Article: Raising 21st century learners using STEAM in Boston & Giveaway

Article: Raising 21st century learners using STEAM in Boston & Giveaway

 

Helping our children be 21st century learners is no easy task as a parent. I know for me, so much has changed since I was in school. My older son has a #STEAM themed curriculum at school where they try to infuse as much as they can into everyday learning. This can be anything from using manipulative to school to using Ozobots or Lego’s to allow them to code and create without realizing they are learning!   I like this because I hope it will help my son to become more flexible and collaborative as he gets older since the key learning skills are currently being built at an early age.  I also like to try to carry over these skills at home!

Legos and robotics

Beyond the classroom

In some classrooms before the advent of #STEAM students would watch a video or passively hear a lesson taught. As time has evolved, instead of just hearing the lesson the students are learning multiple ways to tackle the problem and solve it. This can lead to some challenges for kids at times, who may become overwhelmed with all of the ways to solve the problem without truly understanding the core concept or skill. Children with special needs also may struggle with the new concepts of #STEAM learning because being presented so many different ways to solve a problem can at the very least be overwhelming. One of the great things about STEAM learning is that the classes provide hands on engagement to solve real world problems – instead of just having to do a math page or read a chapter from a history book. One of the other great benefits is that children work together collaboratively to solve a problem or challenge rather than struggling to complete it on their own. This encourages team work, collaboration and reasoning which are all great skills to apply later in life.

Snapology is a company that wants to help children with STEAM and problem solving skills using their creative thinking and imagination. As part of their program offerings, they offer camps, field trips, birthday parties for kids three and over, scout adventures and more. Topics range from game design, building, coding, animation and more. Perhaps my son will learn how to code an iOS app to help me in the future!

teamwork and collaboration

Building and creating

As a parent, I am always thinking of ways that I can help to enrich my children outside of school. We regularly try to help our kids get hands on learning beyond the textbook or classroom. That means, I’m working on helping him learn more about STEAM via the use of our iPad, doing some simple programming and helping him experiment to solve problems  We also pull out our Lego’s and create and build as well.  We have even experimented a little bit with Scratch programming which is a visual programming language designed to give kids their first experience with coding.  :Looking for more great tech enabled STEAM ideas?  Check out our STEAM and STEM gift guide which has some great suggestions!

This giveaway is a partnership with Nakturnal.  Thank you so much for supplying a Lego set for our readers!

Giveaway

Want a chance to win a  LEGO® brick set of the Snapology Mascot Sebastian Gator?  You can enter via a comment on this post.  The comment must say where you are from and why you want to win the prize.    Winners will be emailed and must contact The iMums within 48 hours to claim their prize. This giveaway is to those that live in the United States and have a valid United States mailing address.  A valid legal name and address are required to claim the prize. Please ensure you have read and understand our Terms & Conditions. Good luck!

 

 

 

Alison, the American iMum is from Massachusetts. She lives there with her sons and husband. In their spare time, they enjoy playing outside, enjoying nature and of course testing apps and fantastic products on their devices. They have a variety of devices including an iPad, iPhone, and an iPod and is often found with a device! 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.
Hudson The Puppy Bluebee Pal Pro by Bluebee Pals – Review

Hudson The Puppy Bluebee Pal Pro by Bluebee Pals – Review

What we love…

soft and cuddly Bluetooth enabled animal which reads you stories, sings and allows use of special needs apps like an AAC, we loved seeing his mouth “move” as he spoke and interacted with us

What we’d love to see…

better mechanism for younger kids not to be able to access back of the Bluebee Pal, my son saw me open the velcro once and it became a game for him to rip it open to access the blue box in the back

Summary

Super fun toy which helped my 2 year old engage with my iPad, listen to stories and music.

Our Rating

 

recommended-by-the-imums

Hudson the Puppy by Bluebee Pals is a plush toy which brings your iPad to life.  Hudson is a huggable plush learning tool with a moving mouth that talks, sings and reads to your child using content from your Bluetooth enabled device ranging from a iPhone or iPad, Android or bluetooth enabled laptop.  The puppy includes lip synchronization which allows the puppy’s mouth to move in time to the words or music, read a story or work with a learning app like an Alternative Augmentative Communication device (AAC).  Hudson the Puppy has velcro on his back, which you open to access a box used to turn him on/off, charge and a light which indicates if it is charging..  There is an on/off switch in the back as well as a mini-USB charging port for when the device needs a charge.  You can press on the right “ear” to access the phone and answer it or disconnect from a call. To connect Hudson, you go into settings, Bluetooth and from there you can connect under “other devices” to Bluebee Pals. You can also sit your device on Hudson’s lap or simply have the device nearby and hold Hudson.

