Learning Upgrade – Review


What we love…

Step-by-step instructions, summaries, examples in lessons are presented through fun videos and songs.

What we’d love to see…

An option to remove or adjust the timer for the final challenge in each course.

Summary

A complete Math and English learning app that keeps students engaged and motivated to learn and upgrade.

Our Rating

Is your child having problems mastering a particular Math or English lesson no matter what you do to help? My youngest has been struggling to remember the basic rules of writing a simple sentence despite having done many written exercises. Then I let him have a go at the app, Learning Upgrade. To my surprise, he picked up the skills easily within the day!

What worked for my son (who is a visual learner) is the combination of teaching through catchy songs, lively animations and entertaining videos plus game-like exercises that are fun to do. Learning Upgrade is a very engaging learning app. It has lessons that he likes to watch again and again, pop-style songs (highlighting the key words) that he tries to sing along with and exercises that he is willing to redo because all the questions are attractively presented and it is easy for him to input his answers. He especially likes the app’s positive and enthusiastic response whenever he submits a correct answer.

What I like, on the other hand, is the use of visual representations, summaries and examples to teach, the helpful guided exercises that reinforce the learning points, the different ways of questioning to ensure a student’s full understanding of the topic, the comprehensive coverage and the gradual and progressive manner in which skills are being taught.

Students are allowed to progress to the next lesson only when they have earned 100 points (from correct answers) and attained at least 75% correct. A rewards system is in place to encourage students to repeat the exercises in order to improve on their scores. At the completion of a course, students have to pass the final challenge before moving to the next course. But you can also choose to unlock all the lessons in your account settings so that your child can jump to any lesson.

I appreciate how the app supports students who need a little extra help in answering the questions in the learning games that follow each video lesson. Lines in passages are underlined as they are read out. There is a speaker button to tap if students need to hear the questions or instructions again. For answers that require reading, students can hear the individual words before attempting to answer. They also have the opportunity to check their answers before submitting.

The app doesn’t miss any teaching moments either. A short animation repeating the answer follows the correct answer to give further reinforcement. When an incorrect answer is submitted, the correct answer is always demonstrated and the app does not move to the next screen until the student has enough time to review the answer.

Learning Upgrade is free to download and comes with a video on the course descriptions and 6 demo lessons (with exercises) – 3 each for Math and English. If you register with an email, you will have free access to 8 lessons for each subject. To begin, choose between English or Math and then decide between 3 starting points. You can choose to start from the beginning of the curriculum, take a placement test to determine a course that is appropriate for your child’s learning needs or just select a course level that you want to review.

Currently, the app offers 60 lessons for each of the English Upgrade level 1-5 and Math Upgrade level K-8 courses, that’s more than 900 lessons in total. A course on Algebra was also added recently. To continue beyond the free lessons, you have 3 subscription plans to choose from – $7.99 for 1 month access to all lessons, $19.99 for 3 months and $59.99 for 12 months. You can access your lessons from the web as well as your smart phones and tablets. An internet connection is required for loading the lessons and saving the student’s progress.

Learning Upgrade is a comprehensive Math and English learning app that complements the school curriculum. Lessons are professionally done and enjoyable. Review exercises are varied and effective. Whether your child is trying to catch up or stay ahead of the class, Learning Upgrade is an excellent learning companion to have.

 

 

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Learning Upgrade

Learning Upgrade Learning Upgrade by Learning Upgrade

Price: $FREE

Students of all ages and abilities can successfully improve and master basic math, English, and reading skills with the Learning Upgrade app.

Since 1998, Learning Upgrade courses have been successfully.

 

 

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.

Grace was working in the fields of early childhood education and staff training before quitting to attend to her 4 children full time. She and her family live in Singapore, which is well known for her highly competitive education system.

PUZZINGO Kids Puzzles (Pro) by 77Sparx Studio, Inc. – Review


What we love…

Great variety of high interest puzzle themes introducing lots of basic and advanced vocabulary.

What we’d love to see…

A choice of lower or upper case for display of vocabulary words.

