8 Great Apps for Earth Day

The developers at Moms With Apps went digging into their inventories to unearth a selection of apps for Earth Day. Fill your iPhones, iPads, and iPod touches with these nature themed apps developed by parents.

1. Erica Knows Green, by StoryBoy [FREE for Earth Day!]

2. Learning Colors With Fruits, by Once Upon an App

3. Learning Colors With Vegatables, by Once Upon an App

4. Cucumber Soup, by PicPocket Books

5. Then it Rained, by PicPocket Books

6. Eric and the Enchanted Leaf, by PicPocketBooks

7. iLiveMath Animals of Africa, by iHomeEducator

8. iLiveMath Animals of Asia, by iHome Educator

Can you think of any more? We’d love to hear about them – please leave a comment!

5 Cool Ways to Learn Math with Apps

Our feature this week is from Lynn Rasmussen, creator of Arithmaroo – a math counting game focused on number patterns and relationships. The Arithmaroo team is working on an entire series of educational math apps that engage the user to explore and experience numbers.  Today Lynn highlights the many different ways math is being presented with mobile apps, which makes it an exciting time for students and educators.

Many of us were taught math in classrooms. Everyone was given the same worksheets, drills, homework, and tests at the same time. If you didn’t get it, the class kept going.  Too many of us were either “bad at math” or bored.  Apps offer a solution. They are personal, interactive, and provide instant feedback. Most of all, they are fun.

Here are five ways that Moms With Apps developers apply math to apps:

  1. Apps offer a beautiful introduction to math for little ones.  TickleTapApps’ Counting Caddy is a simple, fun counting game. With their Pattern Painter preschoolers learn to identify shapes and then they learn to draw shapes.
  2. App games are great for practice and assessment. Kids can start at their own levels. Incorrect answers are challenges, not failures. The KidsMathFun series  separates math operations by grade level and replaces grades with wins. They even have an app for Telling Time!
  3. Some apps are real tools that can be applied in fun ways.  Using Percentally kids can tally basketball stats or tally how many times someone says thank you, and then see how tallies convert to percents.
  4. Apps bring math alive. The iLiveMath series is not only graphically beautiful, but their app design and navigation is fascinating. Word problems with gorgeous photos are way more fun than standard worksheets.
  5. Apps offer diverse learning experiences.  Using a “right brain” approach, the Arithmaroo series replaces rote memory methods with increasingly complicated rock and hand patterns, all presented as games.

Apps offer powerful new ways to teach and to learn. We developers are just beginning to explore the possibilities!

App Friday: iKidNY

Welcome to App Friday, our weekly link exchange of family-friendly apps. Today we are featuring iKidNY which helps parents navigate New York City with kids. Great apps come from great moms, and creator Lara Serebrier Paul is indeed one of those. Lara is a Harlem resident and native New Yorker who wanted an easier solution for finding kid-friendly spaces in the Big City. As an extra bonus, the children’s storybook A Day in New York City with Noah will be offered alongside iKidNY for our FREE #appfriday promotion.

What is the app about?
Developed for New York City moms and dads on the move, iKidNY is an app that helps you find kid-friendly locations while out and about. It includes parks, playgrounds, changing tables, indoor playspaces, museums, libraries, subway stations with elevators, kid-friendly restaurants, and more. One click on the iKidNY guide will bring you information and directions to your nearest sanity-saving location. Got kids? Headed to NYC? Consider this app a no-brainer.

Why is it special?
It’s developed by a Mom who knows the true definition of kid-friendly. So yes, changing table locations, and subways with elevators (to accommodate strollers) are key features. In addition, the app has one touch navigation, interactive neighborhood maps, auto-connections to phone numbers and websites, and the ability to customize the app by plotting your favorite locations.

