Shopkeeper+ Maths can be fun!
The classic children’s role-play game, “Shopkeepers”, is turned into a counting game that teaches children about addition. The cute characters and variety of goodies that you can buy will keep children entertained. The app has three difficulty levels and levels within each level. There are never ending questions to keep the learning process going. Our reviewers would have liked even more variety within the app in order to further engagement. Therefore, this app is more of a workbook with a series of questions that the user must answer. It is like a textbook with lots of exercises to keep going. So, if that’s what you are looking for, this is your app! If you want an app that is going to entertain and also explain lots of concepts, this is not your app. Despite this caveat, the app is of good quality and has received a 4 Star EAS Certification.
The illustrations depict a shop setting where the learner must be at the till. Each bunny comes to the till with his/her objects and asks “how many?” The user is provided with a series of numbered coins at the bottom of the screen until the number 20. In the easy sections, the numbers do not tend to add up to more than 10. As you progress and answer more questions correctly, the questions become harder. Initially, the questions only have illustrations so that you see a set number of apples with an “addition sign” so that you can count the total of objects and learn the concept of addition by doing. The next stage writes the number of apples underneath the apples and the number of pears underneath the pears. Once the app picks up that you are associating this concept correctly, it takes away the pictures of objects to count and simply displays the numbers so that the learner can solve the addition problem him/herself.
The app tells you when you are wrong and if you get the question wrong three times, the main shopkeeper will come to assist you with the counting. The more you get right, the quicker you progress to larger numbers. This is very useful as it helps the learner to grasp the concept and then progress with the questions.
There were a few anomalies that we spotted within the app. For example, the app asks learners to, “Please serve the customers, take their money and spend the money on new stock for the shop”. However, we are only ever asked to count “how many?” On this point, we could not figure out whether we were missing something within the app or whether it is a mistake within the app.
Another issue was that we felt that there were extra bits of information and features within the app that really did not fit within the overall learning process. For example, to change some of the items that are sold in the store, the learner must tap on the stock control button at the top of the screen. If you can afford to buy an item, the price of the item is shown. However, we were able to choose from 18 other products that had no price attached to them and we were able to sell them therefore, the idea of being able to buy and sell was not made very clear to us.
Additionally, once we reached 999 points, the points stopped increasing. So, we were unsure as to whether we should continue or change the level of our game.
We think that the app would benefit tremendously from having a few more game features that create a bit of competition within the learner and create an incentive to continue playing the game. There could be some added benefits to gaining points. For example, by gaining points you could acquire more stock and, the more stock you have and the more you sell (i.e. to addition sums), the more overall points that you have. This is just an idea but, we thing that adding a gamification element could really improve the engagement level with the app.
Despite these thoughts and ideas, as an addition app, Shopkeeper+ does exactly what it says on the tin. Endless hours of maths practice!
From the Developer
Shopkeeper+ has been specially designed to add fun to maths. Using this App children will learn to count objects and add numbers, with questions as simple as ‘how many apples’ and as challenging as 10 + 10. The subtle staged approach which uses gold stars as a reward moves from counting objects, into adding a number to some objects before finally adding 2 numbers (between 0 and 10).
The setting is a shop and you are the shopkeeper responsible for counting how many items the customer has in the basket. Each correct answer earns you money which can be used to purchase a wide range of goods to sell in the shop – from apples and carrots to balloons and party hats.
The App is suitable for children from 3 to 7; the cute rabbit characters, the shop scenario and the ability to stock the shelves with goods create the fun whilst the children count and enjoy the experience without thinking they are doing maths!
If you get an answer wrong 3 times, the senior shopkeeper will appear and help you count up to the correct answer.
Shopkeeper + has:
• 3 difficulty levels
• 10 learning levels (the gold stars)
• 4 characters
• 18 types of goods for sale in the shop
• Counting advice from the senior shopkeeper if you get your sums wrong
• A detection system to offer other sums if you keep getting them wrong
• A memory to allow you to return to where you left off if you stop playing
• A reset facility so you or someone else can start the game over again
• Controls to turn the music and sound effects on or off
• An on-going random question generator once 10 gold stars have been won