 

Hudson is a soft and cuddly toy which my two year old loved.  I can’t tell you how many times he has asked me to read his favorite story books, and now Hudson can help read them to him, by speaking the words and allowing him to look at the images on our iPad.  It was also great with other apps we were playing with because my son is too young to read, Hudson would read aloud the text on the screen when we were playing with a Trucks storybook which let him “read” independently.  My son enjoys listening to music and I loved that I could connect Hudson to act as a speaker for music without actually having to give him my device, this meant I could stream Pandora easily without worrying about him swiping and using my iPad.  I also liked that I could pair Hudson to both my iPhone and iPad, so that it didn’t matter which device I was using with my son.  You can also use your Bluebee Pro to answer phone calls – the calls were clear and my two year old enjoyed hearing his puppy “speak” using another’s voice.  On the other end, at times the caller heard a slight echo or a muffling, I’m not 100% sure why as it was clear on our end with my iPhone 6.  I loved the “voice” that Hudson gave to my son when we used it.  The battery life was quite good and I’ve only had to recharge it once despite many uses.  The music option is great too or you can use it in “read to me mode” which means that the stories will be read to your child without them having to use your device and having it act more like an audiobook. I wiped down Hudson Puppy a few times when my son sneezed on him and it cleaned up very nicely which is very important for a toy.

In terms of improvements, my son saw me open the velcro in the back and then it became a “game” for him to open it.  I almost wish there was a zipper or something instead that wasn’t as easy for kids to open.

Overall, we loved using Hudson and my son kept asking for the story over and over again.  I loved how easy it was to set up and use, and when I tested it with some friends who had kids with special needs and an AAC app, they loved how it gave their son a voice.

BlueBee Pals are available online from the BlueBee Pals website and from Toys R Us, Walmart and other retailers RRP $64.99

NOTE: A product was supplied by the company for review purposes, no other form of compensation was received, all opinions stated in the review are those of the author and have been offered honestly.The links in this post may contain affiliate links where The iMums will receive a small commission if you make a purchase after clicking on our link, this helps to support the costs of running this site and we appreciate your support.

Alison, the American iMum is from Massachusetts. She lives there with her sons and husband. In their spare time, they enjoy playing outside, enjoying nature and of course testing apps and fantastic products on their devices. They have a variety of devices including an iPad, iPhone, and an iPod and is often found with a device! 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.
 Recipe Manager with Serving Sizer by Creative Algorithms – Review & Giveaway

Recipe Manager with Serving Sizer by Creative Algorithms – Review & Giveaway



serving-sizer

What we love…

recently updated with a bunch of great new ways to add recipes, perfect for the holidays where you can size up and down depending on the number of people, organize and find feature and ability to email yourself recipes

What we’d love to see…

Remove this text and add your own here.

Summary

This app is ideal for anyone who has a large collection of cookbooks, with favorites in each since you can find the recipe you are looking for in one easy location. It also works well during the holidays when recipes need to be doubled or tripled and during parties where you can size up a standard recipe to feed a crowd of people.

Our Rating

Serving Sizer Recipe Cards for the iPad by Creative Algorithms, LLC takes the guesswork out of changing your recipes depending on the number of people you are feeding. A little bit of background of the developers, they are a husband and wife team. Cory, does all the programming and Justine, does designs and graphics. To learn more about the design of this app, Justine’s blog post provides great background. This app allows you to copy your recipes into a database where they are all easy to find and re-size as necessary. Once you have entered the recipe, you can change the serving size and the entire recipe is converted to the number of people you need to serve.

I used this app on Thanksgiving and found it was very useful in sizing recipes down for my family, plus taking photos of the various creations was wonderful so I can pull up a recipe card and see what it is that I made via a photo. I also liked the ability to snag recipes from various websites and copy them into the recipe cards giving me the ability to try them before entering each of the ingredients onto the card. I also liked the ability to email the various recipes to friends and family.

The app has just been updated to include a bunch of new easy ways to add recipes either from Safari, or paste them from the clipboard. I also love that you can now dictate in your favorite recipes as well. I inherited a bunch of recipes recently and have been slowly adding them into the app from the handwritten recipe cards as well as taking a photo of them for nostalgia. I also love that it automatically backs up to iCloud as well as to my iPad.

This app is ideal for anyone who has a large collection of cookbooks, with favorites in each since you can find the recipe you are looking for in one easy location. It also works well during the holidays when recipes need to be doubled or tripled and during parties where you can size up a standard recipe to feed a crowd of people. Creative Algorithms, LLC is part of the Moms with Apps collaborative focusing on family friendly apps. The app now includes an in app purchase capability where you can purchase specially designed cards including fall and holiday themed.

iPad version
Recipe Manager with Serving Sizer for iPad – your recipes, organized – Creative Algorithms

Recipe Manager with Serving Sizer Recipe Manager with Serving Sizer by Creative Algorithms

Price: $4.99 USD

Manage. Organize. Scale. Personalize. Keep all your personal recipes on your iPad, iPad mini, iPad Pro.
Scale recipes by serving size to number of dinner guests–something your ordinary cookbook .

iPhone version
Serving Sizer Recipe Manager – Creative Algorithms

Serving Sizer Recipe Manager Serving Sizer Recipe Manager by Creative Algorithms

Price: $2.99 USD

Customize recipes for families, couples, large or small groups. This app does what a regular cookbook can't--instantly scales all ingredients based on number of guests coming to dinner!
● Also converts.

NOTE: The links in this post may contain affiliate links where The iMums will receive a small commission if you make a purchase after clicking on our link, this helps to support the costs of running this site and we appreciate your support.

Giveaway

If you would like to win a promo code for this app, please enter via the widget below. Winners will be emailed and must contact The iMums within 48 hours to claim their prize. This giveaway is open to everyone, worldwide, and an iTunes account is required to claim the prize. Please ensure you have read and understand our Terms & Conditions. Good luck!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Alison, the American iMum is from Massachusetts. She lives there with her sons and husband. In their spare time, they enjoy playing outside, enjoying nature and of course testing apps and fantastic products on their devices. They have a variety of devices including an iPad, iPhone, and an iPod and is often found with a device! 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.
 Smashing Grammar by Fairlady Media – Review & Giveaway

Smashing Grammar by Fairlady Media – Review & Giveaway



iPad Screenshot 2

What we love…

six fun mini games which target grammar and spelling skills in a fun themed app which encourages play, self regulation, speed and fun!

What we’d love to see…

ability to slow down game play, multi-player option,  ability to have more time to “read” the sentence before play starts.

Summary

Fun grammar themed app which is great for practicing academic skills which carry over to reading, writing and school work.  The app is fun and encouraged my son to practice even during summer vacation!

Our Rating

Smashing GrammarSmashing Grammar by Fairlady Media is a universal app for iOS which targets spelling and grammar sounds.  This app targets slightly older kids ages 9-12 compared to other apps in the Fairlady Media series.  The app has a variety of six mini games which target specific skills to practice.  Each game has words that pop up and you touch the right word to correctly answer the problem.  If you miss, you get a deduction, if you succeed you get points and once you get multiple correct in a row you can get a bonus.  There are other objects which pop up including a heart, a leaf and a bomb.  Each of these has their own actions — sometimes good and other times not!  The app helps promote self-regulation as kids have to scan and hit the correct answer before they disappear or points will be deducted.

iPad Screenshot 4

 

The games are:

  • Noun Disco – which has you smashing nouns to complete the sentence in a timed series of questions.  Don’t hit the bomb or you miss points!
  • Verb Garden– this watermelon garden themed mini game has you smashing verbs to complete the sentences similar to the noun game
  • Syllable Spaghetti – guess how many syllables are in a specific word type
  • Spelling Slumber Party – hit the pillows to smash the correctly spelled word
  • Tense in paradise – practice cur rent, future and past tenses all while hitting coconuts
  • Plural Piggies – find the plural or singular word and smash it

I liked the variety of mini games and that I could target specific types of skills with my sounds without having them all mixed together.  I also liked that you could turn on and off the music in case your child found it distracting as mine did.  Each mini game also has a “help” which defines the type of item you are targeting such as syllables with examples.  The games were well thought out and included appropriate grammar for the targeted age bracket.  My son liked the games because it made practicing school “fun” even though it was summer vacation and I liked that he was working on academic skills even in the summer.  I would like to see a multi-player mode because I enjoyed the app and got to the harder levels which meant my son couldn’t play because it was simply too hard for him.  The app has narration which is well done and very clear in articulation with the spoken portions.  As each level gets harder, more word choices are presented and it goes from a one handed tapping app to two hands if you want  to select multiple answers within the game.

In terms of enhancements, I would like to see a way to slow down the words – my eight year old struggled a bit to move to the next level a few times because he needed more time to complete the activity.  As he progressed, some of the higher levels got too hard for him and even got a bit harder for me.  Another thought, it would be nice if the sentence at the top appeared for a few more seconds so a child could start to think about it before they blindly start trying to find the right words.

Overall, this is a great app which encourages a variety of academic skills related to grammar.  Teaching grammar is one of the hardest academic skills because sometimes, kids simply have a hard time with spelling or visualizing a word.  This app makes it fun and entertaining with the end goal of moving on to a new level.  I enjoyed the app a lot as did my son – and played it enough that we reached level 11 in most of the mini games!  There are no in-app purchases or advertising contained within the app.

 

Smashing Grammar
Smashing Grammar
by Fairlady Media

Category: Education, Educational, Games, Family
Requirements: Compatible with iPhone4-iPhone4, 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
Size: 165.04 MB

$2.99USD

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.

Giveaway

If you would like to win a $25 iTunes gift card, please enter via the widget below. Winners will be emailed and must contact The iMums within 48 hours to claim their prize. This giveaway is open to everyone, worldwide, and an iTunes account is required to claim the prize. Please ensure you have read and understand our Terms & Conditions. Good luck!

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Alison, the American iMum is from Massachusetts. She lives there with her sons and husband. In their spare time, they enjoy playing outside, enjoying nature and of course testing apps and fantastic products on their devices. They have a variety of devices including an iPad, iPhone, and an iPod and is often found with a device! 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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