Friday, 27 September 2013

Appen For Smartphones and Tablets


Appen, children app for Android and iOS, educational app for children

Appen, children app for Android and iOS, educational app for children



















Although I have nothing against our children playing on the computer, smartphones and tablet (it is the way forward after all), I do not like to see them getting addicted to games and ruin their posture that might hinder their body's development, so we have set a limit for them. There are however, lots of educational games and apps around, so when they are allowed to play, we try to make sure that they play more of those apps, with some brain training ones and the odd cheeky ones for fun.

Recently we were sent an Appen from GPTech (rrp £14.99) to review, which is similar to a Stylus pen with speaker that is to be connected to the headphone socket (hence no batteries required), and is used with the dedicated free app Appen (both Android and iOS).


Appen, children app for Android and iOS, educational app for children












Appen, children app for Android and iOS, educational app for children

Appen, children app for Android and iOS, educational app for children













The Appen app itself has games that doesn't really require the Appen, to give you an idea of what the app is like. Other games will require the Appen attached to unlock. The Appen also allows pressure to be detected, which is proven to be very useful with the Appen app (more about this later). The app is split into 2 sections, one for children under 5, the other above 5, which is great for us as both Clay and Abby can play the games. Before a child starts playing, it's good to calibrate the Appen to them for easier play. You can create an account for each child that'll remember the pressure used so they don't have to re-calibrate each time they play.


Appen, children app for Android and iOS, educational app for children
















Both the <5 and 5+ will arrive at the above screen. The first one allows children to do colouring and drawing. The second one is to practise their writing skills, and for children under 5, there is also a shape recognition game, where as for children above 5, there will be 2 counting games. The last one are fun games for the children to play, including 2 racing games with 2 different difficulties, and a Scratch and Guess game.


Appen, children app for Android and iOS, educational app for children

Appen, children app for Android and iOS, educational app for children

Appen, children app for Android and iOS, educational app for children
















Drawing and Colouring
I like it that children can make the "colouring pen" thicker by pressing the Appen down. There is an option where they can add their own photos into their picture, as well as animated characters (animals, people, vehicles, etc) that moves and also make sound when being clicked on with the Appen.

There is also a feature where you can upload images straight to Facebook, Twitter and through email. As I normally don't keep an eye on the kids when they play with the apps, this feature is not as desirable for me, in case they are spamming my social media accounts with unfinished pictures hehe. In this case you just make sure that your accounts aren't connected to the app.


Appen, children app for Android and iOS, educational app for children

Appen, children app for Android and iOS, educational app for children
Under 5 Writing Practise 1

Appen, children app for Android and iOS, educational app for children
Under 5 Writing Practise 2, same for above 5

Appen, children app for Android and iOS, educational app for children
Under 5 Shape Recognition

Appen, children app for Android and iOS, educational app for children
Above 5 Counting games 1 and 2



























































Writing, Shapes and Counting
The under 5 writing and shape practises are quite good, though I was a bit confused at first with what the Shape Recognition game wanted me to do. It would be helpful if a voice can tell what children are suppose to do for some of less obvious games. The above 5 writing practise and counting games are a bit too easy for Abby, and I think that they are more suitable for reception year children (4 to 5, instead of 5+).


Appen, children app for Android and iOS, educational app for children

Appen, children app for Android and iOS, educational app for children

Appen, children app for Android and iOS, educational app for children













Hand-Eyes Coordination and Picture Recognition
The racing game is quite fun to play with. Children can choose whether they want to race with the app or race on their own, which age group they are in, and select the map and number of laps. The racing car is being controlled by the Appen pressing down on the track at the right place. I'm sure that this will be the most popular game in the Appen (it does require the Appen to unlock them)!

The Scratch and Guess game is quite fun as well, though the timer did make me feel very nervous! Within the time you can scratch the screen as much as you need to guess what's on the picture. Under 5s can then select the answer by comparing the matching picture, where above 5's will have to guess what they are called as well. I found the game quite useful for both groups of children.


Appen, children app for Android and iOS, educational app for children






























Overall I think that the Appen and app are well made and very educational for children. I like it that there is many things for children to do and learn, so it's not as boring as other apps where there is only one thing to do. There is a good mix of fun and learning, though I do think that the app is too easy for children above 5. Perhaps they can include games later on that are more suitable for KS1 children in their updates?

Children are a bit like us, they also like their accessories, and the Appen is certainly one that makes them want to play with the app more! It also help me protect my screen from sticky finger prints of course! The protection cap for our pen is a bit loose, if that's tighter then it will be very handy as we can also bring it around without worrying about damaging the tip (even though the pen comes with a spare tip). The sound through the pen is quieter than the sound coming directly from my phone, which I think is good as it won't be too loud for the kids.

The pen functions smoothly using my Samsung Galaxy Note 2 phone, but there is a delay reaction when I use it with our Samsung Galaxy Tab 2.0 (7"). It could be because I need to update the software on our tab, as it is recommended to have Android 4.0 or higher (and iOS 4.3 or higher) to use the Appen and app.

With so many games in one app, I do think that the Appen and app is worth considering getting for the children, especially if you are already considering getting a Styllus pen to protect your gadget from icky fingers!


Disclosure: We were sent a learning aid to review; all opinions are honest and our own