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”!
In line with all of the apps that form the Gazilli series, the presentation of GazziliShapes is beautiful. Bold, colourful graphics that are never garish are enhanced by frequent animations. The app is great however we would like to see a little focus on learning progression in order to really improve the educational attainment for pupils. This app receives 4 stars.
The activities within the app are supported by a well-produced voiceover. Due to memory limitations, developers often use a splicing technique to reuse words that appear in multiple places. This is just about detectable to be the case here but it avoids the jarring joins that can often occur when this technique is used. Alongside the voiceover are high quality and frequent sound effects and music. All of these sounds can be toggled on or off in the setting s menu.
The app is aimed at preschool children and has the main educational purpose of building skills in shape recognition. Added to this main purpose, the app also encourages the development of listening skills as the tasks within each of the six sections are explained by the voiceover.
The intended learning curve seems a little sporadic at times. Progressing through the activities the app swings from identifying shapes as a generic concept to identifying specific shapes. For example, the first activity requires the user to tap squares and then rectangles. The next activity requires the user to just tap the shapes that they can see. As these are animated, it turns the exercise into a ‘tapping the flashing graphics’ task rather than a shape recognition one. There do appear to be a few too many occasions where this happens and it would be nice to see the app state a specific shape to be clicked on rather than all of the shapes the child can see.
While the tasks themselves may not always progress evenly, the app does provide progression in knowledge. It covers shapes from the basics such as squares, circles and rectangles, to more complex shapes like pentagons, octagons and trapezoids. Unfortunately trapezoid is mainly used in North American countries and not in other countries which use trapezium for the same shape. A toggle for UK/US English would be useful to address this.
It is a shame that none of the activities pick up on identifying shapes by the number of sides to underline just why a pentagon is different to an octagon but this is a small criticism as the app is clearly aimed at identifying and matching shapes visually.
The app would be equally at home being used by a child as part of their individual learning as well as being supported by an adult. In particular when used with the support of an adult the app would allow further discussion about the nature of the shapes. In this role the app would be very useful as stimulation for learning. None of the activities have time limits so learning opportunities will not be missed through time pressures.
GazziliShapes looks like a more expensive app and its presentation is complemented by a good learning experience that if a little more consistent and focussed on specific shapes rather than shapes in general would be even better.
From the Developer
*GazziliShapes is an innovative, fun new App that teaches Preschoolers challenging shape-related concepts in a kid-friendly way!
*Complete each activity to unlock the next...and watch the GazziliFunPage come to life!
*GazziliShapes ‘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!
*GazziliShapes for iPad, iPhone, and iTouch is brought to you with iOS 5 functionality like AirPlay Mirroring and Twitter!
A child activates the first activity on the Home Screen, and they are taken away on a shape-identifying adventure.
Colors & artwork. Music & sounds. Friendly, hands-on activities. GazziliShapes is a multi-sensory learning experience.
Early childhood experts from New York City’s The Dalton School helped develop GazziliShapes to ensure its educational value.
--6 engaging, exciting activities that get progressively more challenging.
--Successful completion of each level means seeing a portion of the ‘GazziliFunPage’ come to life.
--Child interacts with the app to build a deep understanding of shape-related concepts.
--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.