What’s in it for me?
FREE, FREE, and more FREE! For April 16th’s #appfriday, you can DOWNLOAD IKIDNY FOR FREE from the iTunes App Store. If you live in NYC, or if you are thinking about traveling there, or if you are a wannabe like so many of us are – then don’t hold back! Go download! But it gets even better…read on…

Related Apps
To accompany iKidNY, StoryBoy spoke up and is offering a New York City themed storybook app for FREE as well! DOWNLOAD A DAY IN NEW YORK CITY WITH NOAH today too! And, don’t forget their other NYC app, A DAY IN NEW YORK CITY WITH KIDS, which is FREE anytime!

App Friday Link Exchange
Our goal at Moms With Apps is to spread the word about family-friendly apps. Do YOU have a favorite app to share? One about New York, or just one that your kids enjoy? Then please participate in our link exchange and post it down below. Include the app name in the Link Title, your email, and a URL to the app. Once you submit this in the Simply Linked form, it shows up just like example #1. Thank you for your participation!

The Coolest NYC Based iPhone Apps

Our feature this week is from Lara Paul, creator of iKidNY – an incredible app for finding kid-friendly spots in New York City. Lara is a Harlem resident and native New Yorker who is making a difference for New York City moms on the go. Check out her insights on top apps for NYC – you’ll be amazed at what you find!

New York has a lot of cool things going for it, one of which is now a great selection of iPhone apps. These apps will change your life by saving you valuable time and money, and even provide you with a little fun along the way. In the past, I have written about my staple iPhone apps but today I’m excited to focus on The Big Apple.

Here are my top 10 favorite NYC iPhone apps (in no particular order):

Exit Strategy
This NYC-based app tells you where to stand on the subway platform to shave minutes off your subway trip. It also tells you which subway exits are the closest so you can get out of the subway the fastest. New Yorkers have no time to waste!

SOHO In My Pocket
SOHO In My Pocket tells you what’s around you in Soho and how to get there. Soho is one of NYC’s best neighborhoods and it is jam packed with stores, restaurants, hotels, art galleries, attractions, and more. This great locals and visitors guide also offers deals and discounts at some great NYC locations.

Dinosaurs: The American Museum of Natural History Collections – This is a phenomenal app if you are traveling to NYC with kids or if you are just really into dinosaurs. If it’s the former, you can visit The American Museum of Natural History and use this iPhone app as your guide through the dinosaurs. Your kids can even use it when they get home to explore the dino’s even more, or to re-live their great NYC experience.

Hop Stop
Gives you directions or a subway route from point A to point B. With Hop Stop you can chose your method of transportation – subway, bus, taxi, walking, or just the fastest route, and Hop Stop will tell you exactly how long it will take and how to get there. A true staple for New Yorkers and tourists.

Menu Pages
It’s no secret that New Yorkers love to eat. Can you blame them? We have some of the best restaurants in the world here on our little island. Menu Pages is a comprehensive collection of NYC restaurant menus. Definitely a go-to when finding a place to eat.

Cab Sense
Believe it or not, hailing a cab in New York ain’t always easy. Cab Sense helps out by using historical data and prediction math to figure out the best corner to hail from, and when to do so. Seriously, how did we ever live without things like this?

Up Next NYC
An interactive 3D map of Manhattan where users can view restaurants, nightlife, and shops. Users can tap a building to see all the businesses inside, or on a subway station to see all the trains passing through. It’s a great travel tool for locals or anyone visiting for the weekend.

Time Out New York
This iPhone app is great for residents or tourists. It provides ideas of thing to do, places to see and eat by neighborhood in NYC. It highlights all the standards and features some great spots that are off the beaten path.

Fresh Direct
This app allows you to order groceries to be delivered straight to your home from your mobile phone. It saves your previous grocery lists and even syncs with your online orders. No more wasting time in the supermarket! This is a lifesaver app for busy New Yorkers.

Last but not least, I have to include iKidNY. If you live in, or are traveling to NYC with kids, it’s a must have. It tells you how to find the closest parks, playgrounds, museums, indoor playspaces, kid friendly restaurants, changing tables, subway stations with elevators, and much more.

