There are plenty of free iPad apps for entertaining toddlers, but few have much real educational value. This isn’t a problem for Learn with Homer, an app created by top literacy experts that overflows with well-crafted early learning content. Aimed at ages three to six, Learn with Homer makes reading fun and instructive. Upon launch, up to three different little ones can customize the app with a photo from the front-facing camera, which is then decorated with one of several virtual “thinking caps.” It’s a fun way to set the stage for what lies ahead.
Gaming and television seem to be where the smart money hangs out these days, plus it just happens to be the focus of more than a couple of the hottest stories this week. As Apple TV owners, we just wish Cupertino could move a little faster on some much needed app integration. Meanwhile, what else is going on?
Over the last couple of weeks, we've had ample opportunities to discuss Apple's long-running relationship with the educational sphere, ranging from discounts on MacBook Pros to gift cards for students who purchase iPhones. As reported by Spiegel (via AppleInsider), however, the Dutch have taken that relationship to an entirely new level. Beginning in August, 11 "Steve Jobs schools" will open throughout the Netherlands, presenting an educational experience that's based entirely on the iPad. And here we thought supplying iPads to kids in 47 Los Angeles schools was a big deal.
With the incredible popularity of Minecraft, it’s not surprising to see other games expand upon its winning creation formula. Toca Builders is one such offering, but it uses the template for additional aims. This kid-oriented app from Toca Boca adds some interesting twists to the core concept of “building with blocks” and gives kids the chance to be creative while also employing problem-solving skills.
Very few educational math apps have recognizable characters, but the newest such iOS edutainment game from JumpStart features animals from the Madagascar series of animated films. Madagascar Math Ops balances education with fun by rewarding good math skills with an Angry Birds-like physics game, in which you hurl the penguins – who are wearing jetpacks – at obstacles in order to free the other animal characters.
Our kids may have been able to unlock our iPhones since before they could walk, but that doesn't mean they're actually gaining anything by using them. There are countless cartoon and character apps to keep them occupied, but sometimes we want them to learn and create while they're having fun. Montessorium's "Intro" apps have always struck a keen balance between education and entertainment, but its latest entry, Intro to Colors, might be the best to date. With a vivid, interactive interface inspired by the Montessori color tablets, Intro to Colors just might turn your child into the next Picasso.
Understanding classic poetry is hard enough, but memorizing it can be downright cruel. With archaic language, tricky rhymes, and unexpected rhythm variations, trying to remember the exact way William Shakespeare felt about the woman he loved can pretty much suck the beauty right out of it. Penguin Classics' Poems by Heart makes it easy (well, easier) to commit the classics to memory by turning the whole tedious process into a game, with level-ups and progress achievements that unlock as you learn.
We didn't even realize it when we were picking this week's stories, but we really are in a post-PC world. Every last article is about the mobile world. For better or worse, Steve Jobs has charted our future's course (or at least he was really adept at predicting it and getting Apple on that crest). So check it out, newshounds, it's an iOS-errific world.