Here’s a cool new app to check out: Reader App, which generates easy-to-read mobile-friendly versions of web pages that are saved offline in the app. This would be really handy for saving a page that I need to read during a flight or other situation where there’s no WiFi and I need to access something! You can click here to download Reader App on iTunes.
As someone who was homeschooled, I look at all the resources and tools available to homeschool students now and think how much simpler it’s gotten. Thanks to the Internet, there are countless resources and options for homeschooling parents available and I think it’s fantastic – back in the ’80s and ’90s, my parents had to send off for special materials through snail mail catalogs and the like. It’s crazy how quickly things change!
Of course, we all remember good old decks of flash cards – and those, like everything else, have gotten a modern makeover. Forget fumbling through a deck of cards; now it’s all on iPad, baby! Sight Words: The Future of Flashcards is an app from Sprite Labs aimed at developing reading skills in children aged 4 to 8. This application uses voice recognition to quiz children on different words, showing them on the screen and then prompting them to repeat it. The teacher is Miko the monkey, who sits on a tree smiling and delivering lessons. When a word appears on the screen, he puts his hand to his ear and leans in eagerly, waiting to hear the response. It’s very cute!
Upon starting the app, you can choose between preschool through third grade levels, with nouns receiving their own section. Parents can set the app for either “Teaching mode”, where the female narrator says the word out loud before it appears, or “Practice mode”, where the word is only displayed on screen and not spoken. You can also enable or disable hints, where the word is repeated verbally if the speaker does not say it correctly the first time. I purposely said the wrong words a few times to see what would happen – if you try too many times, the narrator just gently tells you to try again later and moves on, so kids won’t get frustrated getting stuck on one tough word. It also appears to flag difficult words for you to access later, although there seem to be some variables with this. The voice recognition appears to be pretty good – although when I tested the “Preschool” level, it prompted me to say the letter “A” and I purposely said “B” to test what would happen with a wrong answer. Miko told me I had that one right, though. I tried another word that it identified as being correct that was way off, but all the rest were accurate. There are bound to be moments like this with voice recognition, especially with children just learning pronunciation.
When you get through five words, Miko gives you a fun on-screen puzzle to solve, giving this a game aspect. This is WAY more fun than the flash cards I grew up with and I think it’s so neat that we can utilize technology in all of these new ways to make learning fun and interesting. From a technical standpoint, this app seems to work pretty well, although when I first launched it I noticed the program closed when I adjusted the volume on my iPhone; it hasn’t done that since, but it has crashed a few times while trying to play the introductory movie.
This app is available for iPhone 3GS (Which is what I tested it on!), as well as iPhones 4, 4S, 5, iPad, and iPod Touch 3rd, 4th, and 5th generations. It is available for $1.99 on the iTunes store – click here to purchase.
Complimentary conference admission received as a Fitbloggin’ live blogger. A promo code for Sworkit Pro was received. No post requested or expected, I just thought it was neat!
The last month has been insane for me – I feel like I’ve been juggling a million different things because, well, I have. The downside to a “Desk job” is that I can easily spend 15 hours a day writing with no real breaks – yes, I usually like to go to the gym and no, it just hasn’t been possible this month. My back has been killing me lately and I’ve been trying to remember to build in little breaks to get up and stretch; so I was interested to visit the Sworkit booth at the FitBloggin’ Expo Hall. This app lets you customize your own workout routine, from cardio to stretching; just choose from one of their pre-sets or pick and choose which sets of exercises you want and desired intervals. You can then follow along with the app to get in a workout – I’ve been using this to do little 5-minute stretching breaks, and I have to say, it has been useful. Appealing further to my Super Coupon Girl nature, they also offer coupons and rewards when you complete workouts. The first stretching routine I finished earned me a free sample of Propel – freebies for working out?! Sign me up!
You can download a free version of the app or just do a workout directly from their website at Sworkit.com. The Pro version of the app retails for .99 cents.