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Apps Analysis

By Stefan Dubowski

Symmetry School

Application icon for 'Symmetry School' app. The icon consists of coloured dots on a grid.

Help your students shape up their geometry skills with this multilingual app that encourages creative thinking, spatial reasoning and problem solving. Choose from two game modes, with three difficulty levels each. In the Reflective Symmetry mode, users match patterns of increasingly complicated geometric shapes. In the Rotational Symmetry mode, players match patterns given a certain degree of rotation.

Each purchase includes access to a whiteboard version and supplemental print activities for teachers. Although iTunes rates it 4+, the app is meant for children aged 9 to 11 and was written according to international curricula.

SOURCE: iTunes, $2.99

Ninjawords Dictionary

Application icon for 'Ninjawords Dictionary.' The icon is a ninja reading a book.

Speed, simplicity and accuracy. Ninjawords exhibits all three. It brings definitions up in a jiff and keeps recently searched words onscreen. The app has a spell-checker, so if the user’s spelling isn’t perfect, it still finds the right word. The pronunciation function allows students to hear what a word sounds like, while the word-of-the-day feature helps them expand their vocabularies. Tech website Daring Fireball says it’s a terrific app — what they’ve been looking for in an iPhone dictionary. It’s rated 17+ but some people believe Apple unfairly flagged the app for including definitions to objectionable words. The developer claims it has removed those definitions.

SOURCE: iTunes, $1.99

My Class Schedule

Application icon for 'My Class Schedule' app. The icon is a blackboard.

As children grow up and their schedules get complicated, staying on top of classes, exams and assignments is key. My Class Schedule provides that support. Available in English, French and several other languages, the app displays class and exam times in a colourful, easy-to-navigate timetable (day and week view), tracks and averages grades, and notifies the user about homework. It even allows students to automatically silence their phones during class. The advanced scheduling feature works with a variety of timetables; just customize the frequency. The free version runs ads, which tend to drain batteries. You may want to spend the $2 to eliminate this problem.

DEVICE: Android
SOURCE: Google Play, free or $1.96
RATING: Everyone