Educational apps are a great tool to boost student learning; however, they're not all created equal. I would say that less than 10% are truly worth downloading, but good ones can be worth their weight in gold. Quality apps support student learning through engagement, repetition and practise. Almost all children can benefit from repeated practise; and this can actually have a profound, positive impact on their fluency, memory, speed and accuracy with specific skills. Many skills like mental maths, for instance, prepare children to operate automatically and quickly in order to work with more complex concepts (ie: problem-solving, writing, etc.) with ease and proficiency.
Here are just a few of the higher-quality apps that I can recommend with confidence. All of these apps focus on skills that have high-impact. In order to get the best results, I’d recommend that you go for the paid versions since you can unlock all of the features and levels. Almost all of these are created by educators or reputable educational companies. I'll continue to be on the lookout for more and will keep you posted about them! Keep in mind that children should spend limited amounts of time on technology in addtion to other balanced activities like play and personal interaction.
CRAZY TIMES TABLES (Lite version does not allow access to all games; paid version is AED 10.99)
- This app integrates different games to practise multiplication facts
- It is highly-engaging and intuitive
- Offers a variety of challenge levels and even provides a "tricky times tables" feature that allows children to practise ones they've frequently gotten wrong
A+ SPELLING TEST (FREE)
- A multisensory spelling tool that allows you to create customised spelling lists for your child
- You type a word in the list and then record yourself saying the word; then later, as the word is read aloud, the child types the word
- There is a practise section and a test section along with a game that scrambles the spellings (optional)
- I would recommend you use it with the Dolch words/High-Frequency words to support children in mastering these important words
- Can also be used with "weekly spelling lists" which come home from school
KIDS ACADEMY TRACING (Lite Version does not unlock all the letters; paid version is AED 10.99)
- This is a helpful app for kids who are struggling with letter formations
- You can select between uppercase and lowercase letters
- It can be set for "lefties"
- The app guides children with the correct way to form letters (ie: top down or left-to-right, etc.); does not allow them to make a mistake or draw "outside the lines"
- Does not necessarily match a specific font but is still useful because it helps the child develop sweeping handwriting fluency which will help them apply the correct formation on paper (this is more important than a specific font style)
MR. THORNE (various apps; various prices)
- Mr. Thorne is a UK-based teacher who has developed a variety of apps across different subjects and skill-areas (phonics, maths, etc) and for different ages
- You can visit his webpage www.mrthorne.com/apps/ipad-apps/ in order to read about and select appropriate apps of just visit the iTunes store to download
- These apps are not free but are really good quality; you can purchase them individually or in bundles for better value