The Kindle Fire has emerged as the clear winner of the second-place prize for tablet supremacy. While it has not dethroned the iPad, the Fire has warranted careful consideration by educators.
In terms of incorporating the device into their lessons, one of the challenges educators have encountered is finding quality educational apps. While Apple has received accolades for its dedicated education area in the App Store, the apps area of Amazon (which produces the Fire) is still in its infancy when it comes to classroom relevance.
Thankfully, EducationWorld has done some of the work for you, combing through the listings of educational apps designed specifically for the Fire and highlighting some of the most noteworthy.
Here are our top picks:
Kids Maps ($1.99) makes geography fun with its interactive map puzzle. Students view a puzzle map of the United States that features fun facts for each state. They must drag the state shape to its correct place on the map. With colorful graphics, easy drag-and-drop functionality and encouraging messages for young people, this app helps students develop hand-eye coordination along with color and shape recognition skills. They'll also learn the state abbreviations.
Math Training for Kids ($1.99, ad-free) is a terrific little app that allows students to choose from three difficulty levels and four math operations: addition, subtraction, multiplication and division. The player can mix and match any combination he wishes to play. This means the game can focus on only addition and subtraction, or focus on all four operations.
For each question, students see five flower pots. Every time they answer a question correctly, a pretty sunflower comes to life. If a player misses a question, she loses a flower. When kids bring five sunflowers to life through the power of math, they get a round of applause and a shimmering shooting star. Lose five flowers, and the game is over.
Peter Pig’s Money Counter (free) lets young people practice sorting and counting coins with the help of a friendly piggy bank. They earn virtual money while learning fun facts about U.S. currency. Students also learn to recognize and sort coins based on value, add up multiple coins, and more. Turn the audio on, and they’ll hear the coins clinking as they move, along with a friendly child's voice reading fun facts.
This app was developed and is sponsored by Visa, so it does feature imagery from the credit company. The app’s educational value does, however, outweigh any concerns about this minimal advertising.
Abby Write and Play ($2.99), designed for students in grades 1-3, provides a fun way to teach word writing. Animated tutorials take students through the process, and talking letter-characters encourage them as they progress. Additionally, students can play a spelling game alone or in teams.