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

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

My Word Wall ~Review~

My Word Wall
I have to tell you (sorry, Punflay) that I was a little skeptical about this app. I was not familiar with Punflay app when I downloaded. I think I initially downloaded it during a "free" promo and I didn't look at it right away. I was contacted my a representative from Punflay regarding another app (ABC Numbers), then I remembered I had My Word Wall so I thought why not take a look at My Word Wall and see if it was something that I could use.

So when I finally took time to review some of the apps I had downloaded, I was pleasantly surprised by what  My Word Wall had to offer. My Word Wall has several options from matching letters to picture/word memory to placing letters in order to create words. There are several activities that allow for "errorless" learning activities, such as the hide a word section and jigsaw words. See & find is a leveled matching game. Easy levels presents the user with 6 cards to match, 3 picture card and 3 word cards; whereas, the hard level has 8 cards with 4 pictures cards and 4 word cards. Hide a word is like looking for the word with a flashlight. I think this level will be a hit with kids. I think the "search and find" feature will help students to be more focused and encourage students to read single words. Bubble words presents the user with a picture and several bubbles with letters inside. The users are given a visual cue for the number of letters/bubbles needed. The user touch and drag bubbles to spell the word. If an incorrect letter is used, no reinforcement is given and simple floats back to the top. Jigsaw words is a very simple (3-5 piece puzzle). The user completes puzzle to spell a word and display the picture relating to the word. All of these activities fit in well with the curriculum and IEP goals for my students.

The writing ABC section allows for direct match of lower case letters giving letter name, letter sound, and word beginning. The writing words section works on word families. The user can choose a word family, match letters to spell word, then is presented with a sentence using that word. Additional activities with that word family are presented. My favorite part of this app is taking the initial word (i.e., -am) and allowing the user to choose what letter to put in front to create own word. This allows the user to feel in control of their reading as well as allows for the app to have some variety. After new word is made, the app shows a sentence and picture with that new word. Again, this provides the user with a way to complete reading activities with success.  I always try to listen throughout the apps to see if there are any voices or sounds that may work well with my students. Throughout the app, the voice of the 'narrator' is a very pleasant child's voice which I think would help keep students engaged versus being a distraction.

Additional IEP applications
My Word Wall has many IEP applications. Obviously, this app would support goals/objectives relating to pre-reading skills (direct match of letters) as well as those beginning reading skills. The incorporation of the word families makes a nice app to use to teach and assess those readers who are working on those phonetic skills. The hide a word and jigsaw section would work well with students who need to practice with visual perception and increasing focus. Lastly, I think that My Word Wall would be a great asset to speech therapists as well. The word families section would be a great way to incorporate practice of beginning and ending sounds as well the creation of new words.

My word wall is very straight-forward with the matching and word wall activities. One suggestion that would make this app even more engaging and beneficial for my students would be to allow the pictures within the activities to be interactive. For example, when the user matches z and it says z-zebra, it would be great to take it one step further and allow the user to interact with the zebra (have it run across screen, change color, or make noise). Another suggestion occurred to me when I was playing with the bubble words section this weekend. Some of my students who are spelling and have good coordination would be able to touch and drag without a problem. However, some of my students might be able to choose correct letters, but are not as skilled at the touch and drag. For my students, it would be helpful if the incorrect responses (incorrect letter bubbles) would disappear. Even better than that, it would be great if that could be a feature that could be toggled on/off depending on student using the app.

I am so glad that I discovered My Word Wall. (Thanks for sending that email Nicola!) It is so versatile and I see it being used with most of the students within my classroom from the pre-readers who are working on simple match and cause/effect to my readers who are working on word families. This app would be great for teaching skills as well as assessing student knowledge through playing the app. This app would be a nice addition to a preschool or Kindergarten setting. The ABC section kind of reminds me a little of the Starfall alphabet with which students are familiar. If you are looking for a beginning "academic" app for your child, I would suggest this app due to variety of activities and price. My Word Wall is a great purchase at $0.99. It's like getting 5+ activities in one!

If you would like to learn more about Punflay, check out the posting on Moms With APPs site by team member at Punflay: Insights from India: Punflay Talks About International App Development.

developer: Emantras Inc.
itunes:My Word Wall
category: Education
recently updated:May 18, 2011

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