Learnia

Price: Android - Free iPhone/iPad - Free

Teacher Overview

Learnia is an app that wants to look good as it educates.  Its 3D graphics are used intelligently by its well-constructed learning activities that cover both maths and spelling.

Teacher Review

Learnia is an app that wants to look good as it educates.  Its 3D graphics are used intelligently by its well-constructed learning activities that cover both maths and spelling.

Learnia is a spelling and maths app designed to be attractive to look at as well as useful to children in the early stages of their numeracy and literacy learning.  To this end, it has been developed to provide all of its content in a vibrantly coloured 3D world.  

Clearly, a lot of effort has been put into the app's presentation and it forms a welcoming environment in which children can learn.  This is complemented by excellent sound and narration supporting the tasks.  Instructions and questions are spoken aloud ensuring that current literacy skills need not be a limitation to engaging with the app.

The learning takes the form of explanations, practise exercises, and timed tests.  In the practise exercises, children can take their time and experiment and think about the maths that they are doing.  These would also be useful for teachers to use to provide explanations, either on a one-to-one basis or projected on to a class display.  The tests are timed and award gold, silver or bronze trophies depending upon the child's performance.   

Many maths questions are answered by manipulating items into groups - something that strengthens the conceptual knowledge being practised.  Even where the answer is given as an inputted digit, objects are available to help with reasoning and thinking.

Where a digit is required to be entered, an on-screen keyboard can be brought up by quickly tapping on the text box.  A really nice touch is that, alternatively, the digit can be written out and interpreted by the app.   The character recognition hits the sweet spot of requiring reasonable accuracy without being overly picky.  Writing the digit provides a nice fluidity to answering the questions and will help children to transfer their skills to written work.

Spelling questions are answered in a variety of ways too.  In the one most closely resembling a conventional spelling test, the app reads out a word and how it is used in a sentence.  Children then type in the answer.  Slightly easier variants show the word before scrambling it and adding other letters.  Usefully for teachers, the words that are tested on each level can be accessed in advance and are often grouped on a theme in the later levels or by the letters that they use on earlier ones.

Some of the words, their usage, and their spellings, mark out the app's origins as North American and might cause confusion for children in the UK unfamiliar with the differences between the spelling conventions of US and UK English.  They are in the minority of the given words, though.

Children are not held to using a single device as, if they have been allocated an email address, they can pick up their activities across multiple devices.  Adults can also use these to monitor their children's development and progress with the app.

Learnia is available as a free download that contains enough content to make it easy to appraise its value to your children's education.  From this base, you can extend its coverage of spelling and maths by three levels each corresponding to the U.S. grade years but which are not too dissimilar to the equivalent years in the English system.  The maths also follows the U.S. Common Core Standards but, again, these are close enough to what children in the U.K will be doing at the same stage to remain useful and relevant.

Learnia probably won't surprise you with the type of learning activities that it offers which are mostly variations on those found in other apps but there are lots of them offering many different types of interactions.  These activities are wrapped up in a stylish and polished package that looks distinctly different to others.  For children jaded by other learning apps, this might be the attraction that they need to encourage them to engage with and learn from the app.

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Screenshots

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From the Developer

Learning Apps have finally gone 3D!
Learnia has a beautiful world for kids to explore.

* Hundreds of lectures, challenges and exercises.
* Interface designed for tablets specifically.
* Fun 3D world for kids to explore.
* Math and spelling grade 1 to 3.
* Math follows the Common Core.
* Kids are in charge of their learning.
* Many free lessons. No subscription model.

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