TABI Learning - Primary school

App review by
Mieke VanderBorght, Common Sense Media
TABI Learning - Primary school App Poster Image
Subscribe for fun topic variety, OK learning potential.

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

Educational Value

Kids can learn about a wide range of topics including reading comprehension, math, science, social studies, and health. The material is meant to align with 3rd, 4th, and 5th grade curricula.   

Ease of Play

It's clear how to navigate through the main menus and answer questions. Some activities, like the house builder, are a bit confusing. 

Violence & Scariness
Sexy Stuff

A subscription model requires that users pay to play. As kids complete activities they earn stars to buy items for their virtual house.

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that TABI Learning - Primary school is a subscription-based, wide-ranging curriculum designed for kids in third, fourth, and fifth grade. Create up to four profiles by providing a user name, and choosing grade level and topics of interest. Parents can provide an email address and create a password to sign in and save and synchronize data, though kids can also play without their parents signing in. The game is available in five different languages, though the activities remain biased towards knowledge of the United States regardless of language choice. Kids should be confident readers as games and activities are all text-based. TABI Learning - Primary school uses stars to reward kids for completing activities. Kids can then use the stars to "shop" at the in-app store for items to decorate their virtual house. Also, the virtual guides both have smart phones and the girl wears makeup, which may conflict with some families' values. Parents must sign up for a monthly or yearly subscription to begin playing, though both start with a seven-day free trial. A subscription costs $7.99/month or $64.99/year and the developers claim that they add new content regularly. Read the developer's privacy policy for details on how your (or your kids') information is collected, used, and shared and any choices you may have in the matter, and note that privacy policies and terms of service frequently change.

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What's it about?

Enter your kid's name, choose from a variety of topics to indicate what interests them, and choose a subscription model (monthly or yearly, each has with seven-day free trial) before starting TABI LEARNING - PRIMARY SCHOOL. Parents can also log in with an email address, or close out that window to play without logging in. Once in, kids see a travel journal with a short list of challenges (e.g., getting a perfect score in a math game) to complete. Tap a challenge, or tap out to get to the main menu, where kids scroll left and right to choose a topic (math, science, health, social studies, books, reading) or activity type (house, play, learn, quiz). Activities are text-based and ask kids to read a story, answer a true/false or multiple-choice question, or place items in the correct spot. If kids answer incorrectly, they can read an explanation of the concept behind the question. Kids collect stars as they play (earn extra stars for completing challenges in the travel journal), which they can use to buy items to decorate a virtual house.

Is it any good?

This wide-ranging curriculum packages a limited number of learning topics in an engaging format, even if the actual learning elements could use some improvement. Fun characters accompany kids on their journey through time and space using short stories and encounters with historical, scientific, and cultural topics. Navigation through the topics is straightforward; the travel log offers a nice way to guide kids through what might otherwise seem like a large-ish database of activities. Yet, despite all the pretty packaging, the nitty gritty of the learning content is a bit disappointing. Questions give no context or background, and activities aren't linked together in any way. For example, when kids get a question wrong, they see a detailed explanation of the learning content. But, it would be nice to have that before kids answer a question, or have the questions embedded in some kind of journey where kids can read about a topic and then answer questions. As is, it's hard to see kids really learning much by answering these questions, especially since kids can easily get them right by chance and then miss the opportunity to learn about the concept behind them. It would also be nice to see connections between the activities to make them feel tied together rather than totally separate units. And a variety of media like videos, audio, or other ways to engage with the material would also be a nice addition. Another small note: there's some content that may give some parents pause. For instance, the two guides are of an unidentified age, but are clearly meant to be somewhere close in age to the kids playing -- and yet they have their own smart phones and the girl wears make up. It's not a huge deal, but some parents may find that that representation doesn’t fit with their family's choices. Some parents may also not be crazy about the stars reward and marketplace model. All in all, TABI Learning - Primary School has potential but may not be right for everyone. Check out the seven-day free trial carefully before deciding whether a subscription is a good choice for your family.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about what topics from TABI Learning - Primary School are most interesting. What do your kids enjoy learning about the most? Help them dig deeper into the subjects that interest them.

  • Discuss the stars reward system and house decoration marketplace. Does this model help your kids want to play more? Does it help them learn? Are they mostly interested in earning stars to spend at the store or in engaging with the learning material -- or both? 

  • It can be easy to lose track of time with an app like this. Talk about your family's rules and expectations about screen time before your kids start playing.                                                                    

App details

  • Devices: iPhone, iPod Touch, iPad
  • Subjects: Language & Reading: reading comprehension, text analysis
    Math: arithmetic, equations, geometry, measurement, probability
    Science: astronomy, electricity, physics, plants, weather
    Social Studies: cultural understanding, geography, history, the economy
  • Skills: Health & Fitness: balanced diet, hygiene and self care, exercise
  • Price: Free to try
  • Pricing structure: Free to try (seven-day free trial, then 7.99/mo. or $64.99/year)
  • Release date: November 5, 2019
  • Category: Education
  • Topics: Dinosaurs, Adventures, Brothers and Sisters
  • Size: 293.60 MB
  • Publisher: TABI Labs
  • Version: 1.2
  • Minimum software requirements: iOS 9.0 or later
  • Last updated: November 22, 2019

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