Archive for the ‘apps’ Category

App Time Session 6: Curious George and the Firefighters and Toca Nature

February 21, 2015

curious george

Curious George and the Firefighters by iRead With

available in iTunes and Google Play for $2.99

Yesterday in App Time, we looked at the app Curious George and the Firefighters. There are three ways to interact with this app. The first option is to simply listen the narrated story. The words are not highlighted as the narrator reads, so make sure you are running your finger along the text to help your child raise print awareness. The second option is why I chose to demonstrate the app. It is called Read & Talk. This option includes a parent avatar that acts as a guide while you engage in the story with your child. As you click on different colored words throughout the story, the parent avatar will pop up with a question or a prompt that requires an answer from your child. The act of asking questions helps increase reading comprehension. Statements such as talking about how characters feel or discussing why a character did something in particular helps keep your child engaged with the story. Feel free to incorporate this practice as you read other book apps and print books. In this option, you can also record your voice for specific words that are highlighted throughout the story. The app calls these words living words. When you select living words on the page, they complete an action along with the corresponding illustration. Living words help with word recognition. The third option in the Curious George and the Firefighters app is called the Theater. This option allows your child to recreate different scenes from the story with stickers. They can record their voice as they animate the scene. This is great way to boost reading comprehension and narrative skills.

toca nature

Toca Nature by Toca Boca

available in iTunes for $2.99

Our activity app in App Time was called Toca Nature. This is one of my favorite apps we’ve explore in App Time, so far. It encourages open-ended play, something that is so important for children’s early literacy development. The app starts off with an empty plot of land. It’s your child’s job to create a whole new world using the options at the bottom. They can create mountains and hills, lakes, rivers, and ponds, and all kinds of different forests that contain various wildlife. Once they are happy with their creation, they can explore the landscape with the magnifying glass at the bottom. In this explore mode, your child can move forward, backward, and side to side. To turn, use the globe at the bottom left corner. You’ll come across lots of different wildlife as you explore. There are bears, bunnies, foxes, birds, and deer. Sometimes they get hungry!! A thought bubble will appear above their head with the specific food they are craving. Feed them from your food collections at the bottom. There are berries, nuts, mushrooms, and fish. If you run out of berries, for example, search the ground until you find berries. Click on them and you can add them to your collection. To exit the explorer mode, click the arrow at the top right corner. To start over and create a new world, use the axe to erase trees, the water to erode mountains, and the mountains to fill up water.

Hope to see you at App Time! This program is held at Haggard Library on Fridays, 11am.

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App Time Session 5: Boats & MOMA Art Lab

February 14, 2015

Boats appThis week in App Time we looked at Boats, an app based on the book of the same name by Byron Barton.  It’s produced by Oceanhouse Media and is available as part of the Byron Barton Collection #1 for $4.99 from the App Store.

This app has the bright colors, bold outlines and simple shapes that are familiar from Barton’s books.  The book will automatically read aloud unless you go into the settings. There is the option to record your own voice.

There are sound effects and animation as the different boats move onto the page. Navigation is intuitive with the triangle appearing in the bottom right.

Tapping on a boat repeats a sound effect. You can also move the boats by holding and dragging. Tapping on objects or parts of the scene will identify the object and the word will appear, a great way to build on a child’s vocabulary.

 

moma art labThe activity app this week is MOMA Art Lab from the Museum of Modern Art in NY. It’s available for free from the App Store and encourages open-ended creativity.

Once the app is opened, you’ll see 3 colored buttons on the left. The button with the lightbulb gives you ideas for your artwork; the scissors and pencil button gives suggests activities based on a specific artist’s work.   Each of these button also has the option for audio, so that a pre-reader will have the activity or suggestion read aloud to them. The third button is your gallery where you can save your artwork.  On the right side, there’s the option to start a new work, take a picture of your art, change the canvas color, or delete your artwork.

In the middle is a blank canvas with drawing, shape and color options at the bottom. Bring shapes onto the canvas by tapping on them. You can move shapes around, resize them and turn them…or drag them off the screen to remove them.  Practice shape and color recognition with your child using the app.  There are lots of color and drawing options, and a handy eraser if you need to revise your artwork. The drawing option will allow a child to scribble and practice pre-writing skills by “writing” in their own way.