App Friday: Artikpix & Percentally

Welcome to App Friday, our weekly link exchange of family-friendly apps. Today we are featuring two apps: ArtikPix and Percentally. These apps were developed by Eric Sailers and Jason Rinn in efforts to help students and educators tackle speech delays. Their innovations do more than assist speech & language, but also function as tools that chart a course for how mobile devices are used in education.

What is ArtikPix about?
ArtikPix is an articulation app for the iPad that has flashcard and matching activities for children with speech sound delays. The free app comes with “th” cards and an easy matching level, but in-app purchases enable the possibility of 14 decks (th, f, v, ch, sh, k, g, s, z, l, r, s-blends, l-blends, and r-blends) with 40 cards each (560 cards total), and three matching levels. In ArtikPix, children tap and flick cards to practice their sounds in fun activities, as data is collected, saved, and shared to email, clipboard, or Google Spreadsheet.

Why is it special?
ArtikPix is a fun, child friendly app that makes traditional articulation drills more enjoyable. Children have a great time flicking through the flashcards, and playing the matching activity. Compared to a traditional deck of speech cards, ArtikPix offers a variety of features including voice recording, auditory prompting, and data collection for saving and exporting. Additionally, the portability of ArtikPix makes it an easy tool for parents to use at home with their children and for children to practice independently.

What is Percentally about?
Percentally is a tally counter for collecting data with notes that share easily to email, clipboard, or Google Spreadsheet. Use it to keep single tally and percentage based data for tracking progress on goals (e.g., special education goals). Adults and children can track progress by the tap of a finger in tallies customizable for color.

Why is it special?
Time is of the essence for everyone. Percentally is a time saver because it is an easy-to-use tool that makes a multi-step process simple. It enables you to collect and organize tallies in an efficient manner and easily copy the data. Initially developed for educators, it also has uses for athletics, nutrition, motivation, counting, or any area where someone is interested in tracking progress.

What’s in it for me?
FREE, that’s what! DOWNLOAD ARTIKPIX from the App Store FREE, this Friday. Next, DOWNLOAD PERCENTALLY from the App Store FREE, this Friday. If you are a parent with an iPad, ArtikPix should be a no-brainer. If you are a person who needs to track progress on specific goals, then go grab a copy of Percentally!

App Friday Link Exchange
Do you have a family-friendly app to share, either a personal favorite or one you developed yourself? Please, post it in the link below! This way, visitors can see a variety of apps for kids and families. Include your name (with app name) in the Link Title, your email, and a URL to the app. Once you submit this in the Simply Linked form, it shows up just like example #1 in the link below. Thank you for your participation!

Presenting iPod touch Sessions: Tips, Tricks, and Tools

Our feature this week is from Eric Sailers, a speech-language pathologist and assistive technology specialist who co-creates mobile apps with Jason Rinn at RinnApps. Eric enjoys sharing his passion of the iPod touch for children with special needs. His apps include Percentally (a data collection tool for educators) and ArtikPix (an articulation app for children with speech sound delays on the iPad). Eric has recently presented at two major conferences on the topic of the iPod touch for students with special needs, which is the focus of this article.

I presented iPod touch sessions at the CUE and CSUN Conferences covering the topic of the iPod touch for students with special needs. In this posting, I’d like to share tips, tricks, and tools from my experience. Presenting the iPod touch at conferences is not just about speaking to an audience for an hour, but also involves giving justice to a device with extraordinary software.

