Thursday, March 15, 2012

Bubbling Math

Bubbling Math was created by TappyTaps s.r.o and is a basic arithmetic drill kinda game. There are plenty of these math drill apps out there now, but what separates this one is its review report for parents and even teachers. Price: $1.99

Device Requirements: Compatible with iPad.Requires iOS 4.1 or later. (also works on a regular old mac computer)

Developmental Appropriateness: When you first start the game, the first prompt is to set the level. You can choose what operations to work with, and also what difficulty. What's nice is that for each difficulty setting, it gives you an explanation and examples of the problem types that would appear, so you know exactly what you're getting. The game itself is pretty straightforward. You're presented with a problem and you have to choose the right answer out of three options. A little wizard kid (in the picture above) provides positive sounds when correct, and he tears when wrong. I must say that some of his positive feedback noises sound more like a bird squawking than "wow!", which is what I think he's saying sometimes. I do wish this little wizard kid provided more support, especially when you get a wrong answer. Doing these types of basic math problems is not just about drill and memorization, but about building math strategies as well. Here, you simply get three chances to be wrong before the round is over. If you complete 3 rounds, you get a trophy for each round and you unlock the next "level" - which is just more of the same, but with a different background. Rating: 4/5 (aim for around 7 years, there is of course a larger age range here because of the settings)

Balance: Again, it's all pretty straightforward. I actually thought there would be more going on with the different backgrounds, but they are just backgrounds. Not sure how excited kids are in unlocking the the "Countryside Spring Time" versus "Countryside Frog's Lake" - the backgrounds don't actually look so different. Maybe if there was animation in the beginning of unlocking it, it would make it more exciting and seem more like a reward. Rating: 4/5

Sustainability: I feel like this app was designed more from a teacher or parent's perspective than a child's. Yes, there are incentives like the trophies and unlocking the backgrounds, but they are kinda subtle and well, boring. I could totally see a teacher using this in class to make her students practice drills, but in terms of a child wanting to play this on their own free time, I'm not so sure. Rating: 3/5

Parental Involvement: This is where the app separates itself from other drill apps. It provides a report for parents or teachers - one that is a bit more detailed than others that I have seen. It provides a log of what's been done, and also a list of the incorrect answers and overall percent correct. With the extra information, parents and teachers can then determine what operations and difficulty level to set next and what to practice or explain more about. This is great. I can see teachers easily knowing what to do next, but what I wonder is whether parents will know as easily or have the time to carefully review. It'd be great if the app could suggest next settings or just next steps in general. Overall, I think this type of reporting is a step in the right direction, and so might parents, but do they actually use it?  Rating: 4/5

Total: 15 out of 20 - 4 stars

Disclosure - I received this app for free for review purposes.

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