By John Painter on Fri, 02/18/2011
For the past couple of weeks I have been testing an app for teaching children basic language, and word recognition; Early Childhood Development Phase 1 by Alex Melnick which is (.99) at the app store. While the app is geared towards children, I suspect it would also be well suited suited for teaching English as a second language to adults too.
The app is very basic, which is good since its developer has targeted it towards young children who by definition would not have the skills to use a written menu driven interface. Keeping this app pictorial makes it very easy to use. I also makes sense that the app allows the user to tap on a small icon of an image, which then enlarges the image, speaks the name of the image and gives the spelling of the image above it. In this regard, developmentally it may very well help children expand their vocabulary. What concerns me a bit is the lack of any way for a parent to track or measure the amount of time their child is using this app or getting anything from it, there are so many conventional toys which help children expand their vocabulary, and are a lot less costly than an iPhone or iPod Touch, let alone conventional toys being designed to be stepped on, dropped, etc. I don't know how common it is for parents to turn their iOS device over to kindergarten or younger children for play, otherwise the app indeed works well.
What I wish it had was a feature such as an interactive component; see the object, hear the name of the object spoken, see the correct spelling of the object - now you spell the name of the object. Or that a more adult version was targeted towards people learning English (or any language) as a second language. I remember labeling everything in my dorm room (das Zimmer) with stickers which had the article and German word when I was learning German in college, an app like this would have made that second language learning easier since I would be taking the vocabulary and images with me everywhere, and not annoyed my roommates quite as much putting post-it notes on everything.
Overall this is a tight little app, and certainly worth the price. I say buy it.
But if it did just a bit more, I think it would be reasonable to pay more since it could help parents, teachers, or the adult second language learner better understand the progress one is making in vocabulary development. Oh and one more thing, so what is a "wisp of bast"?