The Preparation Includes:

• Procuring the iPods and downloading appropriate apps
• Creating a concept and outline (mine was specifically on the iPod Touch as a learning tool and the SETT framework)
• Building a slideshow (I used ideas by Carmine Gallo, who has great resources for presenting like Steve Jobs in this video and slideshow)
• Making Slides Look Professional with Keynote on my MacBook Pro 13”
• Rehearsals and feedback from colleagues
• Equipment: projector cable with mini-VGA Adapter, iPevo Point 2 View camera , iHome speakers (for rooms without a sound system), iPod touch Thumbtacks mic , and earphones with microphone *Note: Amazon offers low-cost earphones with microphone.
• Handouts and tutorials to accommodate the room capacities for my sessions (see example).

iPod touch Apps & Accessories

The Presentation

I set up the iPevo Point 2 View camera so the iPod touch had high resolution at a sufficient size. I began by zooming 1.25x with continuous focus, then I switched to single focus after the iPod touch screen was focused. The result was a stable image in focus. The camera image ran in the background, while my Keynote slide show ran full-screen.

Handouts were distributed for the presentation and lab sessions. In the case of labs, the participants also received earphones with microphone, and iPods in exchange for a picture ID. At the end of the labs, the participants returned iPods to retrieve their IDs. My co-presenters helped with distributing iPods, in addition to presenting slides and demoing apps.

During the slide shows, I intermittently hid Keynote to demo apps with the Point 2 View camera, then I returned to Keynote. The trick here is command H to hide Keynote, then run Point 2 View camera in full-screen mode. When completed with the demo, press the esc key, then return to Keynote via command tab.

Prior to demonstrating with the camera, I presented slides comprising screenshots and details regarding the apps. I highlighted standard Apple features that appear in many apps, and features unique to given apps. Additionally, the apps were presented in relation to categories (e.g., communication, organization, reading, etc.) that I determined, so the presentation didn’t appear as a hodgepodge of apps.

Then, using the camera, I showed a couple iPod touch tricks, such as using the search for locating apps, and pushing the home button for accessing the 1st page with settings. I also mentioned more tricks can be learned at Tony Vincent’s Learning in Hand site.

After that, I demonstrated apps that coincided with the categories in my slides (e.g., Proloquo2Go, Percentally, Cat in the Hat). I tried my best to show as many features as possible in 1-3 min. demos per app. Included in the demos were selecting options and settings for apps because those features are often overlooked by users. At the end of the sessions, if they wanted to know about more apps, they could access my list.

As you probably noticed, I spent much more time preparing than presenting. I needed the prep time to carefully think through the details of my sessions. The result was more professional looking and useful information for participants. Plus, it made me feel much more comfortable when speaking. Public speaking has its challenges, but sufficient preparation makes it a whole lot easier. In the end, it enables me to do something I truly enjoy: share with others.

App Friday: Round is a Mooncake

Welcome to App Friday, our weekly link exchange of family-friendly apps. Today we are featuring Round is a Mooncake, a children’s picture book brought to the iPhone and iPod Touch by PicPocket Books. The PicPocket Books Apps range from board book style books to concept books, easy readers, fairy tales and more.

What is the book about?
Round Is A Mooncake, A Book of Shapes, explores the shapes of Asian and universal objects in a young girls’ urban neighborhood. The Mooncake app retains the charm and simplicity of the print version while introducing interactive features on the mobile digital platform. Touch the mouse, cat, crickets, abacus and more to find all the hidden sounds in the app.

Why is it special?
Originally published by Chronicle Books, an independent publisher of distinctive books, Round Is A Mooncake, A Book of Shapes, is a multi-cultural gem of a book. Bright, whimsical art accompanies narrative rhyme and a short glossary adds cultural significance to the objects featured in the book. The author, Roseanne Thong, and the illustrator, Grace Lin (2010 Newbery Honor recipient), have both won numerous awards for their work.

What’s in it for me?
PicPocket Books is offering FREE DOWNLOADS FROM THE APP STORE ON FRIDAY, APRIL 2ND of Round is a Mooncake. This is the perfect time to add a bright new title to your virtual library!

