Agnitus - Personal Learning Program

 
(i)

 

Learning(i)

Fun, effective math, language games; distracting design.

What parents need to know

Ease of play

The overall design is sometimes confusing, and navigation isn't always intuitive. For example, some game descriptions mysteriously disappear after a few seconds. However, once kids are in a game cycle, they should be able to continue playing to their heart's content.

Violence & scariness
Not applicable
Sexy stuff
Not applicable
Language
Not applicable
Consumerism

The app is ad-free; parents must pay each month to continue their kids' subscriptions.

Drinking, drugs, & smoking
Not applicable
Privacy & safety

The app is very safe, and kids don't have access to anything that could compromise their privacy or safety. To create an account, parents will need to provide an email address. Parents (or anyone who can hold the "grown-ups" button for three seconds) will receive prompts asking them to post their kids' progress reports to Facebook. The official privacy policy is clear and easy to find on the developer's website.

Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that Agnitus – Personal Learning Program is a collection of math and literacy games that increase in difficulty as kids progress. In addition to teaching academic skills, a few games address other topics, from tooth brushing to career choices. Once kids are in the game cycle, they can play indefinitely, without stopping, so parents may want to set and enforce time limits.

Agnitus is available through a monthly subscription; kids can access all available games, and parents get detailed progress reports (including weekly emails). For parents, there also are numerous opportunities to post information about your kids' progress on Facebook (though parents can always choose not to). There is a free version that allows limited access, and parents and kids can try out the full version with a seven-day free trial.

What kids can learn

Subjects

Language & Reading

  • letter or word recognition
  • phonics
  • reading

Math

  • addition
  • counting
  • numbers
  • patterns
  • shapes
  • subtraction

Skills

Thinking & Reasoning

  • logic
  • memorization
  • prediction
  • problem solving

Engagement, Approach, Support

Engagement

The games are fun with an engaging design, despite the main character's lack of appeal. With so many games and constantly advancing levels, kids are likely to stay interested.

Learning Approach

There's solid learning content within most games. Difficulty grows to target learning. Some usability and design issues get in the way of the learning experience, though.

Support

There's good in-activity support for kids looking for the right answer, but little support for using the program overall. Although grown-ups can get reports, kids can't really see their own progress as they play. 

What kids can learn

Subjects

Language & Reading

  • letter or word recognition
  • phonics
  • reading

Math

  • addition
  • counting
  • numbers
  • patterns
  • shapes
  • subtraction

Skills

Thinking & Reasoning

  • logic
  • memorization
  • prediction
  • problem solving

Kids can learn lots of math and reading skills and get a sprinkling of other knowledge. From counting, spelling, and shapes to self-care skills like tooth brushing and getting dressed, there's a lot here. Most games have solid learning content and address important early math and reading skills. However, usability issues and a few confusing games might get in the way at times. Better navigation and the ability for kids to see their own progress would be a nice touch. Although many individual games in Agnitus can help kids improve their math and literacy skills, kids' overall experience leaves a bit to be desired.

This Learning Rating review was written by Mieke VanderBorght

Kids say

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What's it about?

Kids practice math and language skills like counting, tracing letters, patterns, and letter recognition, among others. Kids can choose where to start, but the games are presented at random and continue indefinitely, until kids click themselves out. As they progress, the material gets more difficult. Kids can collect stars by playing games, although the larger purpose of the stars is unclear. Parents can see very detailed progress reports, which describe what their kids are playing and suggest areas of strength and opportunities for growth.

Is it any good?

QUALITY
 

AGNITUS- PERSONAL LEARNING PROGRAM has lots of well-designed games that provide great practice and opportunities for skill building. The app's biggest strength is the way the challenge level grows, so each student is continuously challenged at his or her level. There's also nice in-game support for kids having trouble choosing the right answer. Detailed progress reports give parents valuable information about what their kids are learning.

However, there are also a few games that are either poorly explained or that present information witout enough context. For example, the purpose of a counting game with different types of food might be confusing to some kids. Also, when a letter-tracing game announces that "L is the shape your left hand makes," more explanation could help kids connect this concept with other knowledge. The app's overall functionality and design leaves something to be desired; games jump from one topic to another, there are "posters" for unrelated games during transitions, and the audio directions sound unnatural.

Families can talk about...

  • Help your kids keep track of progress by showing them the reports.

  • Play along with your kids -- help them bridge what they're learning to off-screen experiences.

  • With so many games, it's easy to lose track of time. Talk about setting screen time limits.

App details

Devices:Mac, Kindle Fire
Pricing structure:Free to Try, Paid
Subscription price:$6.99/month
Release date:October 24, 2013
Category:Education
Topics:Numbers and letters
Size:247.00 MB
Publisher:Agnitus
Version:2.0.0
Minimum software requirements:iOS 5.0 or later;

This review of Agnitus - Personal Learning Program was written by

Common Sense Media's unbiased ratings are conducted by expert reviewers and aren't influenced by the product's creators or by any of our funders, affiliates, or partners.

Quality

Our star rating assesses the media's overall quality.

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Learning ratings

  • Best: Really engaging; great learning approach.
  • Very Good: Engaging; good learning approach.
  • Good: Pretty engaging; good learning approach.
  • Fair: Somewhat engaging; OK learning approach.
  • Not for Learning: Not recommended for learning.
  • Not for Kids: Not age-appropriate for kids; not recommended for learning.

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What parents and kids say

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Parent of a 2 and 5 year old Written byTomArndt November 28, 2013
 

My kid's favorite app - Hands Down!

I'm surprised at the average 3 star learning review. I've seen first hand with both my kids the impact this program has had - the "intuitive" play of this program is easy despite what the review says... unlike a lot of apps that require a lot of text instruction that my child can't do on their own (which frustrates my 5 year old as she wants to do everything on her own) - this program just starts running as soon as one of my children picks their picture and with the games changing from skill to skill on it's own, both my kids will keep interested for a good amount of time (which is great for when we're trying to get dinner on the table!) I actually will lock them in on guided access and it's like having an entire iPad of 40+ apps just for them. Not only does it keep their interest but I'm also able to see what they learned and areas they are struggling which is important to us for our 5 year old. It's helped us focus on some areas of math that she was struggling with which we were able to address with her teacher at school and she's now doing great. My youngest started using this at 2 years old and within 2 months - she was correctly picking out the right colors of balloons and the basic swinging shapes in the games. She was hardly speaking those words yet she could identify them both in the games and in "real life" when we asked her. Best investment for your child if and when they (or you) need some screen time.

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