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MyBackpack - Waterford Learning

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My Backpack is a jam-packed app for early years learning and beyond. It offers a number of activities for young children. It was developed by the award-winning nonprofit, Waterford Research Institute, as a classroom supplement to be used alongside Waterford Early Learning, a research-based adaptive software curriculum. It features 4 mental maths games, 16 traditional tales, 35 songs and 5 nursery rhyme read-alongs.

Teacher Review

At first glance, MyBackpack looks fairly minimal with four simple icons on its menu screen. Underneath the surface, however, this app is crammed full of content that will keep young learners busy from early years settings into early primary years. The content is split into four main areas – maths games, nursery rhymes, story books and songs – all of which are easily navigated through a very intuitive interface.

The nursery rhymes and the story book sections are both well-populated, with content displayed in a virtual book style format, with pages to turn and the ability to take part or listen in different ways. The graphics are appropriate and very engaging for the target audience, and the accompanying sound effects, commentaries and music are all of a high quality, albeit with all-American accents!

The songs section of the app features dozens of catchy original songs, each of which introduces or develops an educational theme. The songs and accompanying animations are well thought through, with plenty of humour and interest, and likely to stand up to repeated viewings without losing their appeal. Educationally, these songs are very rich and complement several different curriculum areas to great effect.

The highlight of the app, however, is arguably the section of mental maths games. The learner can chart their progress within a virtual learning path made up of over twenty progressive levels. The learning curve here is pitched fantastically so that the learner can take part in several different games to consolidate one level of mathematical learning before moving on. There is enough variety to maintain interest without generating confusion, and the well planned-out interface and progression again makes it easy for even a very young learner to start making progress without much supervision. The graphics and animation in this section is again impressive – particularly the very visual representation of an equal sign meaning a balance, which should help to prevent common misconceptions as the sums get harder.

The only slight drawback worth noting is that the app is predictably very large and so takes quite some time to install and load up. There are sometimes delays on navigating between different parts of the app too, which is understandable given the scope but may prove slightly frustrating to a young user.  Overall though, this app provides hours of well-designed educational fun and all completely free.

Screenshots

  • MyBackpack - Waterford Learning-1MyBackpack - Waterford Learning-2MyBackpack - Waterford Learning-3MyBackpack - Waterford Learning-4MyBackpack - Waterford Learning-5

From the Developer

Creators of Waterford Early Learning Curriculum present a free selection of songs, books and math games to be used alongside Waterford's adaptive learning software in the classroom or home. Waterford is a nonprofit research center; this free app is one of the ways we're happy to inspire a great start for every child!

ABOUT MY BACKPACK

My Backpack offers a wide variety of activities to suit a range of ages from preschool through second grade. My Backpack was developed by the award-winning nonprofit, Waterford Research Institute, as a classroom supplement to be used alongside Waterford Early Learning, a research-based adaptive software curriculum.

My Backpack Features:

- 4 Mental Math Games - Interactive addition and subtraction games with 25 progressive levels and 3D animation that encourages and challenges children, yet is so fun they don’t want to put it down.

Mental Math includes 4 Games:
1. Balloon Race
2. Rock Climb
3. Let’s Build
4. Frustration!

- 16 Traditional Tales books - Beautifully illustrated interactive read-along stories allow the child to choose if she wants to read on her own, be read to, or watch the story like a movie.

- 35 Songs - Catchy, original songs illustrate reading, math and science concepts in fun ways that make sense and stick with the child.

- 5 Nursery Rhyme Read-Alongs - Creative nursery rhymes that encourage exploration and reading, in a board-book format with interactive features that appeal to pre-readers.

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