Spencer Riley, the reviewer of this app, is a Secondary History and Mathematics Teacher, Computer Science Developer and Entrepreneur at TeacherLed. He uses tablets and apps in the classroom and amongst his students he is known as the “iPad Man”!
The more abstract reasoning that puzzles require is a relatively neglected aspect of education for all ages. As mathematics education often focuses on the eventual goal of passing an exam it is easy to work backwards from the exam going through the raw knowledge required to pass, when formulating a program of study. This can often result in abstract reasoning, persistence in problem solving and spatial reasoning being neglected. By making GazziliPuzzles part of its suite of mathematical apps for pre-schoolers, GazziliWorld is doing its part to address this right at the start of a child’s education.
GazziliPuzzles has a series of jigsaw puzzles for a child to solve. Each puzzle has a faded out version of the final picture on screen and a collection of pieces around it to fill in this faded image. When the pieces are dragged into the correct place, the image becomes animated and a bonus puzzle is presented, building up to a final image when all of the puzzles are complete.
The artwork is typical of the GazilliWorld apps, providing, as they do, an expertly created set of images that will encourage children to work through to seeing the animations. A clear and useful voiceover gives instruction and encouragement. Interaction with the puzzles is simple and accurate.
In other apps which are not from the Gazzilli series, I have seen jigsaw games encounter the problem of requiring pixel perfect placement which can sometimes mean a piece you think is placed is not. However, there is no such issue here! The pieces respond extremely well to touch and have a tolerance for being correctly placed that is just right for the targeted age group.
The puzzles have a well-designed progression in difficulty. The initial puzzle has few pieces and they are automatically the correct way up. As the puzzles progress ,there are more pieces and some will require rotating by a simple tap.
The progression is real but so gradual that children should not feel that they are taking prohibitively big steps. While progressing through the puzzles I would expect children to be engaging in more sophisticated reasoning. For each child this should and will be different. Some will try to match details such as the same dominant colours in the piece. Most importantly, the need for children to find their own strategy for completing puzzles is why apps such as this one are needed in mathematics education as well as more traditional arithmetic ones.
Persistence in seeing a puzzle through to the end is well rewarded by the final animation. These animations are not just simple thought bubbles or the like but, a detailed and smoothly animated version of the still image. Children are unlikely to feel an anti-climax to reaching the end of each puzzle.
This is a finely made app that is focussed on developing the skills of completing jigsaws as part of a child’s overall problem solving skill set. If the app were more expensive it might be expected that it would have a greater number of jigsaws, or perhaps other puzzle types but, the price of GazzilliPuzzles provides fantastic value!
From the Developer
‘GazziliPuzzles is the new generation of Jigsaw Puzzles! Put the puzzles together—then watch them come to life!’
'Complete each activity to unlock the next...and watch the GazziliFunPage come to life!'
‘GazziliPuzzles ‘dual-curriculum’ approach introduces children not only to important subject matter, but to technology they’ll be using as part of their education for years to come!’
‘GazziliPuzzles for iPad, iPhone, and iTouch is brought to you with iOS 5 functionality like AirPlay Mirroring!’
A child activates the first GazziliPuzzle on the Home Screen, and they are taken away on a Puzzle-Perfect adventure!
Colors & artwork. Music & sounds. Friendly, hands-on activities. GazziliPuzzles is a multi-sensory learning experience!
Early childhood experts from New York City’s The Dalton School helped develop GazziliPuzzles to ensure its educational value.
--6 engaging, exciting jigsaw puzzles that get progressively more challenging. Each one comes to life…and each one reveals another part of the GazziliFunPage!
--Child interacts with the app and strengthens concentration, dexterity, and problem-solving skills!
--‘Hearing Impaired Mode’ included that adds all written words to the screen as they are spoken by either the narrator or characters!
--Delightful interactive animations, music, sound-effects, and surprise features.
--Improvement of hand-eye coordination and fine motor skills as children gain proficiency with tablet hardware.