2015 has been a year of amazing apps There were so many great ones introduced to the market this year that coming up with a short list of some of the best was a challenging task. Here is a list of some of TWA’s favorite apps, TWA's Best Apps of 2015 for not only their educational value but also apps that are changing the landscape of how kids learn.
Early Childhood (Pre-K-2):
Moonbeeps: Gizmo by Moonbot Studios - Gizmo is a rocket ship control panel to be used by children as their imaginations soar alongside their rockets. Moonbot intends for this app compliment a child’s play rather than be the focus of play. Gizmo brings great fun and creativity! Full Review.
Colorforms by Colorforms, Inc. - Children use a variety of shapes that can be rotated, resized, and recolored. Shapes are then placed on the screen to create more complex pictures. Fun backgrounds and puzzles abound. A child’s imagination is the only limitation.
PBS Kids ScratchJr by PBS Kids - PBS Kids ScratchJr. introduces the concepts of coding to young children. This app makes learning to code engaging for the younger set. Over 100 characters and backgrounds from the much loved PBS Kids shows are included.
Crazy Gears by Seven Academy teaches kids how to think through open experimentation with gears, pulleys, and chains. Gameplay centers on pulling yourself to the next level while learning about mechanics and motion. There is a special mode for kids with CVI or low vision.
Zen Studio by Edoki is described as a unique geometric finger painting app, but in reality, it is so much more. Gentle harmonics are created as you paint, and no two paintings sound the same. This little app contributes to overall calming, self-regulation, and increased attention. Choose between a full creative “doodling” mode or a guided painting experience. Review Here
Cookie Monster’s Challenge by PBS Kids teaches beginning organizational skills to the very young. There are 10 mini games within 12 levels, for hours of brain-building activity. This app is laugh out loud funny and pairs fun with learning. Full Review
Sesame Street Alphabet Kitchen by Sesame Street Workshop and Tiggly combines manipulative fun with the iPad. Engaging the motor system with a cognitive task helps to facilitate retention of material, plus develops little hands for future demands. Joining Cookie Monster in any endeavor always means FUN! Full Review
The Foos Coding 5+ by Code Spark was originally created for the hour of code but has become a phenomenal teaching resource for coding that will last a lifetime. It is an incredible piece of programming that teaches kids skills for a lifetime and has been thoroughly researched, and aligned with common core standards. What really takes it over the top is the how motivating the app is to play and share solutions with others. Check out the new Foo Studio for making where kids gain program arcade style games. Full Review
Gummii Suite by Gummii - The Gummii Suite includes Add, Multiply and 3D. In Gummii Add and Multiply students practice basic concepts while earning points along the way. Children use earned points in Gummii 3D. Gummii 3D is reminiscent of the much adored Minecraft. This brilliant combination encourages children to practice mathematical skills and concepts. Full Review.
ThinkRolls 2 by Avokiddo - In ThinkRolls 2 problem-solving and critical thinking skills are highlighted as children must make their way through a variety of mazes while avoiding obstacles along the way. A variety of skills levels and ages are accommodated as the app includes both easy and difficult levels. Full Review
Zoombinis by Terc Inc. was brought to life in its original but enhanced form for iPad, Android, and Desktop play, and we are really glad they did! This app is the golden standard for teaching kids about problem-solving and sharpening their ability to analyze and use data to achieve a goal. Gameplay centers on rescuing the Zoombinis and taking them across ever more difficult terrains. Kids and adults become quickly invested in this journey and work hard to save their friends from peril. Full Review
Leonardo’s Cat By StoryToys - Help Leonardo’s cat, Scungilli, find the missing parts to Leonardo’s beloved Automatron by exploring Amboise (home to da Vinci's studio). Use problem-solving skills to test out the sequence and use of some of Leonardo’s inventions. StoryToys teamed up with Jonathan Firth (the Muppets, Fraggle Rock), Patrick Stewart, and a host of others to take this app over the top. Full Review
Action Graphing by the Universe and More - is an action-packed app that teaches all about motion graphic. By plotting data, kids learn the subtleties and practical application to why one would use a graph. The app uses a multisensory approach that not only reinforces learning and retention but keeps older kids coming back for more. Full Review
Everything Machine by Tinybop is an amazing ground breaking app that literally turns the iPad into a maker tool. Kids learn to program components of the iPad such as the camera, microphone and even the gyroscope to build machines. It is no wonder that Tinybop continues to pull in award after award with all their apps as they are consistently on the cutting edge of technology.
Mystery Word Town by Artgig is one humdinger of an app to help kids learn to spell sight words. Set in the Old West, explore the town and to capture the crooks and recover gold by spelling words correctly. This is one motivating app for building vocabulary and is scaffolded as kids gain mastery. Teachers can also add words to keep the game fresh and having kids coming back for more. Full Review
Attributes by Math Doodles created by Carstens Studio Inc. is a comprehensive exploration of patterns and math concepts that directly apply to practical life skills. There are 7 different activities with 10 graded or scaffolded levels. Kids can also change up the attributes of the play tokens between 20 different design sets - and this really helps to generalize the material. Be forewarned - once opened, it’s hard to stop playing! Full Review
iDo apps by SNapps/C.E.T. There are 5 apps in the iDo series including iDo: Hygiene, Getting Dressed, Food, Chores, and Community. SNapps is dedicated to the special needs population and deals with the broad spectrum of life skills in a dignified manner. Customization is easy and can be tailored to an individual’s needs. Full Review
Otus-Student and Otus-Teacher, by Synvata LLC, are two user-friendly, all-encompassing classroom tools for digital learning environments. Otus has the best classroom and behavior management features we have found to date, in this pair of apps. They offer everything – managing class/students, assignments, assessments, polls, feedback, split screen, web browser, attendance, browse the web, and more – all in one convenient package. Best Part, Otus integrates seamlessly w/Google Drive and has ample video tutorials on how to integrate Otus into your everyday routine. Full Review
Seesaw: the Learning Journal by Seesaw, Inc.- Create a digital portfolio that is intuitive enough for a first grader to use! Seesaw allows teachers/children to send videos and photographic evidence of partner/group work, science experiments, special visitors, projects, and so much more to families at home.