AD – we were gifted a subscription in return for this post. All opinions are my own.
As a parent in the modern day, It seems like the generation gap between you and your kids has never been larger. For those of us who grew up watching Saturday morning cartoons on big, blocky television sets, it’s a wonder to see how far we’ve come in a few short decades.
Screens are portable and slimmer than ever, and almost everything can be found on-demand.
As parents, we’re no strangers to getting with the times. We’re always looking for the best technology to help our children progress with their education.
There are plenty of educational apps out there for kids of all ages, but it’s a challenge to find anything entertaining enough for them to stick to. Is it possible to find an iPad app that strikes that balance–fun enough for kids to love using, but holistic enough to ensure they’re learning well?
KidSmart is here to fix this problem!
KidSmart was developed by Baljeet Dogra, a dad wanting to make learning more enjoyable for his daughter, he was unhappy with the apps available on the market as he felt he couldn’t adequately measure progress and how his child was learning.
Kids and teachers used the app all throughout development process, and their feedback was vital when creating the app.
Using cutting edge technology to teach important concepts young pupils need in school, KidSmart ensures kids ages 4 to 11 understand and retain that information– and come back for more.
KidSmart is an iPad app for kids ages 4 – 11 that help them learn in a fun and interesting way. The app aims to improve English and maths skills to get children ready for their 11 plus exams. We were gifted a subscription to KidSmart for this post. I was keen to give William, my 9 year old, a helping hand for his 11 plus. I also thought Phoebe (8) and Daniel (4) would benefit too.
Now you’re probably asking, “How is it effective?”, “How is it fun?”, “How is it interesting?”
Well, keep on reading!
What does KidSmart do?
KidSmart strives to educate and support young children’s Maths, English, and Vocabulary abilities through the use of games, worksheets, classroom examples, jokes and videos. The children access these activities in the format of a list which is specific for each subject, this allows the children to understand what to expect in their 11+ exams.
The variety in activities makes KidSmart more entertaining, learning through games and videos is proven to be a more effective educational approach than dull worksheets.
KidSmart allows the user to have a maximum of four profiles under one account, perfect for large families and studying with friends- allowing everyone to get involved. You can customise each profile, which they all love.
KidSmart helps young kids develop and pick-up cognitive skills, as well as being suitable for older kids who are looking to expand on the skills they have previously obtained. These skills are essential, not only for their 11+ exams but for their studies beyond!
The app is able to adapt to the user’s difficulty levels, allowing your kids to progress at a speed suitable to their abilities. As the child keeps playing and completing activities they will find that the upcoming activities will become more challenging as difficulty will increase. As the pace increases your child will become more confident and their abilities to think on their feet will increase. As well as the app increasing in difficulty as time goes by, the use of repeated exercises are applied, encouraging accuracy, reinforcing their knowledge and independent thinking.
KidSmart understands that school is paramount in your child’s development, but let’s be honest: sometimes it can become dull. KidSmart allows kids to learn at any point of the day, with no 9am-3pm restrictions.
The use of gamification creates a fun way of learning, with the aim of kids associating learning with fun and feel-good experiences. Essentially children don’t realise that they are learning when they are playing games they enjoy.
Reward Your Child With Real Gifts!
Nothing motivates a child more than rewards. These rewards may be in the form of toys, gadgets, food, and even trips!
One of the things that make KidSmart great is that you can add these rewards into the app and set a target of when your child gets the gift.
Seeing what’s waiting for them periodically will really motivate your child. I’ve set a couple of rewards for mine, things like a magazine and Minecraft skin packs, collectibles and a trip to Mcdonald’s.
Incentive based learning has been shown to increase productivity, whether a person is a child or an adult, rewards will always prove to incentivise people. You can see below I’ve added a Minecraft skin pack for William, and it shows how many kidcoins he needs for it.
Levels of Difficulty
KidSmart believes that 11+ preparation is not about being able to solve complex problems but about being able to apply critical thinking to any types of problems.
You can moderate the difficulty level anytime you want. So if your child gets stuck at a level, you can always go back a level.
You Get More Control
Aside from having control over the levels of difficulty, you can also track their daily activities, their progress for each topic, and strength review!
Strength review allows you to monitor your child’s progress with regards to speed, accuracy, concentration, etc. This way, you can customise their learning plan.
If Your Child Needs Help:
One of the goals of this app is to promote self-learning. That’s why we’ve provided in-app explanations and answers, oxford dictionary, and videos. If my son doesn’t understand the terms used, he can use the search function to check. At first, he tried to do it too quickly, but once I explained it’s not a speed trial, and you get no extra points for fast completion, he slowed down. The hints are great, too. You can retake the sections as many times as you like.
One of the standout features of the app is that there is always an option to consult real-life tutors from within the app via its chat feature. KidSmart works with tutors to give support in real-time whenever a student is stuck on a particular question. You can also schedule a one-to-one tutoring session via the app. Be careful though, my tech savvy son found the messaging section and sent them every emoji under the sun.
Conventional Tutoring is a great option for many students, but it can become very pricey. With the average tutor in the UK charging hourly at an average rate of £30, it adds up quickly. It’s also more difficult to monitor our kids’ progress this way, and it is more difficult to keep them stimulated.
Essentially with KidSmart you are gaining the benefit of full time tutors for a fraction of the cost and can measure it through data. Overall I think this is an amazing perk of the app. Even if you got it temporarily for a couple of months to prepare for the 11 plus, it works out great value for money.
Another great feature of the app is that progress reports from KidSmart are regularly available via the Parental Controls menu.
This is a great way to track strengths and weaknesses your kids are working on as they use the app. Any concepts they may be stuck on can be lessened in difficulty so they can work them out at a more controlled pace.
While the activities and exercises are authored by experienced professionals with years of 11+ tutoring experience, it’s still possible to run into typos or errors as you use the app. Tapping the flag button and leaving feedback or corrections notifies KidSmart, where the team will get to work on fixing the problem right away. Parents are also welcome to request new features to the KidSmart team.
Is Gamification the future?
KidSmart put the science of gamification into learning with:
- A Feel good factor – games triggers the release of dopamine which is a feel-good hormone!
- Increase speed – it promotes quick decision making which has long-term effects for even subjects like Math!
- Improve accuracy – repeatedly playing games improves the accuracy of the played content. That’s why we utilise this to improve the accuracy of solving math problems and correctly spelling words.
The best thing?
KidSmart offers a 14-day free trial, so get on it! Search for the App in the app store for your iPad.
Kickstart your child’s learning habits as early as now!