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

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Spot the Dot ~Review~

Spot the Dot
I had hear about Spot the Dot for a couple of months at the time I started writing this post. A twitter post here or a Facebook status there...all talking about this app by children's author David A. Carter. I was familiar with David A. Carter from Alpha Bugs - a favorite ABC pop-up book of my daughter. So after I while I decided to see what all the talk was about. I started this post, summer came, and it never was finished. (Sorry Ruckus for the delay!) Anyway, I'm here to finish it now and tell you how everyone has enjoyed Spot the Dot!

Boy, was I surprised when I first tried this app! This amazing app is captivating with it's bright, bold colors and designs. The simple text and repetition of the colors and shapes makes this book perfect for young children. The intricate patterns and illustrations make it a perfect book for parents to share with their children. The simple text pages, the soothing voice, the visual stimulation of all the colors, and the interactivity made this app a truly 'sensory' experience.
Spot the Dot's repetitive text and directions make this app a good fit for everyone, especially the students in my class. Since we started back to school this week, the schedule has been less than perfect and I need a "time filler". Spot the Dot, I thought! The app kept them engaged and I noticed increased visual focus during the time we worked on the app as a group. I was a little worried about the  various sound effects, especially the ones that indicate a wrong response. Sometimes students can fixate on the sounds and just want to hear them. With Spot the Dot, that was not the case. The simple, bold sentence introducing each dot/color (see picture) is a great way for students to work on finger isolation and touching a given area on the iPad screen. My own children LOVE Spot the Dot as well and it was a must have on our iPad while traveling on vacation.

After each color is introduced, the user is expected to find the dot amongst the shape and color patterns. Now the activity pages are a little more difficult. They take visual attending skills and work on accuracy when touching the screen. The activity pages work well for turn taking and waiting for ones turn.

Once the book is sequentially read though, the app allows the user to pick and choose the order of 'dot' by touching the circles at the top of the screen. This is a nice option if you do have a student who has a favorite color or favorite activity. It would be an easy way to use that page as a 'reinforcer'. You could skip the page without going through each page.

Spot the Dot could be used to support a variety of IEP goals/objectives (a couple I mentioned above). For one, this would be a great app to reinforce colors and shapes along with locating target areas of the iPad screen. For beginning readers, this app would be perfect given the repetitive text and simple text. Due to the repetitive text, this would also be a great app to use with another for of technology, such as a single message voice output device (Big Mack switch) or students who have SGD (speech generated devices). Lastly, I could see this app being used in a group setting to work on turn-taking and "waiting".

With all interactive books, I like to see the text highlight as it reads the story. I think it helps the students focus (even if they can't read the words) as well as increases their print awareness. My suggestions would be:
  • include highlighted text as the story
  • allowing an option for "read to me" or "read on my own" to allow the app to be used for teaching as well as assessing

In conclusion, this app is another one to add to your "wish list". It is perfect for all young children who are learning colors or beginning to read. It is a perfect app for parents to share with children as the embedded activities can be used as "teaching" moments. I am already thinking about the activities that I can do in conjunction with this story within the classroom when we do our color theme. This wouls also be a great app to incorporate into an elementary art lesson using both David A. Carter's paper books as well as this app. Spot the Dot does offer a FREE LITE version. Try it for FREE and I'm sure you, oh I mean, your child will want the full version (and it's only $3.99).

I have included a brief video that spotlights Spot the Dot, featuring the author David A. Carter.

developer: Ruckus Media Group
website: http://www.ruckusmediagroup.com/
itunes: Spot the Dot
category: Games
recently updated: May 25, 2011

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