The Educational app that I have chosen to discuss is the app called Endless Reader by Originator.
This app is perfect to expose young learners to phonics, letters, word construction and sentence construction. It could help learners develop and build on initial concepts of sounds, letters and reading, in a very fun and interactive way. The app has a very simple layout and structure making it easy for young learners to use as it guides them visually, showing them where to focus and what to do. The app is also filled with fun animations and sounds that support learning and that will keep the young learner stimulated and engaged and having fun!
Suggested age and developmental level:
I would suggest a parent or teacher to use this app with children who are in the beginning stages of reading, or parents/teacher who would want to start exposing their children to the conventions of reading (phonics, letters, words and sentences). Depending on the child’s developmental level, I would recommend that they could enjoy and use this app from the ages of 3 up until 8. It can thus be incorporated in the classroom in Grade R and Grade 1 as an extension activity to support phonics and reading development (it might be too easy for Grade 2’s, but if the teacher feels that learners could still benefit from it, then she should use her discernment).
Benefits of using the app for learning:
As I have mentioned the app is an excellent platform for beginning readers or non-readers to learn about the conventions of reading and text. It has fun interactive activities that expose learners to and teaches them (indirectly through play) about phonics, letter names, constructing words, identifying words and constructing sentences. Not only does it teach and help develop these key concepts but it does it in a very fun and exciting way. The animations and sounds are very cute and even I got a thrill from playing around with the app and interacting with the animations and characters. Using the app in a classroom or as an educational tool at home will ensure that the learner will be exposed to and develop substantial reading skills, and that they will have a lot of fun while doing so.
Potential challenges of using the app as a learning tool/in the classroom:
The app is a very user friendly app, even for children, and it has a very simple layout and way of presenting the activities. The activities are all arranged in alphabetical order, each initially constructing a word with that letter/sound, and then building a sentence with that word, having an animation that illustrates the sentence. Every activity along the alphabet follows this pattern, and I could imagine that this could potentially become rather boring for a learner. Even with its wonderful animations, illustrations and sounds, the repeated pattern of activity could be a bit too consistent and predictable for the learner (as I found it to be eventually). In a review about the app, a British mother commented on the fact that the voice that pronounced the phonics and letter names had an American accent and that it could be confusing and misleading for learners who are not used to that accent (geek mummy, app review). When I played with the app, I did not notice an accent at all, and I did not experience it to be a problem, but it is good to be aware of it in case you do feel very strongly about specific pronunciations of letters and words.
The app chosen is relevant and practical to use in a learning setting:
As I have mentioned, the layout of the app is very user-friendly and it is evident that it has been created and designed for young learners to use. A learner could most probably be able to use the app independently, by simply experimenting and following visual clues. This independent discovery will also lead to the development of critical thinking and problem solving skills, causing learners not only learn about phonics and reading, but also how to navigate their way around the app. The fact that learners can work with the app independently makes classroom management much easier, as the teacher wouldn’t have to help the learner through every step. She can rather instruct learners to try and figure it out themselves, and if learners really get stuck she can ask probing questions to make them solve their own situation. The app is also filled with fun and lively animations that will keep learners captivated and motivated to learn. The sounds may be a bit distracting in a classroom, so I would suggest giving the learners earphones, as the sound really does contribute to the whole learning experience and should not just simply be switched off.
Over all I would say that Endless Reader is a lovely educational app that will bring a lot of joy and excitement to any learning environment.
For further information and an additional perspective on the Endless Reader app go to: