Kids can suit up and learn great facts about being an astronaut, rockets, shuttles, space stations, the solar system, the universe and get involved using the many interactive points through each learning section.
In the rocket section, they can experience a rocket propulsion, a lunar module taking off, put parts of rockets together or create their own countdown! I know I’ve always wanted to do that!
In the shuttle section, kids can learn about satellites, be a shuttle pilot and play with rockets. In the space station section, they can have fun finding out about how astronauts live on space stations, eat, sleep, cut their hair and deal with zero gravity. This part was one of my daughter’s favourite section by far. She loved playing with her little astronaut friend in space.
In the solar system section, children can learn about the planets, their distance to the sun, their size, how long they spin around themselves and how many years the planets take to orbit the sun. They can understand where earth and the moon fit in the solar system and learn about the sun too.
Last but not least, the universe section is interesting as it goes through the history of scientists, astronauts, animals in space and how old the universe it.
We cannot fault the app really, you can tell that the creators of this app spent a great deal of time thinking about an easy way to navigate, some great graphics and fun facts about science. The only tiny thing is that some parts of the app have a lot of text some of which isn’t narrated!
Overall, we love this beautifully illustrated, nicely narrated, fun and educational app! Mums and dads can learn a thing or two about space and the universe using this app. The app is very easy to use and kids can go click happy through each section all while learning a great deal about science.
Fully customizable lessons with lots of different learning modes.
What we’d love to see…
Even more boards on math.
Bitsboard Pro is the ultimate educational app with top-quality content and outstanding enabling features to meet the learning needs of every child.
How many times have you wished that you can modify a well-developed learning app just that little bit to better match your child’s skills. Or thought of replacing some of the content with your own instead? Have you ever wondered if there is this ONE App that can meet most (if not all) of your child’s educational needs? What about an app that can accommodate the educational goals and learning difficulties of an entire class?
This is a tall order for any app considering children learn at different pace and thrive in different learning environment. And to be able to add our own content in an app seems like an impossible task! But Bitsboard Pro has all our wishes covered. It is the ultimate educational app for children from preschool right up to elementary school level, giving you access to thousands of topics (with many new ones added every month) and the ability to customize the way students learn in the app as well as the app content itself.
Alright, most of us don’t have the time nor inclination to create our own content. We just want an app that has ready-to-download learning materials and Bitsboard has lots of content to offer. After creating a user account, you can browse through Bitsboard’s extensive lessons catalog or search for specific lessons and download (over the internet) the ones that you need. Here, lessons are presented in individual boards, each containing a series of flashcards (bits). Topics include languages, vocabulary, grammar, reading (sight words, word families, phonics, readers), sentence maker, speech, spelling, letter tracing, math facts, math operations, money, time telling, sign language, routines, sequences, emotions and many more! The free version of Bitsboard itself comes with lots of shared resources that you can start with right away.
What I really love in Bitsboard is that you can choose up to 30 fully customizable learning modes or games that help children to learn and retain the information presented in the lessons. You can start with the simpler games and progress to the more complex ones. With so many different ways to learn the same materials, students remain engaged and learn better. Check out Bitsboard’s long list of fun learning games – Flashcards, Explore, True or False, Photo Touch, Photo Hunt, Memory Cards, Pop Quiz, Match Up, Word Builder, Sentence Builder, Spelling Bee, BINGO, Letter Tracing, Sequences, Related items, Word Search, Word Chunks, Crosswords, Unscramble, Say It, Missing Item, Puzzles, Reader, What’s Next, Odd One Out, Sort It, Side by Side, Story Time, Genius, Review Game and Board Creator
For each game, you can modify things like the session length, with or without visual/audio hints, spelling order, display options, number of tiles, matching options and answer mode. Customization is easy but it would be tedious if you have more than 1 user. Luckily, you don’t have to keep adjusting the settings and preferences as these are saved for each user (unlimited users for the Pro version). Likewise, the tracking of detailed progress and lesson plans is stored at the user level. Bitsboard’s learning algorithm also ensures that each game automatically advances according to the individual user’s skills.
If you are an educator, you will like the ease of creating custom lessons with your own cards (from photo library, dropbox, web search or Bitsboard Catalog of images), audio recording and text (words, phrases, sentences, description). Your students can learn anything you present to them using the Bitsboard learning games. You can also set up your own exclusive class with your own selection of boards for sharing with your students or fellow teachers privately.
I’m truly impressed with all the meaningful features that have been continually added in Bitsboard in order to support students and educators. There are many more that are not mentioned here. This all-in-one educational app far exceeds all my expectations in terms of content and ability to be customized. I don’t think you’ll find another app that is as versatile and comprehensive as this. Bitsboard Pro is an essential learning app that all families and classes must have!
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beautiful illustration, informative primer, educational
What we’d love to see…
sounds and/or music, consistent layout, better audio for the narration
An app that is based on a book that helps children understand and appreciate life in the prairie.