This app has so many possibilities: discuss the artists featured on the app; visit a museum; try some of the artwork with real art supplies; talk with your child about their artwork.

 

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App Time Session 4: Epic! and Animal Memory

February 7, 2015

This week at App Time we featured two new apps: Epic! and Animal Memory.

Epic-Books-for-KidsEpic! is an app with thousands of amazing books for your kids to read. You can customize this app for your child by age and reading interests. There are a lot of neat features of this app: read to me, unique avatar, reading logs, and more!

icon220x220Animal Memory is a cool memory game where kids can learn about animals across the globe. Check out the video for more information about these apps!

App Time is funded by the Texas State Library and Archives Commission and the Institute of Museum and Library Services. Join us next week for App Time on Friday at 11am at Haggard Library!

Register online to use one of our tablets or bring your own: https://evanced.info/plano/evanced/eventcalendar.asp?libnum=999

Click here to see all of our App Time videos.

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App Time Session 3

January 31, 2015

frog thingThe book app presented at App Time this week was A Frog Thing  produced by Oceanhouse Media  ($2.99 in App Store and Google Play) based on the book of the same name by Eric Drachman.

This app has a few standard options such as Read to Me, Read it Myself and Auto Play.  There is also the option to record your own voice.  There are only one or two sound effects per page, and some pages pan in and out, but the app mainly allows the reader and child to focus on the story and text with minimal distractions.

Voices for the main characters are appealing, with a lovable child’s voice for Frank the frog.  Words are highlighted in green as they are read aloud, which helps build print awareness and vocabulary. Words are repeated if they are tapped which helps with word recognition.  There is some background music to enhance the drama of the story.

I hope you enjoy the story of Frank, a frog who wants to fly!

mgolThe activity app used in App Time this week was Mother Goose on the Loose produced by Software Smoothie (free in the App Store).

This is a nursery rhyme and felt board app. On the left are 8 buttons. When you tap one of these, it displays the flannel objects associated with it. On the right side are circular buttons that have different rhymes—for example, the button with the spider opens up the options for the rhymes Little Miss Muffett and the Eency Weensy Spider (in both English and Spanish). There’s also the option to play the rain stick. You can move the flannel objects to the flannel board scene and then press the button to hear the nursery rhyme. You can move flannel pieces around or remove them from the scene.  This app is a fun way to introduce or reinforce the wonderful rhythm and rhymes in nursery songs.

Join us next week for App Time on Friday at 11am at Haggard Library!

Register online to use one of our tablets or bring your own: https://evanced.info/plano/evanced/eventcalendar.asp?libnum=999

Click here to see all of our App Time videos.

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App Time Recommends

January 17, 2015

Yesterday at App Time we explored the apps Pat the Bunny by Random House LCC and Felt Board by Software Smoothie.

Pat the Bunny ($4.99) is based on the book by Dorothy Kunhardt. It has the important feature of highlighted narration. Highlighted narration is similar to running your finger along text in a printed book. This feature helps kids gain print awareness. I really like that this app is true to the original printed book and that interaction is directly related to the text.

Felt Board ($2.99) is an open-ended, versatile app. This app looks exactly like a traditional felt board. Kids can create pictures with a variety of backgrounds, people, and animals. Encourage your child to talk about what is happening in the scenes they create. This interaction helps boost narrative skills. You can also use your imagination to create games to increase number, letter, and shape recognition. I love that the possibilities are endless with this app. If you need ideas, re-create a favorite flannel you’ve seen at storytime or ask us for ideas at the Children’s Info desk at your local Plano Public Library.

Interested in coming to App Time? It is every Friday, 11:00-11:45am, at Haggard Library (2501 Coit Road). Come join us as we explore how to best use apps as a tool for early literacy!

This program is funded by the Texas State Library and Archives Commission and the Institute for Museum and Library Services.

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Recommended App of the Week

December 13, 2014

toca natureToca Nature by Toca Boca

Compatibility: Requires iOS 5.0 or later.

Price: $2.99

Recommended for ages 5 and up.

Kids use their imagination to create their own world in nature. They can then explore their world by observing wildlife and feeding animals. The slow, peaceful pace of navigation and a relaxing soundtrack encourage kids to slow down and enjoy their surroundings. This quiet and easy-going approach is a refreshing characteristic that sets this app apart from apps that can be loud, busy, and overwhelming for young children. This app encourages kids to play and create a narrative based on the worlds they have made. Play is an important role in early literacy for young children.

