoon Lee
Cost: $4.99 for the full version

I put Build It Up in the descriptives category because one can easily use this simple app to teach large/big, small/little and their appropriate superlatives. The child needs to stack blocks or rings in the correct order from large to small. Colors are also easy to teach with this app.

Ages: 2-3
Rating: ++
Developer: MyFirstApp
Cost: Free for the stacking blocks and rings.

Kids Juke Box Animals is an animated story app that can be used to teach the concepts long and big.  The story is presented as a song. It is a cute app that is appropriate for children 1-2 years old.

Ages: 1-2
Rating: ++
Developer: WagleBagle
Cost: free

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