Wednesday 2 October 2013

Review: Appen

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My son loves using my tablet so I am keen to get him using educational apps and devices on it and not just play games! We were offered a chance to review the Appen which is an electronic pen for use with iPads and other tablet devices. The pen costs around £17 from most major toy retailers and the software can be downloaded from iTunes, Google Play or Amazon for free. 

The pen operates using sounds via the headphone socket. If like me you fail to notice that the children have switched the mute button on then the pen won't be fully functional! It has simple pictorial instructions to get you up and running. Then you can choose which age range you want to use:

Obviously we were trying out the 5plus as my son is in year 2 at school. There are a different sections to choose from: drawing, letters and numbers or games. The drawing app actually changes the width of the lines depending on the pressure applied:

It is easy to switch between the different drawing implements and there is an all important undo button! An app for children wouldn't be the same without stickers and there are plenty on this one:

Only thing is they go on top of the drawings and you can't draw on them.

The next section was letters and numbers. There were a couple of different levels for each. The first letter game erased any mistakes and was very simple:

The circles show the child where to start writing from and where to go next. The second stage doesn't do so much correction on wobbly lines:

My son is a big numbers fan so having a couple of simple maths games is a good thing though I think he may already be well past the levels on this app. Firstly a simple counting game where the child clicks on the correct number and is awarded with a sweetie when right:

If a wrong answer is chosen then this little character pops up:

A full house of correct answers is rewarded with a celebration:

The second level is a game where the child has to click on the picture that matches the number:

Finally there is a games section though not all the games are as yet available. A shame as the racing game would appeal to my son! Meanwhile there is a scratch off game where you have to guess what is hiding:

I think this is a useful tool for helping children practice their writing and maths skills. There are also enough games to keep them amused whilst learning at the same time. Fine motor skills need plenty of practice and this has its place alongside pencil and paper.

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