Where Am I?: There are vocabulary apps that focus strictly on vocabulary and then there are these apps that go an extra step. Where Am I apps show targeted vocabulary and then place each in its appropriate scene on the following screen. Thus, one can talk about where the object is, what it is doing, who uses it, as well as extract additional vocabulary from the scene. There are six Where Am I apps: In the City, At the Zoo, Seasons, On the Farm, At Home, and At the Park. The pictures are clear and attractive.
The Shopping Cart Game: The app starts out with the mother cat sending her kitten to the grocery store. She has a shopping list with five items that the she needs to buy. The kitten needs to find each item and place it in the cart. When all items are in the cart, the cashier totals the cost of the items, subtracts the amount from the $20.00 the mother gave her kitten and tells the kitten how much money she has left. The kitten can buy a toy with the remainder. This app allows one to work at different levels of competency. Older children who are readers can work independently. They read the list and decide in what aisles to look for the items. Each aisle has a number of food choices along with their prices. When the food on the list is found, the child places it in the cart and checks it off the shopping list. Younger children who are non-readers may need assistance. Besides vocabulary, this app can be used to work on food categories, money concepts, and general discussions of supermarket shopping.
Tilly’s Petting Farm: The first thing to know about this app is that the narrator speaks with a British/South African/ or Australian accent. I’m thinking South African. There are four scenes containing various farm related animals and objects. There are two tracks. Click on the hand and the narrator will name the object the child taps and tell something about the picture. Click on the question mark and the narrator asks a variety of “wh” questions about the objects. The child needs to listen to the question and tap on the correct animal/object. I like the questions because they are meant to encourage the child to understand associations and functions. The following are examples: Which animal do you ride? Where is the food the farmer gives the animals in the winter? What animal plays in the mud? Preceding the questions is the narrator’s directives, “Pay attention. Here comes a new question,” or “Listen Carefully. I will ask you a new question.” There is some simple animation: apples fall from the tree or rain falls from clouds when tapped. This app can also be used to target prepositions, descriptions, function and location concepts
iLearn Solar System HD: This is a beautifully done app. When entering the realm of the solar system, one can select Explore or Play. Enter Explore and one can select a card with a specific solar system object or term about one wishes to learn more. Tapping on Play brings one to a screen with the solar system in the background. An astronaut avatar asks a question that the child needs to answer by correctly tapping on the item visible in space. A blue alien side-kick reacts when the the correct or incorrect picture is tapped. The solar system is beautifully depicted in high resolution and with vibrant colors. The vocabulary on this app ranges from simple to moderately difficult. Explanations in Explore, given verbally by the avatar and in written form below, can be complex. Solar system objects can be made bigger or smaller with two fingers or rotated by swiping. This app can be adapted to target descriptions, explanations, and concepts.
Gazzili Words: This app focuses on one vocabulary word at a time: fingerprint, rainbow, balance, art, healthy, patience, seed, electricity and strong. Each is described in poem form with a considerable amount of conceptual detail. After the poem is read a game screen appears. This screen offers pictorial representation of the targeted vocabulary word. For instance, the game screen for electricity is a room with different electrical appliances that can be turned on or off with a tap. The game for balance engages the child in building an ice cream cone. Once the scoops are on the cone, the child keeps them balanced on the cone by moving the iPad. The games are creative and do a good job of making the vocabulary come to life. This app can be adapted to target prepositions, function, associations and descriptions.
My Happy World: This app offers scenes with an abundance of items that the child has to find and match to it’s black and white counterpart at the bottom of the screen. The child taps on an item. If it is one of the black and white items, the item is named and the black and white item transforms into color. The child needs to find as many items as possible before time runs out. At the end of the time period, a new screen appears showing how many items were found. One can then move onto the sticker book where all the found items are displayed. Tap on the item and it is displayed individually with the word under it. There is one especially annoying feature to this app. The accompanying music is impossible to turn off. This app can be adapted to target prepositions.
Cost: Free for the lite 2 scene version; $1.99 for the full 16 scene version