Sakura Quick Math by Shiny things is a universal app designed for children aged 6-11 to help improve their fluency in arithmetic. It can also be used by older children or adults wanting to speed up their mental arithmetic.
The app works on addition, subtraction, multiplication and division; you can choose to work on one of these at a time or a random selection of all four. Within each there are 3 different levels – beginner, intermediate and advanced. Once you choose a process and a level, the clock counts down 3,2,1 and you are off! It is a very simple concept: questions appear in a blue box on the screen, and you write the answer anywhere on the screen. If the answer is correct, the answer is filled in and a green check mark appears. That question scrolls up the screen, and a new one appears in the blue box. If the answer is wrong, the answer it detected and an x, both briefly appear in red. This is useful because you can see if you it was marked as wrong because you got the wrong answer or because it misread your writing. You can then try again; there is also an option to skip a question. A timer records how long it takes to get 20 correct answers. Whilst it’s calculating your time (and adding a penalty for skipped questions) a stick figure runs across the screen and he falls over if you skipped a question which my son found very funny. It records your time in a bar chart allowing you to see how it compares to your previous attempts. It is also game center enabled, so if you wish you can compare your scores to others on the leader board. There are sound effects that can be switched off in settings, and you can reset your scores.
I did find the app sometimes had difficulty reading my handwriting especially my #5, the developer is working on an update that will make it more accurate. I found that if I was careful with how I wrote the numbers it was much more accurate – so it is good for prompting the child to be neater. At the moment it only supports a single user, I would like to see multiple player profiles. It would also be nice to have some sort of reward system built in, especially for younger players who may not find competing for their best time enough motivation in itself. I have spoken to the developer and he has several updates in the works, iPhone 5 support has already been submitted to Apple, improved handwriting recognition should be coming very soon, and he is planning to add multiple user profiles and a reward system in a future update.There are no adverts, social media links , iTunes links or in-app purchases.
This is a very simple concept but is actually quite addictive trying to beat your best times for each level. My son is in 3rd grade and needs to be able to do rapid-fire math questions at school so this is good practice for that. Both my son and myself used the app and enjoyed trying to beat our best times. He has given me permission to add it to his iPod touch for practicing quick fire maths, which is definitely a seal of approval. Writing the answer promotes muscle memory and is better for retention. it’s also good practice for writing your answers neatly!
Overall, if you want to speed up your child’s mental arithmetic speed or even your own, then this is a good app to try. Somehow the writing the numbers feels more satisfying than clicking an answer, and it is better for motor learning too. If you are looking for a math app that has lots of exciting graphics and interactive elements this isn’t for you, but if you want a simple effective tool for improving fluency in subtraction, addition, multiplication and division, then it is well worth downloading.
UPDATE: Nov 2012: this app has just been updated with improved handwriting recognition and the addition of multiple player profiles (which I had suggested to the developer) I have updated its star rating to reflect this.
Sakura Quick Mathby Shiny Things
Category: Education, Games, Puzzle, Strategy
Requirements: Compatible with iPad 3G, iPadFourthGen, iPodTouchFifthGen, iPhone4S, iPadMini, iPad 2 3G, iPadThirdGen4G, iPod Touch (4. Gen.), iPadFourthGen4G, iPhone5, iPad WiFi, iPod Touch (3. Gen.), iPad 2 WiFI, iPhone 3GS, iPadThirdGen, iPadMini4G, iPhone 4
Size: 29.61 MB
Screenshots(Click to enlarge)
Screenshots for iPad(Click to enlarge)
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NOTE: A fee was received to expedite this review to the top of our waiting list but this payment has not influenced the objectivity of the review and all opinions have been offered honestly.
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