“If a child can't learn the way we teach, maybe we should teach the way they learn.”
-- Ignacio Estrada

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Jungle Coins and Jungle Time ~Review~

A couple of weeks ago, I was asked to take a look at 2 apps: Jungle Coins and Jungle Time. It couldn't have been more timely as I was starting both of these skills with of few of the students in my class. I was eager to try them out. Before trying them with my students, I decided to use them with a few students from the kindergarten class first. These apps fit perfectly into the kindergarten curriculum as well as with some of my intervention students. These 2 apps are part of only a handful of apps that i have on my iPad that I can truly say are able to be differentiated across skill levels as well as grade levels.

Initially, I was a little overwhelmed by the "jungle theme" -  the sounds, lion graphic, and set up that accompanied this app. My first goal was to find the options section, hoping that there was a sound on/off option. Thankfully, in settings, there were several options for sound (thank you!). Now that I could back to focusing on the app itself, I was happy to notice the options and the ability to customize the app for individual needs. The app has the option to change the currency from US dollars to over 10 different currencies. It contains various levels: Level 1 is for pennies/nickels only through Level 5 is for all coins, including half dollars and dollar coins. Within each level, you have the ability to FIND (sorting coins), COUNT (app gives you coins, you count amount and set dial to correct amount), COMPARE (gives 2 groups of coins, you determine <,=,>), CORRECT CHANGE (app gives you item cost and how much you paid, you slide coins to side to tell change), and LEARN (step by step tutorial of coins). All students I tried this with enjoyed it. They were not bothered by the roar of the lion, nor did any of the excessively flip the coins as I had thought. Lastly, I think the price for this app is fair considering the activities and the ability to customize.

Additional IEP applications:
Obviously, this app can be used in conjunction with money identification and counting skills; however, it can also be used just for simple sorting. By using just penny and nickel, you can work on sorting "brown" and "silver". The FIND section could also be used for working on "touch and drag" practice.

There are a few things that I saw as issues and would like to see changes to make this app even better.
  1. Due to some of the fine motor issues of my students, the "tool bar" at the bottom of the page was accidentally activated many times during the sessions we used it. The student would inadvertently activate it with the heal of hand due to trying to stabilize hand before touching screen. It would be helpful to have tool bar at top
  2. A couple of students found setting the dial to tell amount very difficult. I think having an option of calculator like input or dial would help with access for all students.
  3. The reinforcement "roar" if student gets an answer correct didn't seem very motivating and students often were unsure if the answer was correct. A way to better acknowledge correctly responses.
  4. The buttons "DONE" and SHAKE" also took some time getting used to using. For students with special needs, something more concrete like "GO", "FINISHED" might be more appropriate. I can picture a student reading "SHAKE" and shaking the whole iPad.
  5. An option of having the directions read to user would be helpful. I have a couple of students who are working on money or sorting, but cannot read yet. Although I used this as an interactive tool between me and the student, the still needed to rely on me even if they wanted to 'practice'.

Overall, I think this app has some great educational value. This app would be a definite asset to a classroom or any student who needs an activity to reinforce money skills. The jungle theme may be a little more busy for some students, but with the sound options and the activity variations, I see this app working for ALL students. Not only is it a nice tool for student independent use, I found it to be a great interactive tool as well.

Initially, (AGAIN) I was a little overwhelmed by the "jungle theme". I quickly looked in settings and found the sound options. I was thrilled to see the options and the ability to customize the app for individual needs was similar to Jungle Coins. The app has the option to use 12 or 24 hour clock. (Since my husband is law enforcement and frequently uses military time, I may be using this app to brush up on the whole 24 hour option!) It contains various levels: Level 1 is times in hour intervals through Level 5 which is 1 minute intervals. Within each level, you have the ability to TELL TIME (app gives you clock, you set dial to correct time), SET TIME (app give auditory prompt of time, you move hand of clock to set time), TIME ELAPSED (app shows 2 clocks, you must set dial to show difference), SET ELAPSED (app shows 2 clocks with same time, app give auditory prompt of elapsed time, you must move hands of one clock and set time), and LEARN (step by step tutorial of clock, describing face and hands). The students enjoyed this app as well; although, most of them really struggled with the time concept in general (both Kdg and intervention students). Again, I think the price for this app is fair considering the activities and the ability to customize.

The things that I saw as issues and would like to see changes are similar to the above review.
  1. The "tool bar" was accidentally pressed.  (see above)
  2. The dial for the answers was difficult for the students to maneuver, possible change to give the option of typing in numbers
  3. The buttons "DONE" and SHAKE" continued to be an issue. They need to be more concrete and universal.
  4. Option for the directions be read to users if needed.

Overall, I think this app is a great was to introduce time (through the LEARN section) as well we reinforce skills already taught. I see myself using this app with several students next year. 

Lastly, I showed these 2 apps to my teaching partner who teaches students grades 2-5 (multiple disabilities). She immediately contacted our tech department to purchase these apps. She is currently using them as well!

developer: Andrew Short
website: http://jungleeducation.com/
itunes: Jungle Coins AND Jungle Time
category: education
recently updated: February 23, 2011


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