Monday, May 28, 2012

Mirta - The Super Fly

Mirta - The Super Fly was developed by Next Stage. It is an e-book about Mirta, the Fly's mission to travel the world, but first she must overcome an obstacle - the window. Ha. It's offered in both English and Spanish - audio AND text. Price - Free!

Device Requirements: Compatible with iPhone, iPod touch, and iPad.Requires iOS 3.0 or later

Developmental Appropriateness: The themes of the story are appropriate - determination, having a goal, and "flexible thinking." I'm putting that in quotes because that's what the author talks about in the book. Not to give it all away, but the story ends with a question, "What was Mirta lacking?" Answer: Flexible Thinking. So here is where I think the app is great and at the same time not great - is that possible? I think it's great that it's presenting this comprehension question. Hopefully, it makes kids think about the story and learn from it. What I didn't think was great was the the explanation was so technical and not kid-friendly - I don't even think it was parent-friendly! It's educator or expert language. Sure, the answer is presented under "Author's note" but it is read aloud as if part of the story, and without it, there is no ending to the book. So I think it kinda loses the kid  - and at the most crucial part! Rating: 3/5 (aim for around 6 years).

Balance: The interactivity is all about the sound effects. You can tap on the picture to hear the sound effects that are already heard in the narration. I actually wouldn't mind to see a little variation - or it could at least capitalize on some plot points like Mirta smacking into the window continuously. Seeing or making that into a different interactive element would highlight the story. The graphics/pictures are all presented in this kinda muted style. Finally, the focus is on listening to the story, so the text may be a bit small and there is no text highlighting. Rating: 3/5

Sustainability: The story has some subtle humor that I think kids will like. However, it kinda seems like it lacks an ending. Rating: 3/5

Parental Involvement: Again, I like the comprehension question - this book almost requires parents to elaborate on the ending with their child. Rating: 4/5

Total - 13 out of 20 - 3 stars

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