I do believe that we would all agree that learning to think is our end goal. Amazingly, it seems that TWA had quite a year reviewing some of the BEST Thinking Apps 2016!
Beginning with the opening screen and spying that Mondrian inspired logo, you just know you’re going to be in for some fun with Literary Safari’s HangArt. It has some of the features that we love from classic games like Scrabble, Pictionary, and Mad Libs and combines them in one app cohesively. There are a lot of learning objectives packed into this little game; Whoops – I mean educational app. Kids K-3 will not even realize the extent of what they are taking in because the app is centered on play. There are 3 modes to choose from, Classic Hangman, Word Gallery (intro to grammar), and Story Studio; and each one is addictive. Read TWA Full Review HERE
Skoolbo, by Skoolbo Limited, offers personalized game-based skill practice for numeracy, literacy and English language learning allowing both teachers and parents to monitor and track a child’s progress. It’s also FREE!!! It is compatible with a variety of platforms including PC, Mac, and iPad (iOS) and Android devices a web version is available for older machines and Chromebooks. This app focuses on fostering independent thinking, creativity, and problem-solving skills, as well as encouraging the practice of learning from your mistakes. Read TWA Full Review HERE
Nearpod has worked to change the dynamics of app use in the classroom, rather than the VR being the sole component of this educational tool, it is used to enhance engaging, interactive lessons. Combining VR with web browsing, surveys, short answers, long answers, collaborative work, educational videos, digital drawing, and discussions is an enormously powerful tool that allows students to dig deep into concepts, root around and pull out the knowledge they might have missed without this extraordinary experience. Don’t miss out on this outstanding jewel! Read TWA Full Review HERE
Crayola continues to introduce new ideas and products to each succeeding generation of makers by recreating their product to fit the needs of each generation. They supply the tools of tomorrow by teaching kids how to spin tales and illustrate new adventures in a totally modern way. By keeping up with not only how kids learn, they also explore what interests them to keep motivation high. Crayola’s Easy Animation Studio made by Daqri is a blending of traditional methods and something new on the digital front that facilitates creativity and independent thinking in an easy to use format. Read TWA Full Review HERE
Bloxels: Build Your Own Video Games by PixelPress Technology is a game and app for the whole family or any classroom. It is reminiscent of the old Atari or the early Mario Brothers games – except it puts the kids in the driver's seat for building game content and complexity. To begin, one starts with a story and the imagining of a hero, and then the storyline slowly begins to evolve. Simple child’s play, you ask? Nope. It takes creative thinking, problem-solving and the ability to visualize a cohesive whole from component parts. I love that there is physical play combined with cognitive challenges. As when designing, kids see and FEEL what works and what doesn’t. Read TWA Full Review HERE
What can be more fun than Thinkrolls or Thinkrolls 2? Why a brand new update of Thinkrolls 2! Avokiddo has added a new chapter with 35 new levels. In the bonus chapter, kids learn to integrate all known variables that prevent the little buggers from catching up to each other. There is an easy level for 3-5 year-olds, and a harder level for kids 5-9. Please don’t let the age suggestions fool you, once an adult gets a round or two in, it’s hard to stop playing! It not only brings joy to all those that play, but play is designed at the “just right challenge” for the targeted age groups. For teachers and clinicians, it is an excellent source for gaining insight into how a child thinks, and what are the skills a child may need to be successful. Read TWA Full Review HERE
Lipa Knight by Lipa Learning is an exemplary educational game with addicting qualities that appeals to kids of all ages and provides boundless experiences in problem-solving, spatial relations, eye–hand coordination and most importantly essential critical thinking skills! Critical Thinking is logical reflective thinking that helps us focus on deciding what to believe or do. Critical thinking is best understood as the ability of thinkers to take charge and ownership of their own thinking.This app is spot on with just the right challenge levels and it promotes perseverance! Read TWA Full Review HERE
