Saturday, December 24, 2011

Math Apps - Carnival of fun

I've renamed our smartphone the funphone. It's really not any more smart than my past phone, it's just a LOT more fun (and more expensive to run) than the archaic model I set aside in August. Even the educational games I've loaded "for the kids" are fun. So fun, in fact, that the same girls who have recently taken an if-it's-educational-it-can't-be-fun attitude ask regularly to "play" with it. They know they're learning math, French and U.S. History, but they're willing to make that sacrifice in the name of entertainment.

In an effort to put my research of app sources in one place (and to share them with you), I thought I'd run a few blog carnivals here over the next week or so. I'll start with math-related apps today, then feature other subject areas in future posts. I hope this compilation serves as a good resource for other parents like me who hope to make these technological tool-toys equally fun, functional and educational rather than the complete time-wasters they could easily become.

Over at iEAR, they've got a few reviews of math apps. Most of the reviews include details about the featured program, including cost and links for download. Due to its layout, the site's a little tough to read (more paragraph breaks would help declutter the text areas and make them easier to read), but the basics of each game are there as are suggestions from the reviewers for program improvements. Not sure I agree with the reviews since the "two-thumbs-up" app looks a lot like worksheets that no one really thinks are fun - least of all my girls, but I'll keep watching the page for future reviews which will help me cull the herd before downloading to try them myself.

I like the reviews at Fun Educational Apps. The site is easy to navigate using the search tool that's available on the front page, or by clicking on age-level tabs near the top of the front page.

AppDictions is easy to read, navigate and search, but beware the tempting ads for "too-good-to-be-true" items. I read several of their reviews and came away wondering if they'd really run any of these apps or if they just regurgitated the sales info from the game developers. Much of the same information is available in the iTunes store.

TechLearning has aligned its app reviews with core standards for grades 9-12. Each app includes a very brief description including price and basic idea of the software, but there's no apparent personal review. Has anyone involved in the list actually used any of these apps?

I really like the Teachers with Apps blog in large part because it seems to include students' input about the apps. The reviews are informative, easy to read and include students' takes on the apps as well as teachers views.

Wonder if games are right for kids? Some food for thought:

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