Summary

A unique puzzle and mini-game app that is engaging and meaningful with enormous amount of content for building a rich vocabulary.

Our Rating

PUZZINGO Kids Puzzles (Pro) is more than just a puzzle app. It is an extensive vocabulary app where the subjects are presented through different types of toddler and preschool puzzles. And these are not the average puzzles that you find in other puzzle apps. The puzzles in Puzzingo are both engaging and meaningful while the gameplay is ingenious. I’m totally impressed.

The vocabulary words are grouped according to themes or categories which helps children develop skills in sorting and classifying objects. Besides learning the name and sound of each object, they also learn what goes together. You can help your child to gain more knowledge and develop analytical skills by highlighting the similarities or relationship between the different objects.

Each themed pack of puzzles consists of 7 groups of puzzles focusing on 7 different topics within the theme e.g. the core concepts pack includes puzzles on shapes, colors, numbers, counting, emotions, alphabet and weather. Currently there is a total of 22 puzzle packs included in the app covering core concepts, food, professions, holidays, animals, space, life of toys, bugs, pets, dinosaurs, pirates, princesses & fairies, sports, music, fairy tales, super heroes, cars, trains, airplanes, trucks and candy kingdom. What is important to note is that there is a wide variety of high interest themes for younger children to choose from.

From an educator’s perspective, I like that the words introduced in each group help to build a rich vocabulary. Learners can see the print (in upper case) and hear the associated word read aloud when they touch each object puzzle, which in turn helps with labelling and word recognition. It is a great app for use in speech therapy. Besides learning the US English language, learners can also learn the vocabulary in Spanish, UK English, Chinese and Japanese. 

While I’m impressed with the enormous amount of content that kids can potentially learn from the app, what I find refreshing is the format of the app’s gameplay – how it extends the play from one puzzle game to another meaningfully.

Each pack of puzzles consist of 2 types of puzzles, 1-piece puzzles and layered puzzles. Each 1-piece puzzles are easy to complete but each of these puzzle piece brings players to a more challenging layered puzzle. The layered puzzles show the many parts and layers that make up the object shown on the 1-piece puzzle piece. Players learn the names of these parts as they build the object puzzle piece-by-piece. In some cases, the parts could be items that are associated with the theme. For example, the soccer puzzle game introduces terms like goalie, goal, photographer, camera, signs, cone, players, injured player, medics, forward, midfielder, defender, soccer ball, jersey, cleats and shin guards.

Regardless the total number of puzzle pieces that kids have to put in place in order to complete a puzzle game, the app presents only 2 pieces at any one time so that kids won’t get overwhelmed. Another toddler-friendly support comes in the form of prompts that show kids where to place the puzzle piece when they placed the piece incorrectly repeatedly.

Once a puzzle game is completed, players are rewarded with an interactive mini-game that helps them to explore further on the theme. Kids can fly an airplane, conduct a band, dress up a character, score a goal, feed a dinosaur, drive a vehicle, play with the toys and many more activities. The games are varied and deliver so much fun with their cute animations and sound effects that they may just overshadow the puzzles in terms of popularity with kids. Repeat play is guaranteed.

If you have a preschooler at home, you definitely need to get Puzzingo. The free version Puzzingo Puzzles offers 7 sets of puzzles and mini-games and a free daily puzzle from one of the themed puzzle packs that is available for purchase. You can purchase individual puzzle packs or an All-Access Pass. This Pass allows your child to play with more than 150 puzzles and enjoy new content and games through regular updates. The latest update for the 2017 Holidays offers the Trucks Puzzles pack and Toys Puzzles pack which are perfect gifts for the holiday season!

With Puzzingo, completing a puzzle becomes meaningful and purposeful. Preschoolers are exposed to lots of vocabulary words from a wide range of topics while reaping the benefits of completing puzzles like spatial awareness, hand-eye coordination, matching and fine-motor skills. With so much content in a single app, I’m positive that your preschoolers will have many favorite puzzles to keep them busy learning and playing.

