Mobile Apps

Educational:  IXL – Math and English

1) Function:  IXL is an app that covers standards-aligned skills for pre-K through 12th grade math and language arts.  You can search by either subject, Math or English, and by grade level.  Then you can choose different skills from there.

2) Interaction: I enjoy the fact that if you answer incorrectly, it will actually explain how to get the correct answer.  For the younger kids, Pre-K through First Grade, there is a speaker option so it can be read aloud.

3) Potential use of the app:  This app could be used as an intervention or for extra practice.  The teacher could assign specific skills and the students could use the app in the classroom or at home.

4) How to make this app better in terms of 1), 2), and 3) above?  I mentioned above that there was a speaker option for the younger grade levels, but I would add that for every grade level.  This would reach more students who may need help, but don’t have adequate reading skills.  I would also make sure that all speaker options are not automated.  Using a real voice for every speaker option would be a great feature.

Communication:  Bloomz

1) Function:  Bloomz is an app that allows teachers and parents to communicate easily by receiving reminders through text messages or email.

2) Interaction:  Teachers can communicate with all parents through a group message or individually.  Pictures can be shared, parent teacher conferences scheduled, last minute notes/reminders are all possible with Bloomz.  The app provides all the conveniences of texting without exchanging cell phone numbers.  It also allows notifications to come through email.

3) Potential use of the app:  This app is targeted for teachers which I think is perfect, but it could also be used in businesses for communication among employees.

4) How to make this app better in terms of 1), 2), and 3) above?  This app is wonderful in all areas, but I think a tutorial for all functions the app offers is needed…especially for parents.

Games:  Where’s My Water?

1) Function:  This app is an addicting game for kids, that adults can enjoy too.  smile You are required to guide water through different physics-based puzzles.

2) Interaction:  Where’s My Water’s design is attractive and easy to use.  All the buttons are easy to navigate and the graphics are colorful and designed for kids.

3) Potential use of the app:  This app is a game, but there is a lot of thinking and planning that goes into completing the levels.  Each level gets a little harder with more planning and thinking required.  Even though this is advertised as a game, I think there are educational  possibilities.  This app could be used as a creative and fun way to introduce physics to any age group.

4) How to make this app better in terms of 1), 2), and 3) above?  As far as the purpose of this app, I think it is designed well.  Adding a hint or a guide after so many attempts at a level  without success would be a great feature to add.  This would help those persistent kids that want to pass a level, but can’t seem to figure it out.  It would allow them a way to get through a level that may be frustrating, but keep the desire to continue the game.

Productivity:  Loop-Habit Tracker

1) Function:  Loop is setup to help you keep track of your good habits in order to motivate you to keep them up.

2) Interaction:  There are so many great features that this app provides.  It is easy to use and simple, but attractive.  You enter your habits and then just check them off as often as you complete them.  This app also allows you to setup reminders for your good habits which is very helpful.

3) Potential use of the app:  Tracking bad habits might be useful too.  It would show how often you participate in the bad habits which might make it obvious that there is more of a problem than you may have realized.  For those habits, it would be helpful to try not to frequent them as often and it may help you get rid of a bad habit.

4) How to make this app better in terms of 1), 2), and 3) above?  I really think adding a bad habits version to this app would be a great addition.  Yes, it is nice to keep track of good habits, but I think just as motivating to be able to use it to kick back habits too.