A Common Sense Media review does note that, “The tap and drag navigation is very sensitive and can sometimes be a bit awkward; kids, especially younger ones, might need help, or just a bit of practice.”

nature 1

toca
Reviewed by Kate (Haggard)

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Recommended App of the Week

November 8, 2014

wheels on the busWheels on the Bus

by Duck Duck Moose, Inc.

Price: $1.99

Recommended for ages 2-6 years old

Compatibility: Requires iOS 6.0 or later. Compatible with iPhone, iPad, and iPod touch. This app is optimized for iPhone 5.

Have fun with the popular tune, “The Wheels on the Bus”, with your child. In addition to English, users can listen and sing along with the song in four other languages: Spanish, French, German, and Italian. You can even record your own voice!  Interact with the different verses by spinning the wheels fast or slow, opening and closing the door, swishing the windshield wipers back and forth, and other actions.

 

 

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Recommended App of the Week

July 12, 2014

1billnyemainBill Nye the Science Guy

Compatibility: Requires iOS 6.0 or later. Compatible with iPhone, iPad, and iPod touch. This app is optimized for iPhone 5.

Price:Free

Recommended for ages 7-10.

“Disney recently released an app called Bill Nye the Science Guy.  When you first open the app a voice over by Bill Nye exclaims, “You’ve arrived at my desk!” and a desk full of objects is shown.  Users can choose from objects on the desk, such as a rocket, a robot or a sundial, and the app will bring users into a different lesson. There is a huge variety of options to learn from such as: games designed to teach users about the solar system as you take pictures from a rocket, learning about planet Earth’s geological history while digging up a backyard, and cool optical illusions woven into a storyline about alien invasion.

In addition to games, there is also a book of do-it-yourself experiments and the six science experiments require nothing more than everyday household items. Be sure to check out the bobble head. It has interesting science facts to share.” From a review on Mrs. Yollis’ Classroom Blog.

2billnye

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Recommended App of the Week

July 5, 2014

stickersudoku StickerSudoku

This logic game is exactly like Sudoku, but it replaces the numbers with stickers. For those unfamiliar with the rules of    Sudoku, there is a question mark button at the top right corner of the home screen. This app is very easy to play and  fun!  Kids develop problem solving skill that are age-appropriately challenging.

“One useful aspect of this app is that if the child incorrectly places an animal, it turns upside down, but stays in place.  This  allows for discussion of why the placement is incorrect and allows the child to use problem solving skills instead of simple trial and error.” –from a Center for Pediatric Therapy review.

 

Recommended ages: 4-7 years old.

Compatibility: Requires iOS 3.1 or later. Compatible with iPhone, iPad, and iPod touch.

Price: Free

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Recommended App of the Week

June 21, 2014

a starfallreadStarfall Learn to Read

Compatible with iPhone, iPodTouch, iPad, Android, Kindle Fire.

Price: $2.99

This app is phonics based.  In the “Play” section, there are interactive games for a child to make words- the narrator announces “make a word with -an to match the picture.”  Then a picture appears and the narrator pronounces the word- for example, a picture of a fan appears and the narrator says “fan”. The child has 4 letters to choose from.  If the wrong letter is chosen and dragged in front of -an to make the word, the letter moves back to its original place accompanied by a sound to indicate it is the wrong letter. When the correct letter is chosen and dragged in front of the -an, the letter stays in place and the word is pronounced.

a tarfallread1

A matching game shows a picture on one card and a word on the other. When you match them correctly, the narrator pronounces the word.

The picture hunt game shows a drawing in black and white and when you find the word asked for, that image turns to color while the word is sounded out.

a starfallread3

“Starfall Learn to Read is an app version of the stellar learn-to-read website, Starfall. The app has the same content as the “Learn to Read” section of the site. There are 15 mini-books, each focusing on a specific vowel, along with videos and activities to enhance literacy learning. As with other Starfall apps, the thorough and careful design keeps kids focused on learning.” From Common Sense Media Review.

Recommended for preschool children.

Donna C. (Schimelpfenig Library)

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