Wordflex Touch Dictionary

App review by
Amanda Bindel, Common Sense Media
Wordflex Touch Dictionary App Poster Image
Dynamic, highly visual resource makes exploring words fun.

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A lot or a little?

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

Educational Value

Kids can learn all about words: definitions, spelling, pronunciation, word origins, synonyms, other tenses, and related words. Sourced by three Oxford references including the largest, most exhaustive compilation of words in print, the app allows kids to explore and interact with words visually. The nodes branching out from the word, creating a tree-like structure, can be easily manipulated and show kids how complex words are while breaking down each aspect of the word into small, simply understood chunks. WordFlex Touch Dictionary is an amazing interactive dictionary that can deepen kids' engagement with and understanding of words.

Ease of Play

Controls are intuitive, and detailed tutorials explain how to use the app, but kids easily explore on their own.

Violence

Contains excellent definitions of terms, including words relating to violence.

Sex

Contains excellent definitions of terms, including words relating to sex.

Language

This exhaustive dictionary includes vulgar slang and profanity.

Consumerism
Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

Contains excellent definitions of basic terms, including slang.

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that WordFlex Touch Dictionary is an even better learning experience than perusing a hardbound dictionary and discovering words. And just as kids often like to explore shocking language in the dictionary, they can in the app -- and they can even hear the word pronounced aloud or share a word-tree poster via social media of the word, its meaning, and synonyms. There's nothing here language-wise that isn't available to kids in any dictionary, but the presentation of the words really sets this educational app apart. Because kids can share via email and social media, parents might want to talk about what's appropriate to share and what's not. Read the app's privacy policy to find out what information is collected and shared.

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What's it about?

WORDFLEX TOUCH DICTIONARY is a dictionary -- three, actually, including the largest, most exhaustive compilation of words in print -- that kids can explore and interact with visually. Kids start by searching for a word, even without precise spelling. For example, typing the word "excess" also offers the word "excel" as an option floating onto the screen. Tap the intended word, and the dictionary entry expands like a tree, showing dozens of similar words grouped in branches demonstrating the subtleties of meaning for each. These trees and branches can be shaped and rearranged.

Is it any good?

Looking up words in the dictionary can seem methodical and even boring, but kids will actually enjoy looking up words and playing around on this innovative reference tool. By exploring, kids can develop a depth of understanding for old and new words and broaden their vocabularies. The app's breadth and interactivity are also impressive. Picture the huge unabridged dictionary sitting on a pedestal in the library, the one kids are afraid to touch because it's so heavy. Add to that a personal tutor pointing out all the connections that a word has with other words. Then make it visually appealing and compact enough to be accessed at the touch of a button on the iPad, and you get an idea of the power of this educational resource. The controls are pretty intuitive, but kids can review the Quick Start Guide for a short tutorial, the Comprehensive Guide for a more detailed manual, or the Touch Gestures link for a short list of screen maneuvers. The information page includes a link to the developer's website, which features a short video showing how to interact with the word trees. Though pricey as far as apps go, it costs substantially less than buying the multiple Oxford dictionary and thesaurus titles covered in this app.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Encourage kids to "look it up" when they need spelling or definition help. And then encourage them to explore and discover more about that word or different words like it.

  • Work with kids to compare and contrast the experience looking up a particular word in a traditional dictionary and the experience of looking up a word in the app.

App details

  • Device: iPad
  • Subjects: Language & Reading: vocabulary, writing clearly
  • Skills: Tech Skills: using and applying technology
  • Price: $3.99 for full version
  • Pricing structure: Paid, Free
  • Release date: December 3, 2012
  • Category: Education
  • Size: 825.80 MB
  • Version: 2.0.2
  • Minimum software requirements: iOS 7.0 or later. iPad only

For kids who love words

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