The Prairie That Nature Built, by Dawn Publications, is an app based on the book of the same name by Marybeth Lorbiecki. It has 3 parts. The first part is the story, the second part is a matching game, and the third part is a primer.
The book was born out of the author’s love for the prairie. It describes, in poetry from, what the animals and plants in the prairie are like. It starts from the underground and works its way up to the sky. Suddenly lightning strikes and starts a fire. The rain that follows quenches the fire and then months later life in the prairie begins anew. The story does a good job of describing life in the prairie, and I loved how it ended with a little boy who we find out is the voice behind the poem. However, it felt a little tedious and did not hold my children’s attention very well. It was also inconsistent in form. It starts off as a cumulative poem but changes in parts of the book. The illustrations are beautiful and very vivid, and some were interactive. My children enjoyed looking at the animals and seeing if touching them would trigger movement. However, because it did not include any sounds, their interest quickly dissipated. Most of the illustrations were up close, which did a great job of helping children get a good and detailed view of the animals, but failed to communicate the vastness of the prairie. It felt crowded instead of expansive. I also did not like how the view switches from landscape to portrait in the middle of the book and then back to landscape again. The switch felt very strange and distracting to the flow of the book. The audio (narration) was also too loud. You can hear breathing and popping noises every so often. My children eventually decided to turn off the narration as it was more pleasant for them to read the book on their own.
The matching game revisits several pages of the book. This time it only includes the illustrations and a list of items to find. You drag a name from the list to its matching object. If the name matches the object, the name vibrates and stays with the object. If not, it goes back to the list, indirectly prompting you to try again. Other than that, the game provides no helps, hints, or answers. It also has no sound. Once again, it failed to hold my children’s interest. I think the game would make a lot more sense if the animals and plants were introduced in the story. This can be accomplished by displaying the animal or plant’s name whenever it is tapped. The matching game will then serve to test their memory of the plants and animal they came across. Also, it would be great if a correct match revealed a little more into about the animal or plant.
I think I liked the primer most of all. The audio was much better on this one. The pages were clean, easy to read, and informative. I also liked the author, illustrator, publisher, and developer pages. It is presented with audio and it is as though they were speaking directly to the kids. I have never seen it done this way before.
While I feel there is much improvement needed in this app, I appreciated how it seeks to inform and excite children about the prairie. If you decide to check this app out, I would suggest using it on an iPad since the font is much too small to read comfortably on an iPhone.
Can your kids (or even yourself) have fun without internet or technology? How do you usually entertain yourselves? Do we depend so much on technology that losing it, even for a moment, irritates us and causes disruption to our lives? That’s definitely the case for Mia’s mom. She was angry when she couldn’t find the television remote and ordered Mia to tidy her messy room and look for the remote. But Messy Mia & The Tale of Ancient Tech by AvatarGeneration is more about how technology has evolved over the past generation than how we have become more reliant on technology in our daily lives.
What we love…
Fun comparison of the old and new technology.
What we’d love to see…
Ability to toggle between the old and new technology in the story. Addition of a page menu and text highlighting.
A rare book for kids to learn about old technology and a great conversation starter for parents and kids to talk about the impact technology has on our lives in the past, present and future.
While searching for the remote, Mia met a knowledgeable robot who told her the kind of home entertainment and telecommunications technology that her mom had in the past. Mia listened in disbelief that there were no TV remotes, DVDs, CDs, mobile phones, MP3 players nor laptops when her mom was young. She felt sorry thinking about how deprived her mom was as a child and promptly went to find the remote.
I enjoyed reading this storybook app as it brought me back to my youth – the era of CRT TVs, VCR recorders, video tapes, cassette players, cassettes, Walkmans, phone booths, rotary dial phones and internet dial-ups. I can so relate to the mom’s outrage when someone called in while she was on the internet because you couldn’t use both the phone and internet at the same time! I love to bring my kids to the museums, vintage shops and other establishments that showcase items from the past. I would reminisce about the old days and marvel at how much technology has progressed in just one generation.
Messy Mia & The Tale of Ancient Tech offers the perfect opportunity for parents like us to talk about the old and new technology to our kids. To them, it is inconceivable that we could live without the current conveniences (think iPhones) and they become somewhat appreciative of what they have. Seeing what once seemed impossible is now possible, I hope they will be inspired to dream about the future possibilities and think of new ideas and inventions to further improve our lives.
This storybook app even has a section for kids to think about how the past technology has impacted the adults, what present technology means to them and imagine what future technology would be like. There are 11 guiding questions to start them thinking. While this section is also suitable for older kids, the rest of the book is appropriate for children up to lower elementary levels. The 4 mini games (Color Mia, Match the Tech, Tidy Mia’s Room & Memory) included in the app are however suitable for preschool children.
Overall, this is a wonderful book touching on a topic that is rarely discussed with children but one that carries a timely reminder that we can live without high-tech communications and entertainment technology (and not being so reliant), and an appreciation of life changing technology.
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