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Review: Tam & Tao in Numberland


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Numberland is an app designed to facilitate the learning of numbers 0 to 9 in a simple and enjoyable way. Its aim is to aid the auditory recognition of numbers, as well as the child’s ability to write them and count objects. This application also helps children associate quantities with the relevant number.

Numberland has been designed by Montessori educators, whose method focuses on the child’s autonomy, whilst promoting self-esteem. They have aimed to create an application which the child can utilize in order to learn in an easy and intuitive way.

Functional description
Upon opening Numberland, a main menu appears from which the various activities offered by the application can be accessed, together with icons allowing the user to select the language in which they wish to work (English, Spanish and French)

The first option on the main menu is to add an email address in case you wish to receive information about new applications by Les Trois Elles.

The “1, 2, 3, let’s play!” icon displays a screen with the numbers from 0 to 9, as well as the icons for changing the language. Each of the numbers takes you to the main screen of the various exercises you can do with that specific number. All numbers except 0 offer the same exercises, each using different visual effects and backgrounds.

When the user clicks on any of the numerical icons, a landscape appears showing a boy and a girl together with the relevant number. The girl’s voice asks questions about the chosen number and elements of the landscape. When a number is selected it fades away and then slowly reappears showing the outline that needs to be followed in order to write it. Other exercises can be accessed by selecting on the other characters that appear on screen.

Selecting the girl takes us to a screen where the user can work with numbers of objects associated to a number. In this exercise, as with the previous one, the girl provides verbal indications and an example of how to count the boxes by moving the finger over the screen. When the box is touched the user hears the corresponding number. The user is congratulated when they complete the exercises correctly. In the top right-hand corner of this screen there is an arrow which, when selected, will allow the user to repeat the exercise. In the top left-hand corner, there is a cross which exits the exercise, taking the user back to the previous screen.

By clicking on the icon of the boy the user can learn to write the numbers. The outline of a number marked by arrows appears on the left-hand side of the screen, providing the user with a guide for writing the number. The right-hand side of the screen is left blank so that the user can draw the number unaided. Different colours are available for drawing the number, as well as an eraser. A camera icon allows the user to capture the image on screen, saving it directly to the image gallery. As with the previous screen, the user can repeat the exercise.

When the user selects the number 0, numbers from 0 to 9 appear onscreen and are accompanied by an audio countdown.

Next, a landscape appears featuring the characters and the number 0. In one exercise involving the number 0, when the icon showing the girl is selected, each of the numbers is displayed with a box underneath and a varying number of sticks. The user must place the groups of sticks in the box displaying the corresponding number. When the exercise is completed, an audio message congratulating the user can be heard.

Other activities
You can also access two more activities from the main menu. The first activity is ‘Draw’, that offers a blank canvas on which the child can draw. Again, there is a selection of colours and an eraser, and a camera icon for capturing the image and saving it directly to your gallery.

The second activity is ‘Count’. This offers a similar exercise to that described for the number 0, in which all the numbers are linked to boxes in which the user must place the corresponding number of sticks.

Finally, back to the main menu, there is a “note for parents” icon which gives access to information about the application.

Assessment
Numberland is an application which is visually very appealing to children. The aim of the application is to allow the user to learn about numbers in an enjoyable way. In order to use it the child must be able to draw and possess a level of verbal comprehension that allows them to follow the instructions given on each screen. A basic knowledge of numbers is also required.

Whilst its main aim is to teach about numbers, the application is also enjoyable for the child. They can explore the objects that appear on the different screens along with their associated sound and visual effects.

There are several options on each screen which allow the user to interact with the objects and characters in an intuitive way. Each action leads to alternatives being suggested, thus enabling the user to discover the multiple possibilities offered by the app.

One element used to encourage learning about numbers is the visual or verbal praise given when the child responds correctly. Likewise, when the child does not answer the question it is repeated.

In some of the Numberland activities there is no notification that the child has answered a question incorrectly, nor any support to enable the child to find the correct answer. For example, in the exercise in which the child has to follow the outline of a number and then draw it by themselves, there is no indication that they have done so correctly. In this case, an adult presence is required to facilitate learning, offering support and confirmation as to whether the child has completed the task correctly or not.

However, more support is offered to the user in the rest of the application’s exercises. In some this is given verbally through the provision of an instruction, which the child must follow in order to solve the problem. In other cases the number of onscreen elements providing potential answers is limited so as to ensure the user can only use those elements that will lead to a solution.

It is also important to point out that the application can be enjoyed in three different languages: English, Spanish and French.

-Aida Farrés, Neus Fibla, Noemi Quibus and Sílvia Sáez are clinical coordinators at Fundación Planeta Imaginario.

Tam
Links: iTunes
Company: Les Trois Elles Interactive
Languages: English, Spanish, French
Functions: Learn about numbers (0 to 9).
Versions: Only for iPad.
Price: $1.99 / €1.59

 


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