Binary Labs is well known for quality educational apps, and Dexteria Dots 2 not only readily joins the ranks with exceptional content for kids, it is also a blast! Developed for teaching 6 – 8 year olds basic math concepts such as number sense, beginning addition and subtraction, and comparative concepts, the app also enhances visual motor skills – such as visual tracking and targeting, visual memory, and motor planning. The app comes with two games “Making Equal Dots” and “Comparing Dots”. Both have graded levels of difficulty from beginner to expert levels, and decrease prompts as a child begins to master play. So let’s have some fun and play a game or two.
First up is “Making Equal Dots”. Gameplay centers around your ability to make two dots that are equal in color, size, and value from all the dots presented. In the beginning level you are presented with multicolor dots that carry markings for counting using a one to one correspondence, the numerical value, and grading in size relative to each number. There are four ways to interact with the dots: Swipe to join dots (adding), drag on a dot to decrease its value by one (subtracting), slice them to divide them in two (dividing), or tap to blow the dot up into its corresponding number of parts (counting). Learning then becomes an organic process of experimenting with the qualities of the dots to achieve the goal. All these facets help make learning effortless and increase retaining information by using visual, auditory and motor cues on a subcortical level. There is no right or wrong way to approach and carry out the objective. After successfully making two equal dots, you are rewarded – with a delightful animation and soundtrack which further reinforces play. On subsequent levels, prompts are faded, until there is nothing but the relative size and shape of the dots.
“Compare Dots” takes what you’ve learned in “Making Equal Dots” and applying it in a new way by comparing and contrasting dots to find which is greater or bigger. Once you’ve determined that, beginning work on equations is introduced through the answer selections on the bottom of the screen. Is the one on the left or right bigger….or are they equal? There are also a few more steps involved, making you use your working memory to hold and retain information so that it can be applied. Prompts are presented using the now familiar visual and tactile cues. By changing things just a little helps kids adapt to the new demands of the task. It presents the feeling of “I know this…I can do it” this gently encourages kids to try and tackle the quest. I love the fact that the app encourages kids to cross midline, both visually and to target the dots physically. By looking then dragging the dots it sets up pathways for carrying out smooth coordinated efforts of the hand and eyes together which then translates to better handling manipulatives and fine motor control.
The pictures do not convey enough of what a fun and addicting game this is, and not only for kids. The animation of the little masked guy is one of my favorites! Using this app is a fun way to help kids alert or warm up themselves prior to teaching or as a reward game which reinforces classroom material. This app is sure to be a mainstay in my therapy toolbox.
About the Author
Jo Booth has been an Occupational Therapist for over 30 years, and currently works in Pediatrics with early intervention. She sees kids newly diagnosed on the spectrum as well as medically fragile kids. She loves to move, explore and play everyday; so that “her kids” grow up to be healthy independent learners.