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723 posts

Ultimate Geek
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Topic # 113158 8-Jan-2013 13:37 Send private message

There was a lot of publicity last year about introducing iPads to schools as the "new way of learning" - well at least supplementing learning, suddenly it's all gone a bit quite.

My youngest daughter is going into year 6 and her last report shows that she is a little behind in maths and English.  I've tried to get her on the PC with a range of software called Learning Ladder but it's quite old now and not very inspiring (even by my standards).

I've had a look on iTunes and the choice is confusing.  Can anyone recommend any iPad apps that are kind of curriculum based for NZ years 5 or 6 (age 8-10) that are playable and educational.  Any reading/writing/spelling MUST be real English (not US or any other country that has destroyed the language) which is why I am looking for recommendations.  Maths at this stage are not too complex, basic facts kind of stuff (for those who have kids).

Free would be great but I am prepared to pay if the app is worthy.  It should be fun and rewarding - able for me to keep tabs on progress etc.


Procrastination eventually pays off.

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  Reply # 741730 8-Jan-2013 15:58 Send private message

Hi there,

I have a few that I use in my own classroom and have recommended to parents and other teachers - unfortunately I can't remember which of them are free and which I paid for but I will just list them all and then you can explore further. I would say though that one of the best maths eLearning tools I have used is Mathletics, which a lot of schools sign everyone up for - but if they don't they can probably sign up individuals. You pay an annual membership I think but it can be used through a browser or they have an iPad app which is still be developed but is good. Kids love it as it has a competitive element and they can play against kids all around the world. If her school uses it the teacher can also assign tasks which align with the current curriculum area, or to target her needs. In addition they have another part called Spellodrome which we have only recently started using but seems very good.

As far as maths apps go I particularly like:

- Splash Maths (comes in different grades as it is American I suspect but grade 4-5 might be good to reinforce basic skills)
- Maths Quest
- Math Bingo
- Skoolbo - this is amazing because you can register as a parent and then see how she is doing and what questions she is struggling with etc. I am going to be using this with all my students this year and many of the parents I told about it last year LOVED it! It is a combination of maths and literacy skills and starts with a few test questions to figure out their level, but its a game as far as the kids see too.

English is a bit more difficult because its such a broad subject. Is it grammar/spelling, or writing, or comprehension etc. If you want to tell me more specifically what her area of need or "next learning steps" are I might be able to recommend something more specific but for now I will just share the apps I use:

- Chicktionary (a game where you have to make words out of letters - kids love it!)
- Wurdle - similar to above
- Grammaropolis
- StoryMakerHD - allows her to illustrate a story and then caption / write about it good for sequencing or writing ideas
- Strip Design - make your own comic
- Word Bingo - may be a little young but the kids seem to love it anyway

Hope that gives you some help. I am happy to suggest other (non iPad) things I have found useful also. It's tough because there are so many apps in the Education section of the store that I have just used trial and error. Especially with literacy anything that gets them reading and writing is going to be beneficial.


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  Reply # 741735 8-Jan-2013 16:03 Send private message

Haha just read your comment about REAL English - story of my life. I need to give up my job and learn to write apps so I can make real educational apps for Kiwi kids!

723 posts

Ultimate Geek
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  Reply # 742269 9-Jan-2013 14:02 Send private message

Hi LittleGold, thanks for your quick and informative reply (unlike my tardy response).

We will give some of the suggestions a try and hopefully one of them will fit the bill.  I will ask her new teacher if there are any resources the school could sign us up for.  Funny enough, my wife works as a TA in a Lower Hutt primary school but she feels it would be cheeky to ask "at work".

My daughter has a May birthday and we were left with the question of whether to hold her back or allow her to progress - she is quite socially developed so she moved up to the next year - hopefully with a bit of encouragement she will also catch up academically.  If only she had the same confidence in her work as she does in herself!

The English she is behind on is more to do with reading and comprehension.  Spelling is good, grammar is fine.

By the way, welcome to Geekzone :)

Procrastination eventually pays off.

Hawkes Bay
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  Reply # 742271 9-Jan-2013 14:09 Send private message

We do have mainly math games on our iPad here, but my 5 year old son also uses Study Ladder on the PC (actually a website).

It looks pretty cheesy and low-budget, but some good challenging word and math games that get him hooked. He asks very nicely to be allowed to learn!

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  Reply # 742277 9-Jan-2013 14:14 Send private message

The trouble with girls is that often they lose interest in reading, often around your daughter's age actually. The secret is finding the author / series / genre that gets them hooked. I ask my students to read for 20 mins a night as part of their homework and for some its easy and they read way more than that, and for others its an absolute chore. I tell their parents that reading anything is still reading - newspaper article, magazine article, comic, graphic novel - whatever gets their attention and might start a spark of interest for them to read more. Then if they are reading tackling the comprehension is as easy as starting a conversation about it - what did they like about it, favourite character or favourite part, what could an alternative ending been, if they had written it what would they have done differently etc etc. Anything that means they spoke about what they read is going to help their comprehension.

We are introducing iPads more widely in our school this year so as I come across anything new and potentially helpful I will let you know.

That May birthday thing is difficult. In my class last year I had a girl who had been put up and a girl who had been held back. Very interesting as a teacher to see the difference in the two - but ultimately they will both be fine in the end :)

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Ultimate Geek
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  Reply # 742291 9-Jan-2013 14:40 Send private message

Doesn't work on the iPad, but my Yr7 daughter is using Khan Academy website for Maths. She seem to like it, it starts from the basics and encourages reviewing topics already completed, and you can see as a parent which topics are a struggle.  In school holidays she has a target of 2000 or 5000 points on it a day to keep her maths up over the holidays. She easily forgets the concepts and techniques, but is good at them once remembered.. 

Also used Mathletics (login provided from school), likes the versus mode where you challenge other kids around the world, but overall I prefer Khan Academy.

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