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PUZZINGO Kids Puzzles (Pro)
Puzzingo Toddler Kids Puzzles
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Puzzingo Toddler Kids Puzzles Puzzingo Toddler Kids Puzzles by 77Sparx Studio, Inc.

Price: $FREE

• Featured by Apple
Do your kid and toddler like puzzles? How about an educational puzzle game that is fun, packed with learning, and played by 8 million families around the world? Checkout Puzzingo.

 

 

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.

Grace was working in the fields of early childhood education and staff training before quitting to attend to her 4 children full time. She and her family live in Singapore, which is well known for her highly competitive education system.

Yaya Learns English by Kiddies City – Review


What we love…

bright interactive app that encourages children to learn a variety of words in English ranging from numbers, colors, shapes, and everyday words.

What we’d love to see…

use of matching numbers to roman numerals for the counting, no timer for some of the games, shorter “test” at the end of the app

Summary

Fun interactive kids app that teaches children numbers and a variety of words in a interactive birthday adventure for Yaya.  There is no IAP or advertising.

Our Rating

Yaya Learns English by Kiddies City is a iPad only app in which a young girl named Yaya explores the city in a variety of interactive scenes.  Each scene has a variety of activities from finding coins and matching them up by numbers in the train scene, to earning tickets at a theme park and attending a birthday party!   The app uses U.K. English, but many words are similar to American English and it is great for kids of all ages.  The app features English, German, Spanish, Korean, or Chinese as languages.  There are four apps in the series including Yaya learns German, Yaya learns Spanish, Yaya learns Chinese all of which have a similar story just with different languages tied to them.  The app features multi step directions, completing a task, finding coins and matching them up, getting the birthday ready and more.

My son loves anything to do with trains – so he really enjoyed putting together the tracks and matching the first letter of the objects (“r” for rainbow and “t” for tree).  He really enjoyed trying to make the tracks correct so he could continue within the app.  At the birthday party, it was fun for my son to help Yaya decorate by making juice – he chose orange and loved watching the blender make it.  He also enjoyed matching the letters to the words and getting stars for finishing each task.  The app has beautiful artwork with animations throughout including floating balloons.  As a mom, I also liked my kids could touch the speaker icon to hear the word spoken again.  The app features numbers from one to ten and thirty seven other words like apple, roller coaster, bridge, house and other words you use everyday in the English language.  The narration in the app is well done by a native English speaker.  I would suggest this app for kids aged four through about second grade because of the complexity for some of the mini games.  I liked that the app had a comprehension test at the end – although 30 questions seemed a bit high – I would prefer if there were ten or so questions that rotated through.  My older son especially enjoyed the birthday room and making the cake, blowing up the balloons and sorting the candy items for the favor jars.  The app features a gated parental area which includes a glossary of the words including pronunciation, links to social media.  This parental area is accessed by touching a number and holding it for three seconds.

iPad Screenshot 1

In terms of improvements, seeing a number on a coin versus the roman numeral can be confusing for kids who may not have learned that concept yet.  I have a 3 year old who loved finding the coins, but had a hard time matching them to the roman numeral because they were not the same. When you successfully complete the numbers, you are presented with a screen which shows the coins – again with numbers and the spelling of the number which is different than how it is presented within the app. Older kids may understand the concept more clearly and be able to execute   There are also a number of items within the various screens it would be nice to see an interaction with when you touch them.  In the park, my son got frustrated because when you put the kids on the rides you are timed as you answer questions – it would be nice for younger kids if you didn’t have a timer because when time ends you have to start the level again.    I would also like to be able to mute the background music – as it can be a bit distracting but when you turn down the sound you lose the narration.

Overall, this is a cute app designed to help kids learn English in a fun and interactive way.  It is designed for children who already speak English  as well as non native English speakers.  The mini games are fun and have good replay opportunities – but younger kids especially can get frustrated when you try the app because of the inconsistencies in the levels of the games.  There are no in-app purchases and no advertising contained within the app. This is a fun educational app that will have kids playing over and over again.


