Tuesday, June 4, 2013

DragonBox Algebra 12+

DragonBox Algebra 12+ by WeWantToKnow AS is one of the few great apps targeting middle school ages. There's tons of great apps for the young ones in preschool and early elementary and for adults, but not so much for the ages in between, especially those in middle school. So I wanted to highlight a great app for this age. Price: $9.99 (yes, a little pricey!).

Device Requirements: Compatible with iPhone 3GS, iPhone 4, iPhone 4S, iPhone 5, iPod touch (3rd generation), iPod touch (4th generation), iPod touch (5th generation) and iPad. Requires iOS 4.0 or later. This app is optimized for iPhone 5.

Developmental Appropriateness: A couple of the reasons we don't see as many apps targeting this age groups are probably that the concepts are harder to convey within just an app and material for this age group can't be too young and cutesy nor too old and strictly adult. This is really where DragonBox Algebra 12+ shines - it takes a harder concept - algebra - and does a decent job of incorporating a puzzle element to the learning so it feels more like fun than work. Rating: 5/5 (aim for around 13 years)

Balance: So there is another app DragonBox Algebra+ that aims a little younger. I would not say these are two separate apps, but really that this newer app is the 2.0 version of the first one, with more advanced levels. In that sense, I think the developers have done a great job updating their original app. This one looks much more polished, the levels advance a bit faster (I found the old one a bit slow, but then again, I'm not just learning algebra), and I think added some subtle game elements (looks like they may have updated the old app with some of these features as well, but I haven't checked out the latest version). I think the update helped make it seem for fun and game-like without taking away from the goal of solving the puzzles. They could probably even go further with a plot/mission of the game. Rating: 5/5

Sustainability: Just to be clear, although this is a unique way to learn algebra - it's still an algebra app and has an audience of people who like puzzles and math and could even be used to inspire students who may like puzzles and math, but just don't know it yet - but it's not for everyone. I think DragonBox is steps ahead and better than your basic drill or flashcard math app, and I'd love to see it go farther and blend the line between game and learning even more. Rating: 4.5/5

Parental Involvement: The focus here is really on the puzzles and the player. Not much is offered for how parents can help extend the learning. Rating: 3/5

Total: 17.5 out of 20 = 5 stars

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