Age: 2 and up
Endless ABC is an animated game that allows children to learn their alphabet, spelling, word definition, and letter sounds in a monster themed game. The game starts with choosing a beginning word letter to work on, followed by the word outlined in the middle.The letters are spread among the page where it is encouraged for the children to drag the letter to the correct spacing. While the child is dragging the letter it turns into a monster and pronounces the sound that the specific letter makes. After the word is correctly spelled there is an animated cartoon of monsters doing the specific actions of the word and a verbal definition. It creates interest for children and their want to successfully finish the word in order to see the cartoon next. This is not only educational for children but entertaining for everyone!
I know, another educational game that is repetitive and boring. That was my initial thought when I started to look for educational games on the web, until I found Endless ABC. I decided to pay the very inexpensive fee and tested it out. Did I find it entertaining and fun? Why I certainly did! I spent about 20 minutes going through the game, and found myself giggling at the animated characters as they made their funny sounds and actions. I believe this app would be a great tool for preschool and kindergarten students as it a basic everyday tool that is instructive, follows the curriculum, but also allows independent work for each child. The app allows children to work from small words to big words, allowing developmental appropriateness to be chosen by educator or student. As described in Practical guidelines for evaluating educational software, “Hypermedia puts learners in control of their own learning experiences, allowing them to select the content, methods, materials, and activities that suit their own needs, interests, and abilities. Thus, it enhances not only cognition and learning, but learner motivation as well (Spitzer 1996).” For example, if words are too easy for a student they can skip words to harder ones. If a student needs extra help with “A” words they can stay on the letter and complete each “A” word as it progressively gets harder. Endless ABC is updated monthly with new words allowing constant learning by the child and non- repetitive material. Also, this game is inquiry based. Children are able to learn and how control over their learning
The best features of Endless ABC in my opinion is the ability to have numerous forms of multi-media that allows most learning styles to be active in the game. “This multisensory approach promotes information storage and retrieval (both visual and auditory coding into memory networks), fosters motivation (provides more enjoyment], and accommodates students with diverse learning styles and preferences (Ayersman 1996).” The ability to see the letters, hear the letters sounds when they are touched, put the letter in a word context, define the word with a cartooned definition as well as verbal touches almost every learning style available through educational programs. This is called graphic phonetic awareness, an educational tool used in most schools allowing inclusiveness to all children through these different methods which subsides with most schools exclusivity policy. Furthermore, Endless ABC does not condone negative feedback but rather uses different sounds such as ” uh oh” or ” uh uh” to communicate that the child may want to try again with their placement. This allows the children to not be discouraged about their choice but rather entertained and directed to a different answer. It’s great that after a child has successfully accomplished the word a clapping and cheering sound comes on, encouraging positive reinforcement with the child’s decision!
The limitations of this software are the inability to draw the letters after practice. As it is meant for a younger age group whom are learning their alphabet, reading, and sound associations I believe it would be beneficial for children to also be able to use their finger and tracing and/or free hand drawing the letters and words for practice. Also, students are not able to interact socially with other students unless they are partnering to play the game or attaching the software to a larger screen. Children may use teamwork in accomplishing the tasks but it may be hard in sharing a rather small device among more then two or more children.
Tips and recommendations I would give for childcare professionals that would like to implement Endless ABC into their classroom would be to thoroughly explain the software before allowing a child to independently use it, especially younger children. The concepts are pretty simple to catch on to, but all children learn differently and we must be inclusive to all needs. By describing how to use the app it will allow the children to move from specific letters to words, understand why the monsters are making the letters sounds while their touched, and how to independently determine what they would like to do within the app. Another recommendation is to interact with the child while playing the game. We know that children enjoy the company of adults and are able to learn better when interacting among an educator. So take some time out and spend some quality time with the children playing the Endless ABC!
Practical guidelines for evaluating educational software .June S Goyne; Sharon K McDonough; Dara D Padgett.The Clearing House; Jul/Aug 2000; 73, 6; Research Library pg. 345