Yaya Learns English
Yaya Learns English
by Chin Yee Karwehl

Category: Education, Games, Family, Adventure
Requirements: Compatible with iPad2Wifi-iPad2Wifi, iPad23G-iPad23G, iPadThirdGen-iPadThirdGen, iPadThirdGen4G-iPadThirdGen4G, iPadFourthGen-iPadFourthGen, iPadFourthGen4G-iPadFourthGen4G, iPadMini-iPadMini, iPadMini4G-iPadMini4G, iPadAir-iPadAir, iPadAirCellular-iPadAirCellular, iPadMiniRetina-iPadMiniRetina, iPadMiniRetinaCellular-iPadMiniRetinaCellular, iPadAir2-iPadAir2, iPadAir2Cellular-iPadAir2Cellular, iPadMini3-iPadMini3, iPadMini3Cellular-iPadMini3Cellular, iPadMini4-iPadMini4, iPadMini4Cellular-iPadMini4Cellular, iPadPro-iPadPro, iPadProCellular-iPadProCellular, iPadPro97-iPadPro97, iPadPro97Cellular-iPadPro97Cellular, iPad611-iPad611, iPad612-iPad612, iPad71-iPad71, iPad72-iPad72, iPad73-iPad73, iPad74-iPad74, iPad75-iPad75, iPad76-iPad76
Size: 255.92 MB

$FREE

Screenshots for iPad
(Click to enlarge)

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.

Alison, the American iMum is from Massachusetts. She lives there with her two sons and husband. In their spare time, they enjoy playing outside, enjoying nature and of course testing apps and fantastic products on their devices. My older son loves technology and loves testing out the “latest and newest” apps and tech. I love sharing information about apps and products with others to help them make decisions without feeling overwhelmed with all of the choices.



Dr. Panda Town by Dr. Panda Ltd. – Review



iPhone Screenshot 1

What we love…

open ended creative play that helps kids in a variety of community settings use imaginary play skills

What we’d love to see…

a rack for clothing, ability to kick and play with the soccer and basket ball

Summary

Dr. Panda Town is fun and just enough different from other apps on the market which make it enjoyable for my kids to play.   Each of the three areas are fun and have unique content like a water scene inside the park or a picnic or even shopping at the grocery store.

Our Rating

Dr. Panda TownDr. Panda Town by Dr. Panda Ltd is the first free app with in-app purchases or IAP offered by Dr. Panda games.  Dr. Panda was founded in 2012 and has a number of apps available for iOS and Android with great open free play options.  This app includes in-app purchases for a park and a supermarket as well as a home setting.  For purposes of this review, I will review both the park and supermarket settings contained within the app.  The app opens with Dr. Panda pulling up to the town in his yellow car.    If you try to open up the park or supermarket and have not purchased them a parental lock pops up before taking you into the iTunes store which requires you to enter your year of birth.  Of note, I got the app bundle on one device and had to “restore” my purchase on my second device to be able to access each of the three places.  We used language to describe each of the actions which made it great for practicing language.

Inside the house, there is a living room, kitchen with variety of foods as well as the ability to cook and mop the floors.   Upstairs in the home is a bathroom and a kids bedroom. My kids in particular liked the attic where they found treasures like a rocking horse and antique television.   The characters are down at the bottom by the Dr. Panda logo and you can add and move them around within the different portions of the app.  I also liked the recycling in each of the locations as well.  Inside the grocery store reminds me a lot of Dr. Panda Supermarket with items to place inside your basket as well as different items like soap, toothpaste and milk.  When we played, I actually gave my younger son a “picture list” of items for us to place inside the basket prior to checking out.

iPhone Screenshot 4

My toddler also  liked the soccer ball and wanted to “kick” it with the characters – something we couldn’t figure out how to do, we also tried to bring it to the park to play with as well as the basket ball but couldn’t make it work.  We also cooked on the grill outside.  My toddler loved the park – he enjoys going to the park and he loves Dr. Panda Ice Cream so he was delighted to see the ice cream stand in the park.  My son’s favorite part was dispensing each of the candies from the machines as well as eating the cookies.    Inside the park there is a variety of playground toys like a see-saw, slide and even clothing to change into as well as a picnic.    We enjoyed giving dog a ride in the boat – although he needs a life jacket!  Playing in the skate park was fun as well going back and forth.   My toddler loved the animations of the airplane and motorcycle as the characters rode them.

