What parents need to know
Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that Word Mover is a sandbox-style educational app that allows kids to explore language through moving tiles to create words, phrases, and poems. The app mimics poetry products featuring magnetic word tiles. There are big opportunities for learning with this app; the trick is making sure that kids engage with it with guidance.
What kids can learn
Language & Reading
- text analysis
- cultural understanding
- historical figures
- producing new content
- making new creations
Engagement, Approach, Support
Word Mover is visually appealing; it's fun to experiment with color options while manipulating text. A younger user might be engrossed, but older kids may lose interest more quickly.
There are great creative options built in. It's exciting to take an existing text and modify it, and the app could be a great vehicle for teaching simple lessons about subject-verb agreement or more complex lessons on structure and form.
The walk-through help available within the app and on the associated website is detailed and helpful, and the help screen is easily accessible. The app works well with the iPad's built-in accessibility tools, like text-to-speech.
What's it about?
Kids can choose from five word banks: one with random words and four featuring the text of "Famous Works": the song "America the Beautiful," Abraham Lincoln's Gettysburg Address, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.'s "I Have a Dream" speech, and William Shakespeare's "Sonnet 18." Kids also can add custom word tiles and can print, email, or save finished poems.
Is it any good?
WORD MOVER has all the strengths of the real-world product with some great digital improvements. Those magnetic tiles always seem to have a few key words missing (like conjunctions and verbs), and they're limited to the particular tenses that the manufacturer chose (like did instead of does). Word Mover makes it easy for users to make slight changes to existing words and to add completely new ones. This makes it possible for kids to see how changing word order might mean slight changes to the ways certain words are formed. Kids also can change the sizes of the word tiles, rotate them, and change the background pictures, as well as share their work by saving it the iPad's photos, sending it as an email, or printing.
Word Mover is fun to use, but it does have some limitations. It's time-consuming to add custom words, and it's not clear why the words included in the random word bank are there to begin with. Additionally, the "Famous Works" are offered without any context. It's certainly interesting to be able to engage with "America the Beautiful" and the "I Have a Dream" speech by taking them apart word by word, but parents may want to visit the app's page on ReadWriteThink for ideas on how to extend learning opportunities.
Families can talk about...
Create and save custom word lists. This is the most time-consuming element of the app, but some time spent customizing could make it more valuable and more connected to learning.
Tell kids about what the different famous works are, where they came from, and why the language varies. The ReadWriteThink site offers guidance.