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Appidemic: iTrace for iPad

Sections: Appidemic, Features, iDevice Apps, iPad, iPad mini, iPhone/iPod touch/iPad

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Appidemic It’s hard nowadays to find a kid who doesn’t have an iPad for entertainment. Kid starts acting up in a restaurant, the parents pull out an iPad to keep him busy. Bored waiting at the DMV? Mom hands the iPad over playing an episode of Spongebob Squarepants.

As kids get more comfortable with iDevices, app makers are providing more choices in the edutainment field even for younger children, like Elately’s iTrace. Part tracing app, part matching game, iTrace offers parents a way to have their kids use the iPad to learn letters, numbers, and words, rather than just watch mindless entertainment.

How does it work?

iTrace looks and acts like a stylized cartoon desk, with notebooks for upper- and lower-case letters, numbers, words, and even the child’s name. The app offers multiple profiles with large avatar pictures, so kids can easily can easily find their profile rather than hijacking their siblings’ progress. Simple repetitive reinforcement of the strokes required to make each character—as well as a vocal repetition of the letter, number, or word being drawn—teach both the character presented and how to say it.

iTrace

There’s even a mode that lets kids trace their own name with a choice of colored markers.

iTrace

Stars are awarded for successful tracing of characters, and obviously the gold star indicates the best possible performance. Each character gets three attempts, and a picture is then presented representing either an object starting with the letter or a group of objects corresponding to the number drawn. After the picture is presented, a matching game pops up asking the child to identify the object just presented amongst a series of objects.

iTrace even works for left handed kids, via a simple in-app settings switch. Those settings are hidden behind a simple math problem, designed to prevent little hands from making unintended changes; in addition to teaching handwriting to kids, iTrace is a good multiplication refresher for their parents!

iTrace

Parents are also offered a performance tracker, so they can easily see which characters their children are struggling with and which were traced successfully.

Is it contagious?

If you’re between the ages of three and five, yes. iTrace’s colorful graphics and simple interface provide an easy way for kids to approach learning the alphabet and numbers, with plenty of repetition and encouragement to effectively teach and keep kids engaged. The app’s background music, reminiscent of a western saloon’s player piano, is even interesting enough to not drive parents crazy.

Any handwriting book would likely cost about the same, $4, and has the added inconvenience of requiring a writing utensil (crayons usually don’t stay in books, but end up on walls, so you have to factor the cost of cleaning that up, too).

Category: Education
Developer: Elately
Cost: $3.99
Download: iTrace

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