Up in the attic it would be fun if the television played promos for other Dr. Panda apps – right now there are a variety of random images with characters from the app but no real cohesive things shown.  My toddler also wanted to “talk” using the phone which currently just rings and lets you take it off the hook.  My older son asked if we could decorate the treats inside of the supermarket as he is getting older and likes to help me cook — perhaps a baking app might be in the future?  Other enhancements might be using money to put into the slot for the candy or to pay for the vending machine and cafe in the park.  I’d love to see some of the items we make in other Dr. Panda apps incorporated here to give kids a taste of some of the great fun they can have with other apps.  I would also like to see a clothing closet or rack for all of the different outfits to change into – perhaps this could be on the bottom with all of the characters?  My older son also wanted more “healthy” options for the picnic including fruits and veggies so we must be doing something right!

For me, once I tested the house, I knew I wanted more and got the combination of the supermarket and park for $2.99 IAP because my kids hate being locked out of anything.  That makes them all the more determined to use it!  In app purchases are protected with a parental gate which requires your year of birth and then you are pulled to iTunes.

Dr. Panda Town is fun and just enough different from other apps on the market which make it enjoyable for my kids to play.   Each of the three areas are fun and have unique content like a water scene inside the park or a picnic or even shopping at the grocery store.

You can download it free with in-app purchases on Google Play.

Dr. Panda Town
Dr. Panda Town
by Dr. Panda Ltd

Category: Education
Requirements: Compatible with iPad2Wifi-iPad2Wifi, iPad23G-iPad23G, iPhone4S-iPhone4S, iPadThirdGen-iPadThirdGen, iPadThirdGen4G-iPadThirdGen4G, iPhone5-iPhone5, iPodTouchFifthGen-iPodTouchFifthGen, iPadFourthGen-iPadFourthGen, iPadFourthGen4G-iPadFourthGen4G, iPadMini-iPadMini, iPadMini4G-iPadMini4G, iPhone5c-iPhone5c, iPhone5s-iPhone5s, iPadAir-iPadAir, iPadAirCellular-iPadAirCellular, iPadMiniRetina-iPadMiniRetina, iPadMiniRetinaCellular-iPadMiniRetinaCellular, iPhone6-iPhone6, iPhone6Plus-iPhone6Plus, iPadAir2-iPadAir2, iPadAir2Cellular-iPadAir2Cellular, iPadMini3-iPadMini3, iPadMini3Cellular-iPadMini3Cellular, iPodTouchSixthGen-iPodTouchSixthGen, iPhone6s-iPhone6s, iPhone6sPlus-iPhone6sPlus, iPadMini4-iPadMini4, iPadMini4Cellular-iPadMini4Cellular, iPadPro-iPadPro, iPadProCellular-iPadProCellular, iPadPro97-iPadPro97, iPadPro97Cellular-iPadPro97Cellular, iPhoneSE-iPhoneSE, iPhone7-iPhone7, iPhone7Plus-iPhone7Plus, iPad611-iPad611, iPad612-iPad612, iPad71-iPad71, iPad72-iPad72, iPad73-iPad73, iPad74-iPad74, iPhone8-iPhone8, iPhone8Plus-iPhone8Plus, iPhoneX-iPhoneX, iPad75-iPad75, iPad76-iPad76
Size: 184.19 MB

$FREE

Screenshots
(Click to enlarge)
Screenshots for iPad
(Click to enlarge)

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.

 

Alison, the American iMum is from Massachusetts. She lives there with her two sons and husband. In their spare time, they enjoy playing outside, enjoying nature and of course testing apps and fantastic products on their devices. My older son loves technology and loves testing out the “latest and newest” apps and tech. I love sharing information about apps and products with others to help them make decisions without feeling overwhelmed with all of the choices.

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