App: Learning Money with Leo by Royal Bank of Canada for the iPad
Grade Level: Kindergarten to Grade 2
What it does: Learning Money with Leo is an app that helps students understand the concept and value of money...or at least that's what the app claims to do. The currency used is Canadian, so this is specific to residents of Canada.
How's the App: Learning Money with Leo is interactive, provides students with fun activities to do involving money. It caters, in some ways, to young learners as most of the directions are voiced-over rather than written. But upon further examination, I end up unsure what age this app is for, and where the learning occurs. The match up game is easy to use, however the words on the left hand side would be difficult for younger learners to read and for some reason this is the only place where the app will not read words for you. The activities such as Spot the Difference, My Sticker Book and even the Read Along Story are fun, but other than a passing mention of money, such as coins in the picture, there is no actual learning about money. The Gather the Coins activity has actual coins in it, and there is a running tally of how much you have collected, but again the coins seem to be a secondary element and have little influence on the player. In Solve the Coin students move the iPad to help a coin go into the matching coin box, but the coin is never identified, so it is really just about matching a picture that happens to be a coin. The activity where students may actually learn about money in any meaningful way is Sort the Coin, because at least when the student touches a coin, it tells the player how much that coin is worth, but even this activity is very basic and the game actually shows you where to put the coin by flashing the piggy bank, so I do wonder how much the child is learning. All in all I would not call this an educational app, though that is the category it is under. I feel this is one of those cases where having students explore actual money and practice purchasing things in real life is far more helpful than an app.
What it could be used for: Exposing students to coins and their value, in a very limited way. You could use the read along story for language arts.
Rating: 1 out of 5