Bedtime Math

Bedtime Math is a free educational app available on both Apple (iPhone, iPad) and Android products. The app provides a “Math Problem of the Day” that provides information on what they will be solving, breaks the “Problem of the Day” into different age groups—for “Wee Ones,” “Little Kids,” and “Big Kids”—making it math for up to 5th grade! The app also has an explore feature that allows you to solve past problems. It also has a “Surprise” problem. The app can also be used in Spanish as well as English.

When you first download the app, it will ask you to choose an edition—either the community edition or the individual edition. The community edition is available if you receive a code from a teacher, educator, etc. The individual app is for people who just want to have fun with the app. You can change the setting in the app later if you receive a code. It also has a feature on the edition page that asks takes you to tips on how to use the app—like NOT to use it in school! The company is more interested in getting kids engaged with math at home—where it is not required! They also have information on what teachers can do to join the community and offer a “Crazy 8s Club.” This app also has on online website: www.BedtimeMath.org, which you can get to through the app; however, it does have a cool feature that allows parents to make sure the “wee ones” aren’t opening the website themselves and of course—you have to answer a math question before allowing the site to open! They also have information on kits to use in after school clubs!

Bedtime Math has received multiple awards and School Library Journal has so much information on how Bedtime Math is also helping at the library (check out the “For Library” section on their website)! There has also been a recent study led by the University of Chicago that shows this app boosts kids’ math performance. Read in it Science here: “Bedtime problems boost kids’ math performance”. This app is enjoyable, has fun sound effects, and makes math not as scary as I once remember it! Math fun can also be extended by books—Laura Overdeck, the creator of Bedtime Math also has two books outs. See how libraries have been using Bedtime Math in programming—especially over the summer! School Library Journal Summer Math Programs. This app is quick, fun, and makes math enjoyable for all involved.

 

 

Review of the “Bean’s Baby” app

Bean’s Baby by appropo is the app version of a 1998 children’s book of the same name by Sarah Hines-Stephens. The app is not high tech or very fancy. It is comparable to early readers and board books with a simple storyline and sparse illustrations.  The app is made for ages 0-5, but given the research that solidifies the idea that children under the age of 2 should not be exposed to media screens, it is suggested that the app should be used for children ages 2 -5. As Carisa Kluver from DigitalStorytime.com explains, apps for children, especially young children must be developmentally appropriate. The simplicity of the story and the illustrations play into this idea. Because this app is for young children, the narrative is simple, the words can be repeated, and the story follows the adventurers of a cat- a creature that most young children either know because they themselves have one or because they are a common enough animal in everyday life.

You can use the app on any apple device (iPod, iPhone or iPad), as wall as Droid devices and devices that use Google Play. The initial app is free, with the ability to add more features and stories for $1.99.  So when it comes to cost, Bean’s Baby is very affordable for an interactive book. Other apps in the Bean series features; Bean’s Night, Bean’s Games and Not Without Bear, with each app following the same structure and simple design. There are one to two words on each screen with pictures corresponding to the words. The pictures move with the sentences. There are options that allow the parent to both read the book to the child and activate the interactive features through touching Bean or the baby, or there is an auto play feature where the book is read to the child and the action takes place automatically.  When the words are spoken in the auto play mode, they light up so the child known which word corresponds to the spoken sound and show action.

The goal of this app is to help build early literacy skills such as helping a child to associate the sound of a word with the printed word itself. The simplicity of the app, with gentle music and minimal sound effects, helps the child to focus on the words and the actions without distraction from extra effects that are not meaningful to the apps goal. Along with participating in early literacy skill development, Bean’s Baby also helps children to build the transliteracy skills a child will need once they hit school age. The ability to read and learn using many different technologies and platforms is a skill that is vital to a child’s success in school.

This app, although made from a book, does not contain any hot links, ads, in app purchases; push notifications, or data collecting. The only advertisements contained in the app are on a separate page that pops up at the end of the book and shows the other books in the Bean series. Bean’s Baby, if used correctly by purchasers, has the ability to help children in their early literacy development. However, the app, although simple enough that a child could use it alone, should be used with a parent’s help and supervision. It is only through parental guidance and reinforcement of the techniques that the child would succeed in learning the skill that Bean’s Baby promotes.

Review by Rebecca Stanwick