App Friday Link Exchange
Do you have a family-friendly app to share, either a personal favorite or one you developed yourself? Please, post it in the link below! This way, visitors can see a variety of apps for kids and families. Include your name (with app name) in the Link Title, your email, and a URL to the app. Once you submit this in the Simply Linked form, it shows up just like example #1 in the link below. Thank you for your participation!

Kids’ Books on the iPhone

Our feature this week is on PicPocket Books, founded by husband-wife team Lynette and Manuel Mattke who share a passion for children’s literature and technological innovation. Their custom application software brings children’s books to life on the iPhone, with new titles being added on a daily basis. You can browse their virtual library at www.picpocketbooks.com, or find them on Facebook and Twitter.

We love books. We love the feel, the smell, the sound of the gentle crack of the binding as we open a new book for the first time. Printed books have been treasured and cherished for hundreds of years, and they work just fine. “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it”… does the simple, straight forward, classic printed book really need updating and improvements?

More and more, literature is being consumed on electronic devices like the Kindle, iPhones, and the soon-to-be-released iPad. How do we, as readers, authors and publishers preserve a love for reading and literature, and encourage more reading, engagement, and exposure to books in the face of these developments?

Kids grow up surrounded by digital media and technology. From a young age, kids are very curious about electronic gadgets. Why not capitalize on that fascination to grab their initial interest? Whether we’re talking print or digital books, reading is an active mental process: something to encourage at every opportunity.

I am, have always been, and expect that I always will be a huge fan of books. I think we are a long way off from digital books actually replacing print books, but I do believe that digital books will become more and more visible and popular as the tech savvy generations accept them as obvious options at home, in schools, libraries, in businesses and on the go. I believe it is important to make quality literature available on electronic devices because the fact is that they will find their way into kids’ hands.

What are some considerations in producing kids’ books for mobile devices? Because of the crucial marriage of text and illustrations in children’s books, the artistic rendering of a book in mobile format is particularly important.

Fidelity to original print version: PicPocket Books places a priority on fidelity to the original picture book. The beauty of many classic and contemporary picture books lies in their simplicity.

Interactivity: PicPocket Books has added some interactive audio hot spots to selected PicPocket Book titles like Oh, Crumps, Peterkin Meets a Star, Monster Trucks, Tractors, Rescue Vehicles, and Round Is A Mooncake.

Animations: The animations in PicPocket Books are subtle, like snow falling or stars twinkling. The intent is to encourage curiosity by adding elements of interactive discovery to some books. We are consciously NOT creating video games, but hope that PicPocket Books can offer a gentle alternative to games for parents who want to offer their children mobile digital books.

Reading a story book on a screen is a very different experience from playing a repetitive video game on the same screen. It has the same educational, mind-opening benefits as reading a traditional print book: it increases vocabulary, improves concentration and focus, and expands horizons. Reading helps children become engaged, rather than passive learners because books demand that kids to use their imagination to paint living mental pictures, rather than having images passively communicated to them through the picture on a television screen.

The technologies that are new to us are very intuitive to kids and will unquestioningly be a significant part of their lives for years to come. It’s important to introduce our children to quality and age-appropriate content on the screen, whether we’re talking mobile digital technology, desktop computers or other media. Above all, digital books should not be viewed as a replacement for the valuable time parents can spend reading to their children, but as educational and culturally valuable alternatives to video games or movies, especially for families on-the-go.

App Friday: iLiveMath Animals of Africa

Welcome to App Friday, our weekly link exchange of family-friendly apps. Today we are featuring iLiveMath Animals of Africa, a collaborative educational math and zoology app for Apple’s iPhone, iPod Touch, and iPad – developed by iHomeEducator.

What is the game about?
The iLiveMath series blends illustrative worldly concepts with math problems, to make math interesting and applicable for kids. Abby (daughter and 6th grade product manager over at iHomeEducator) says that iLiveMath is a new way to do math that combines challenging word problems and cool pictures of African Animals. The levels include addition, subtraction, multiplication, and percentages for 1st through 6th grade math.

