Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Alphabet Jumbled

Alphabet Jumbled was created by Pixel Interactive and focuses on some early alphabet learning. It's got 5 different activities - two are fairly standard introducing the alphabet and some flashcards. The other three are all about the sequencing of the alphabet with a "jumble" concept - sounds like something new? Price: $1.99

Device Requirements: Compatible with iPhone 3GS, iPhone 4, iPhone 4S, iPod touch (3rd generation), iPod touch (4th generation) and iPad.Requires iOS 4.0 or later.

Developmental Appropriateness: So the first two, more standard, activities are nice - they are just that - pretty standard. The first just labels the letters and letter-sounds. The second shows flashcards of the letter linked with an object. The last three are all about sequencing and putting all the letters in order. Some with just a chunk of letters, some with all the letters, some timed, some not timed. So "jumble" not in the word game jumble sense, just in a mixed around kinda sense. They are kinda fun and maybe a breath of fresh air from more standard early alphabet games. My question is, just how important is the sequence of the alphabet? Yes, it's important. The alphabet song is one of the most well-known children's songs (in the US at least). Virtually all American kids learn it, and it sticks. It's a simple and fun way to teach the sequencing of the alphabet, which helps build literacy skills. But knowing the sequence of letters is not the same or maybe not as important as knowing the sequence of numbers. That has more meaning - 1 is less than 2 is less than 3. But A has no different value than B than C. So why focus most of an app on the sequence of letters? Especially when the alphabet song is already a pretty effective and popular method. The goal of learning the alphabet is to learn to read - which is learning the combination of letters that form words, not the sequence of the alphabet. Rating: 3/5 (aim for around 3 years)

Balance: In most cases, the letters are filled in with a background like polka dots. While this makes the letters look cute, it may actually be distracting kids from recognizing the letters. Remember, young kids have a hard time seeing two things at once. So they may just focus on the colorful patterns instead of the letter. And with the flashcards, the letter appears with the colorful background in the corner, but then in plain print within the word - I'd highlight the letter correspondence here more as they can look pretty different - at least to little kids. Rating: 3/5

Sustainability - It's a cute looking app, and kids might enjoy the game element of the jumble activities. It  doesn't save your times though. Rating: 4/5

Parent Involvement: There's not much to do for parents here... Rating: 3/5 

Total: 13 out of 20 - 3 stars

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

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