For Teachers

For Parents

Duck on the Run

Price: Android - Paid iPhone/iPad - Paid

Teacher Overview

Give your child maths practise as they help Duck evade the clutches of Pig in this colourful and amusing app.  As children play, they will also be helping educationalists understand more about learning, and so will be contributing to science themselves.

Teacher Review

Pig is in hot pursuit of Duck and the player of this app must aid Duck in his attempts to evade capture.  This is done through the answering of a series of maths questions.  Why is a pig chasing a duck?  If the player is unsuccessful you find out that, fortunately for Duck, Pig only wants a few loose feathers to stuff his pillow.  

The game-like graphics and surreal chase add entertainment and charm to what is essentially the answering of a series of maths questions.  The well-animated characters bound through the colourful, scrolling landscape with the distance between them opening up or closing depending upon the accuracy of the given answers.

The game's sound comprises of a jolly version of a classical piece, a few sound effects and some spoken words.  All are high quality.  The speech avoids robot-like speech synthesis and uses an easily understandable child's voice.  The tune, while fitting the game well, can be a little repetitive over extended playing and having a few more to break the repetition would be welcome.

The questions are varied in type and are distinctly presented.  What each question is asking as well as how to answer it is clear.  As well as the common multiple-choice questions, there are other styles of questions where children enter digits, select numbers of objects and so on.  Some questions are purely visual and others give spoken instructions as well as the on-screen cues.

In addition to the main challenge, which has many levels that introduce more complex maths as it goes on,  a number of mini-games can be played in the app.  Each of these covers a different type of maths and, while short, form a good way of ensuring that children understand the aspect of maths that is covered by each mini-game.

A useful feature for schools and parents is that the app can be set up to allow multiple children to use it and save their individual progress.   As well as giving children continuity in the app, and setting them an appropriate start point determined by their age, it lets parents and teachers check on the performance of each user.  A nice touch here is that adults can also record promised rewards within the app for challenges that they have set.  These can either be in-game boons, like extra lives, or real-life promises.  The number of correct answers and the speed with which the questions are answered are recorded and can be analysed over different periods of time.  There are enough spare account slots for most parents but schools will need to pay for extra ones if they wish to give a full class of children access to the app.  

An interesting aspect of this app is that it has been created for another reason as well as providing maths practice for children.  Usage of the app, both its main game and the mini-games, provides data to help academics conduct their research into learning.  This is invisible to the user and if the app's developers did not responsibly make it clear that this was an aspect of the app, you would never know.  The full details are given on the app's website but the key point is that the data is fully anonymised meaning that no child can be identified within it.  The app's cost is said to be set at a subsidised price point, recognising the contribution users are making to furthering understanding of education.  If you would like your child's use of the app not to contribute towards the data, you can pay extra via an in-app purchase.

Duck on the Run is a high-quality app that will make the practising of maths more enjoyable for children.  As with all such apps, it isn't really a game but, by using a style that children will associate with entertainment, it offers a similar level of practice as do worksheets but without the associated boredom. The app will have longevity as it has so many levels in the main challenge and children will be able to revisit it as their understanding of maths grows over time.

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Teacher Certification

Teacher Rating for the appTeacher Rating

Subject Category of the appSubjects

App Advertising or In-App PurchasesSafeguarding

In-App Purchases - Yes

In-App Advertising - No


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Developer Description

Players must use their math skills to save Duck from Pig who wants to use her tail feathers to stuff his pillow. Duck on the Run is an engaging maths app designed to score highly on the four pillars of learning:

• Active learning: Duck can only be saved by solving
math problems
• Engagement in the learning process: No distractions,
especially not from pop-up ads
• Meaningful learning: Build on existing math knowledge
and allow skill-based progression
• Social interaction: Enabling parents to set goals, and
reward achievements

These four pillars differentiate low value and playful apps from apps that enable deep learning.

Duck on the Run is aimed primarily at children between the ages of 4 to 10 years, but offers skill levels for younger children, and challenge teenagers and adults alike. Progression through the game is linked to individual user profiles, encouraging players to master basic skills before progressing. Adults are provided with a control panel that allows them to review individual children’s progress, as well as access all levels of game play.

In addition to being a truly educational game, Duck on the Run uses anonymised data from the app world to support academic research, creating a unique alliance between parents, children and academia. The game is designed as a platform that will constantly evolve, building children’s learning, benefitting from, and contributing to cutting edge research in the field of numerical cognition.

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