Why is it special?
Inspired from a family trip to a safari park after a lively conversation about animals, this app was developed jointly by the Mom, Dad and kids over at iHomeEducator. Abby describes the unique features of the app best here:

This app can also help learn not only math but what groups of animals are called. For example, did you know a group of peacocks is called a “muster”? Or a group of rhinos is called a “Crash of Rhinos”? Sure does sound familiar with the way rhinos act and the way peacocks gather. I didn’t know that until I played with the app. There can be a lot you don’t know about wild life that can be very fun.

What’s in it for me?
The folks at iHomeEducator are offering FREE DOWNLOADS FROM THE APP STORE ON FRIDAY, MARCH 26th of iLiveMath Animals of Africa. It’s Wild – so don’t miss out!

App Friday Link Exchange
Do you have an app to share, either a personal favorite or one you developed yourself? Please, post it in the link below! This way, visitors can see a variety of apps for kids and families. Include your name (with app name) in the Link Title, your email, and a URL to the app. Once you submit this in the Simply Linked form, it shows up just like example #1 in the link below. Thank you for your participation!

How Mobile Applications are Helping Home Educators

Our feature this week is on iHomeEducator, a family run business who creates educational math applications for kids. Their team is comprised of a full-time mom/teacher with 3 kids, a part-time hobby programming dad, and a 6th grade Product Manager. Visit this creative and inspiring family online at www.iHomeEducator.com, Twitter, Youtube, Facebook.

Given that “kids are able to hold the world in their little hands“, the value proposition for mobile apps in education continues to grow:

Flexibility: Teaching opportunities are not limited to the classroom. Teach anytime and anywhere.

Ease of Use: Touch screen devices empower a much younger audience. Our four year old asks for the iPod Touch all the time.

Feedback: Applications automatically provide feedback and constructive progress scores.

ROI: Teachers and parents are starting to use iPods as a lower cost option to compliment laptops, netbooks, and text books.

Digital Media Learning (DML) also states, “…participatory learning refers to young people’s learning that: is intrinsically motivated because it is connected to their interests and passions; is inherently social in nature because it involves interacting, providing feedback, and sharing with others; and typically occurs during tangible, creative activities, that are open and discovery-based, involve tinkering and play, and are not highly prescriptive.”

Our Story:
Because we wanted to help our 4, 6, and 11 year old appreciate math we developed MathSpinK, 1, 2, and 3 which includes spinning math dials, timers, and counters for counting, addition, subtraction, multiplication, division, and inequalities. MathSpin1 uses Chinese and Mayan numbers to spice up the math with culture. We found the spinners allowed more freedom in learning as our children began to pick problems on their own.

When our 11 year old and some of her peers struggled with word problems in exams, we tried to make it fun by developing iLiveMath. The series is based on exciting themes like Animals of Africa, Winter Sports, and Animals of Asia.

  • Each has 3 levels of difficulty for 1st to 6th grade
  • Randomly generates over 1 million word problems from basic math to advanced order of operations, percentages, time, averaging, etc.
  • Photo images are used to build interest and encourage future exploration.
  • For participatory learning and tracking of progress all questions, answers, counts, % correct/incorrect/unanswered can be shared to www.iLiveMath.blogspot.com and/or email.
  • Collaborate with friends and followers using Twitter by tweeting questions

More App Info:
Below is our latest app welcoming in the Year of the Tiger: iLiveMath Animals of Asia, which teaches time concepts including the use of the Chinese Zodiac animals and calculation of differences between years.

iLiveMath Animals of Africa was developed for our children after a trip to Safari West in Sonoma, CA.

iLiveMath Winter Sports was developed as a teaching opportunity during the Winter Games in Vancouver with a twist to make the sports more kid friendly, such as snow ball fighting and snowman building.

In development is a new iLiveMath app using marine life to teach additional concepts for 1st to 6th grade after visiting the Monterey Bay Aquarium.