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Wednesday, July 24, 2013

App Review: Futaba Classroom Games

I have recently discovered Futaba Classroom Games this summer and I am sure glad I did! This app is hands down one of my new favorites, mostly due to the customization and the ability to share teacher created content between devices (I'll get to that later). There is so much to discuss with this app, but I'm going to do my best to keep it short and sweet.

Price: As of current it is listed in iTunes for $6.99.  I'll be honest, that is a little more than I like to spend on my apps. That said-this app is totally worth the money! You will get so much use out of this app; it really is like purchasing multiple subject matter apps all within one! I'd recommend that you try out the free version: Futaba Word Games for Kids just to see what it is about.  But know that you will get a lot more with Futaba Classroom Games.  If you only have 1 or 2 iPads in your classroom this app should be at the top of your list!

What this app is all about: Futaba Classroom Games is a quiz based app that lets you pick the content of the quiz. Sounds basic, but what makes it super cool is its many customisable features.  You can use the app in 2 different modes: practice mode for 1 player or multi-player mode for up to 4 players. When students succeed in the app they acquire a Futaba (an animated seedling) which is rewarding without being distracting.  As the teacher you can customize your own games from provided sets of questions (most of your basic concepts already have question sets made) or you can create a game with any content you want! Another great feature of Futaba is that you can easily share your customized quizzes among the different devices in your school or even to student devices at home through the use of their free Futaba Cloud Service.

Why we are fans:

  1. Multi-player ability. That alone is a huge asset!  Even if you have multiple iPads it is a fun challenge for the students to work together and challenge each other in the multi-player mode.  I feel it is important to teach students about competition and how to be a good sport, so it is great that Futaba combines those social skills with academic learning and technology! My students this summer are hooked on this game and that has a lot to do with the multi-player mode.
  2. Customized content. You can create quizzes about anything you want, using images or text as the questions.  For example: In the fall my students spend a great amount of time learning each others names and using their names as an introduction into reading.  I can easily make a quiz that shows the images of my students and teachers in the classroom and they get to match the names to the people. Super engaging for my students, easy to create using the camera feature in the app, and exactly the type of activity to introduce my students to using iPads and working together. The other great customization piece with Futaba Classroom Games is the ability to add auditory clues to your images and answers. This allows for vocabulary reinforcement for all of my students and really takes the practice portion of this app to the next level.  
  3. Futaba Cloud Service. It is free, it is easy to use, and it really is a necessity for teachers who create customized content within an app.  Our number 1 way to make an app better is typically to have a way to share content between devices.  Futaba took care of this want with their Cloud Service.  After you create a customized quiz you can share it with any other device that has Futaba Classroom Games on it. You generate a code and then share the code with whomever you'd like.  Not to spell out the obvious, but this means that you only need to make your quizzes ONCE! That is terrific! Take my classroom names game I mentioned earlier. If I want everyone to have access to it on their devices I don't have to go around to each device, take new pictures, create the questions again..... all I have to do is create it once and share the code! Got to love easy!

What we would change: Not much. But I do really wish that the default content that is already provided for you as questions sets (ie matching upper- and lowercase letters, counting...) would have the option to have the auditory clues when the image appears onscreen.  For example, if my students are matching upper- and lowercase letters I would really like to be able to have the app say "T" when the image of the T appears on screen. I can go through and make my own upper- and lowercase matching quiz where I have auditory clues easy enough, but it just would be nice to have that choice already in place.

Well that wasn't really short----but it was sweet! Overall Futaba Classroom Games is a great app to take the use of technology in the classroom to another level! If you want to learn more about the app check out INKids website or even this great walk through about Futaba created by Nathan Dumbleton from iPadagogy on youtube. Don't forget to follow our blog so you can be the first to read our upcoming review about another INKids app: Math Champ Challenge!

1 comment:

  1. curious - what state are you in. I have installed the app on our ipads in South Australia but I think the departmental proxy is blocking access to the Futaba Cloud Server as I cannot create an account. Any ideas?