ABC Shakedown Plus
Release Date:February 12, 2010
Summary:The extended, paid version of ABC Shakedown with two new playing options to further enhance your child's learning experience.
On Tuesday, I wrote a review of ABC Shakedown, a flashcard alphabet app that kids could use to work on their pronunciation skills, language skills, and word-object agreement. I recently became aware of another app by I-itch, called ABC Shakedown Plus, that acts as an extended version of the former – extended not only in size and capability, but extended in quality.
The app contains all the elements within the first game – alphabet flashcards with image and pronunciation tabs – but in addition, the developers tacked on two more game-oriented abilities that add a great deal more dimension that allows children to interact more. The See It, Say It section is a game where the user matches one of the three letters on top to the image pictured below. If a kite is shown, for example, and the letters K, J, Q, appear above, it’s up to the kid to figure out which letter works with the image, and then drag that letter onto the image. The letters are all drawn in a toy cube fashion, and
differentiate from each other with the use of different colors. The user may tap each block to hear the letter pronounced, and then tap the image to hear kite read aloud. The objective is for the user to logically reason which sounds mostly closely mirror each other, and therefore, which letter belongs to that word. Otherwise, if the user chooses incorrectly, the letter will simply disappear. Then it becomes a process of elimination – there are now only two letters left to choose, so obviously, it must be one of them, right? Eventually, your child will get the solution, right, and in the process, understand that J and Q have nothing to do with kite.When the correct letter is dragged onto the image, the image animates for a few seconds, as a reward for the user’s efforts.
The other new play option is Hear It, Hit It. In this section, an image appears below, as is customary, and three dots appear above, in the colors of blue, yellow and red. Each dot, when tapped, gives an audio clip of someone pronouncing a letter, such as “wuh” for W or “juh” for J. Once again, the user has to figure out which sound is appropriate for the image, and then drag that corresponding dot onto the image. If the selection is correct, the user is rewarded with a brief animation, sometimes children cheering and clapping. This section could definitely prove to be challenging for the young mind, and is definitely effective at encourage a memorization of sounds and their corresponding letters, and objects/animals that begin with that particular letter.
ABC Shakedown is what kids apps are meant to be – fun, interactive, and most of all, educational. For any child still learning his A,B,Cs and general language skills, this app is excellent for nurturing that beginning ability, and has a long shelf life due to the time it takes to acquire this ability. The animations could be livelier (how about a lion roaring instead of licking his lips?) to further engage the user, and some of the pronunciations are a little hard to interpret – the “f” sounds more like “shhh” and could just be a technical obstacles given microphones and recording equipment. Also, despite being very interactive, the app lacks any intuitiveness. You must read the directions to figure out how to use it – an older child or adult could obviously figure it out after some tinkering, but a young child definitely needs some direction. After initial instructions – a rubric how to use – it’s easy for a child to navigate. But, these are but a few flaws in an otherwise spectacular app.