Fun on the Farm by Kindermatica (ages 5 and under) is jam packed with games that will get kids together in a flash. The graphics make this app kid friendly, but most of all fun for small groups and families! Classrooms and clinics can use it to team up peers to facilitate interaction and social skills, or families can use Fun on the Farm for sibling play or game night. The app is a winner in our books, and includes 5 games.This app can be used to help build cohesion amongst kids and challenges for using strategy, sequencing moves, and building both attention and memory. It's a TWA Top Pick for its endless possibilities in shaping and achieving social behaviors. Read TWA Full Review HERE
Wizard School (formerly WonderBox) - by Duck Duck Moose who has now partnered with Kahn Academy, is specifically designed for elementary classrooms. This app is a simplified, colorful, super-engaging version of Google Classroom. Students can electronically turn-in digital work to their teachers. Teachers and students can then communicate through the digital environment with each other. What sets Wonderbox EDU apart from Google Classroom is that assignments can include audio recordings, stickers, drawing tools, text, a variety of animations, or a combination of all of the above making differentiation of assignments simple. Imagine creating one assignment for ALL students, which allows for a multitude of options for the final product. Read TWA Full Review HERE
Mussila - Musical Monster Adventure by Mussila is a wonderful app that brilliantly teaches children the basics of music, it is hard not to fall in love with the delightful characters and enchanting music. This app follows a comprehensive music curriculum and the player progresses through 60 skill levels. Kids need to select the correct instrument to go with the music played, it starts out with just two instruments and builds to choosing from a much larger selection. Later children need to decipher diverse instrumental sounds, enchanting rhythms and melodies, as well as reading and playing music all with the help of the captivating and unconventional characters. TWA Full Review HERE
Highlights Everyday is an app that is packed full of fun. Based on the classic Highlights Magazine, this subscription-based app, delivers DAILY new content. Filled with stories, news, games, puzzles, and original videos - Did we mention the classic hidden pictures…the jokes, or the “Ask Highlight Kids” section? The app’s renditions of the tried and true favorites are outstanding. For over 70 years, Highlights have entertained, educated, and delighted children everywhere, and the app does not disappoint. Here’s more Fun with a Purpose™ from the publisher your family has trusted for generations to help kids become their best selves. Read more about this essential tool here.
The gentle and simply beautifully illustrated app, Forest Explorer by Piiig Labs for the younger ones, is an outstanding introduction to the natural world. Chipper the chipmunk is your guide as you explore the inner workings of the forest. In the app, kids explore the natural habitat of animals from the forest over a period of 24 hours, which include night and daytime features. After finding an animal, kids are rewarded with a puzzle. There are 12 animals to learn about in all. There is a soothing soundtrack with very little extraneous noise. This app has a calming aspect to it due to its pace and predictability.
Puzzlets by Digital Dream Labs LLC teaches early learners (K-2) the fun and joy of problem-solving through coding with the "Cork the Volcano" game. Why is learning to code for younger ones so important? - because it provides a ground or sequence of where to start when given a goal or task. The algorithms used in coding are simply telling the story of what to do, and in our increasingly complex world, kids need to know the how and why of how things happen in order to successfully solve day-to-day problems independently. Those early experiences of trial and error – and yes, failure are the building blocks for future success as it allows kids to explore and discover varied possibilities for action as well as to persevere. TWA Full Review HERE
Sembl is the new offering from the creative folks at Artgig Studio for kids that are a little bit older and adults. Players are presented with multi-colored designs that differ in shape, orientation of design, and coloring; and the task is to replicate it from the model. It sounds easy, but you’ll need to be fully aware and cognizant of how each feature is layered to be successful. It facilitates spatial awareness by challenging the visual motor system as well as critical thinking and problem solving. Both are necessary and work in tandem to learn the sequence of how things work. Through gameplay older children and adults learn to better navigate their environment, complete fine motor tasks, but most of all learn to wait to gather information before acting. TWA Full Review HERE