Money Up! - Learn to use the Next Dollar Up method

App review by
Christy Matte, Common Sense Media
Money Up! - Learn to use the Next Dollar Up method App Poster Image
Pricey currency education is solid but sells itself short.

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A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this app.

Educational Value

Kids can learn to count bills, decide if they have enough money, and count out how much money they need. They can also start to recognize different denominations.

Ease of Play

Most of the app is self-explanatory. The activities could use some additional prompting and wrong-answer support. Also, the introductory video could be more descriptive.

Violence & Scariness
Sexy Stuff

Several activities focus on buying items. There are no in-app purchases or ads.

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that Money Up! - Learn to use the Next Dollar Up method is designed to help kids, people with autism and developmental disabilities, stroke victims, and others who struggle with handling money. It specifically teaches players to round up to the next full dollar amount. While a video shows the method, users may need additional explanation about what's happening. The experience is highly customizable from the type of currency to the background color to the ability to add grocery items of your own, and it's available in Spanish. The app is designed by an Australian company, and some of the food items will be unfamiliar to kids in other countries (Vegemite, for example). On a related note, the pronunciation and spelling of certain words will differ from that in the United States, which may be confusing for some audiences. It's suitable for classroom use, as you can create a list of student profiles. Users should be able to recognize numbers and follow basic directions. Coins aren't included on the United States currency list. Read the app's privacy policy to find out about the types of information collected and shared.

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What's it about?

MONEY UP! - LEARN TO USE THE NEXT DOLLAR UP METHOD is a teaching tool for learning to recognize and count currency. The administrator can choose between six types of currency: Australia, United States, United Kingdom, Canada, New Zealand,  and European Union. They can also customize the shopping list with favorite or familiar items. Lastly, they can create profiles for each user to help with tracking progress. Each profile has its own customizable options, including how many successful answers are needed for a "reward," the domination of bills to use, the highest dollar amount to work with (up to $50), and some other features. The administrator can also determine which of the activities the player can access. 

There are seven learning activities. "Recognising Money" simply asks the player to find a certain denomination of bill. "Basic Practice" has a visual and an audio level; users need to figure out how much money to give to cover the dollar amount shown/said. "How Much Money?" requires players to add up the dollar bills to figure out how much money they have. "Handing Over Money" is an audio activity where players need to count out the amount of money the app asks for. In "Shopping Basics," players hand over enough money to cover a specific item. This is an audio activity, but the administrator can have the price shown on the screen as well. "Do You Have Enough?" shows a list of items, gives the total cost verbally, and then asks players if they have enough money based on the currency shown on the screen. When the player successfully answers five questions, they have the option of playing either a balloon pop game or a coin drop game. Administrators can see reports with the number of correct answers and skills mastered. They can share these via email or any other sharing option on the device.

Is it any good?

Being able to customize so many aspects makes this a boon for currency practice, but the lack of learning support, overall engagement, and its price tag take away from its appeal. Money Up! - Learn to use the Next Dollar Up method has a lot going for it. Profiles allow you to track the progress of a whole classroom full of kids and even share/print the results. As kids progress, adults can increase the types of bills (there are no coins in the U.S. currency) and the total amount they can work with. The reward for successfully completing a level isn't all that motivating, however. Tapping a balloon and sliding a basket to catch coins is neither exciting nor innovative. It would be great to have a shopping game or something that supports the overall learning goals. In terms of reinforcement, the character says, "Brilliant!" and "Well done!" over and over, but there are no audio prompts for incorrect answers. Kids only have one shot to get the answer right, which is also frustrating. Once they see it's wrong, it would be helpful to get a chance to fix the mistake. Overall, there are a lot of positive elements, but it may not be a great fit for all kids -- or wallets.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about currency and making change in real life and in Money Up! - Learn to use the Next Dollar Up method. Set up your own "store," and have your child practice "buying" things so they learn to recognize and count out money.

  • Talk about the math involved with handling money and the basics of fiscal responsibility. Why might you want to save money? If you gave money to a charitable organization, what would it be?

App details

  • Devices: iPhone, iPod Touch, iPad
  • Subjects: Math: counting, money
  • Price: $15.99
  • Pricing structure: Paid
  • Release date: May 19, 2017
  • Category: Education
  • Size: 94.70 MB
  • Publisher: pkclSoft
  • Version: 2.0
  • Minimum software requirements: iOS 8.0 or later
  • Last updated: June 29, 2017

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