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September 2011 Volume 19, No. 9, Issue 138

The September Issue

News & Commentary on Children’s Technology, September, 2011

Profit vs. pedagogy: How are children’s app developers supposed to eat?

We were thrilled to review the second app from Motion Math, called Motion Math Zoom. From a math learning point of view, it’s a doozy (read why on page 14). Rather than read about it, why not download a copy, free, from Apple’s app store.  You’ll find it to be a powerful experience. But you might also be surprised to find that it comes with a hidden surprise — an in-app purchase. Once children master the first level, they find out that the only way to keep playing it to go online and buy the full version of the app for $4.99.  Is putting a toll booth in such an activity unfair? We say no, as long as it’s disclosed when you’re in the app store, making the decision about whether or not to do the download. We also feel that a full version should be available, with no in-app sales features.  We don’t like the practice of mixing math practice and app buying process. This is an emerging issue, as more iPads find their way into classrooms. We don’t have the answer, other than to give you the straight facts about the financial motives in every product we review.

LittleClickers: All About Batteries

If somebody handed you a lemon, could you make a battery? Do you know which batteries don’t need to be recycled — and which do? Should you store unused batteries in the freezer?  Let’s learn more about the often overlooked workhorse of all gadgets: the battery. See page 4 or visit www.littleclickers.com.

A Talk With the Guys Behind Wizard101

Being the number one virtual world for kids is no small thing, especially in these days of Disney, Nick and Cartoon Network. But what’s interesting about Wizard101 ($freemium, www.wizard101.com) is that 60% of visitors are playing with another member of their family (at least, according to the publisher sponsored study, at http://prn.to/laV1Gh). What are they doing right?  To find out, CTR correspondent Scott Traylor interviewed Josef Hall and Todd Coleman of publisher KingIsle on a quest for the magic formula. See page 5.

How Do You Get Good Rating in CTR?

If you’re a new to Children’s Technology Review, you may wonder why our ratings might be different than in other publications, or perhaps Apple’s app store. The answer lies in CTR’s evaluation instrument, online at
http://childrenstech.com/evaluation-instrument and on page 7. The instrument is our DNA because it helps us spot attributes associated with increased child engagement; another word for “quality.” We use this instrument every day as we encounter each new wave of unknown products that promise to entertain and educate a child. We openly share this instrument with publishers and our readers in order to help everyone better understand the in-exact craft of assigning ratings. Every so often, it makes sense to revisit our rating process.

Reviews in This Issue (n = 50)

01 Kids Builder: Joy Preschool, www.jptang.net, page 8
ABC for Little Scientist, www.CommonExtract.com, 20
Ansel & Clair’s Adventures in Africa, http://anselandclair.com, 20
Berenstain Bears’ Bedtime Battle, The, www.oceanhousemedia.com, 8
Cars 2 Racing Video Game, www.jakkspacific.com, 20
Chuck and Friends: Friends for the Long Haul, www.ruckusmobilemedia.com, 9
ExerBeat, www.namcobandaigames.com, 9
FIFA Soccer 12, www.eagames.com, 20
Fijit Friends, www.fijitfriends.com, 21
Fooz Kids, www.foozkids.com, 21
Golden Tee Golf TV Game, www.jakkspacific.com
HearBuilder Software Series, www.superduperinc.com, 9
iDiary for Kids, www.tipitap.com, 10
Injini Child Development Game Suite, http://www.injini.net, 10
Kirby Wii, www.nintendo.com, 22
Kung Fu Panda 2, www.thq.com, www.thq.com, 11
Labyrinth, www.mentorinteractive.com, 11
Learning to Get Along Series, www.freespirit.com, 22
LeapPad Explorer, www.leapfrog.com, 12
Madden NFL 12, www.eagames.com, 22
MathBlaster.com, www.knowledgeadventure.com
MathTastic Addition, http://brainzai.com/, 13
MathTastic Subtraction, http://brainzai.com/, 13
Memory (Pairs Matching Game), www.popappfactory.com, 13
Motion Math Zoom, www.motionmathgames.com, 14
MultiAlien, www.fogbridge.com, 14
Mystery Case Files: The Malgrave Incident, www.nintendo.com
NCAA Football 12, www.eagames.com, 23
Paper Jamz Microphone & Effects Amp, www.wowwee.com, 23
Phil and Freddy Go to Nashville, http://www.misterengineer.com, 15
PianoBall – Fun with Learning, www.4baam.com, 15
Playstation Move Heroes, www.scea.com, 16
Puppies 3D , www.ubisoft.com, 23
Puterbugs, www.discoverykids.com, 23
Quarrel, http://us.utvignition.com/, 24
Scavenger Traveler, http://organakids.com, 24
Simplex Spelling HD, http://pyxwise.com/, 16
Sly Cooper Thieves in Time, www.scea.com, 24
Spy Net Bionic Ear, www.jakkspacific.com, 24
SpyClops Bionic Eye, www.jakkspacific.com, 16
StoryBox #1, www.bayard-magazines.co.uk, 17
T Smart Learning Device, www.sk.com, 25
There’s a Wocket in My Pocket, www.oceanhousemedia.com, 25
TI-Nspire CX Handheld, www.ti.com, 25
Toca Hair Salon, http://tocaboca.com/, 17
Toca Robot Lab, http://tocaboca.com/, 18
Transformers: Dark of the Moon, www.activision.com, 18
Trees Are Best FACT, http://hedgehoglab.com
VINCI Tab, http://vincigenius.com/, 19
ZooZoo Readables, www.cavallomedia.com, 26

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One Response to "September 2011 Volume 19, No. 9, Issue 138"

  1. Now children can learn math while playing with amazing apps. It’s easiest method to teach. I agree with you, practice of mixing math and Apps buying process is unfair so every app developing company should stop making money with this practice.

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