Math Board, by Paul Schmitt
• Great practice for kids to learn basic math
• Lots of options available
• All questions are multiple choice
• No “rewards” built in
• No landscape mode
MathBoard is an iPad only app designed to help kids learn their math facts. My daughter was doing her math facts in 1st grade, so I thought this would be a great app to help her learn. Overall it is a good app, but there are a few minor points I would like to see addressed. I thought about making this a Kids Corner app (since it is aimed at kids) but it is so nicely done I want to make sure everyone sees it!
MathBoard is designed to look like someone writing on a chalk board. For people in my generation, that may make sense, but kids these days all use smart boards, dry erase boards, or other kinds of boards so they may loose the beauty of the design. MathBoard is an app to help kids learn their math facts – ranging from simple addition and subtraction to squares, square roots, and more. The first thing you notice with this app is the number of settings – you can create a specialized problem list depending on what your child is studying. Focusing only on addition, adding number to the number 4? You can set that. Focusing on all basic mathematic functions with numbers one through ten, you can do that as well.
You can choose the mathematic functions (addition, subtraction, multiplication, division, squares, cubes, and square roots) – choosing either one function or combining multiple ones. You can choose the length of the “quiz”, ranging from just one question up to 250 questions (and as you are taking the quiz, the app tells you if you got it correct or not!). You can choose a minimum number value, a maximum number value, a “required” number, and if negative numbers can be used. You can also set a time limit – either as a count down, as a timer, or no time limit at all.
As you take the quiz, based on your parameters, the app keeps track of your score. There is also a “scratch pad” area at the bottom, where you can jot down notes or make calculations as needed (my daughter was using it to make little tick marks for addition). At the end of the quiz, you are told how many you got correct (and the percentage), as well as how fast you did it (if you had a timer going). You can choose to review your incorrect answer, or save the results of a quiz. Unfortunately there is no way to track progress – it would be nice to be able for people to have their own profiles to see how they are improving (showing graphs of the scores, for example).
One minor concern with the app is that all answers are multiple choice. While the app does a good job of coming up with “reasonable” incorrect answer, it would be nice to be able to have free form answers as well, for more advanced children. This may be more difficult (presumably requiring either some sort of number writing recognition, or an input pad for people to input their answer) but it would be a great way to allow more advanced kids to continue to use the app.
I would also love to see some sort of built in “reward” system – where kids can set a goal, and if they meet the goal, they get to do something fun (or do something like every correct answer uncovers part of a picture, and they have to guess the picture). From my experience, small inconsequential rewards like that really help kids maintain focus.
All in all, this is a great app for any children in from 1st grade up to probably 4th or 5th grade. It helps them practice their math – even complex functions like square roots and cubes! The design is nicely done, and it has a lot of customizable settings to allow a parent to create an age and grade appropriate exam. At $2.99, this app is well worth it for parents who want to help their kids learn math. Five out of five stars.
* = No redeeming qualities or features, probably not worth it even if it is free
** = Few redeeming qualities, or is simply isn't worth the price
*** = Some good features but also some clear flaws.
**** = A solid app, worth the money if interested, a few flaws or problems or slightly overpriced
***** = Top of the line app, no problems or drawbacks.
Price is factored into the ratings. Ratings are lowered if I feel the price of the app outweighs the benefits/enjoyment/features it provides. Likewise, an app that is a good value for the money will have a higher rating.