Wednesday, November 6, 2013

When 'wrong' can mean 'right'

Over on our Facebook Fan page we hold a regular discussion time, where you can ask all our fans for advice.  If you have a question to ask, please head over to our Facebook page where you can easily enter your question for discussion by using the Questions tab.  Erin did this and asked the following question:

Hey I was wondering if there is an app that encourages to get right answers and makes a huge deal on how it's bad to get answers wrong" Does any one have ideas of apps or anything that will help a child that thinks getting the wrong answer is fun and will do it on purpose?

I had this same issue with Chatterbox.  She also likes to just choose every option until she happens to get the right one.

Erin's question received the following comments:
Nicole said:  My son does the same thing!

Amy commented:  I always thought that was a normal developmental stage!

Jennifer directed our fans to: TeachTown

Cheryl thought: I would think any of the apps that give no response for wrong answers but lots of bells and whistles for right answers might help.

Leah concurred:  I think Cheryl has the right idea.

Cara suggested:  Don't be discouraged by your kiddo doing the wrong answers on purpose because she maybe learning in a different direction then most but he still learns the right answer by default. He learns all the wrong answers first. It may be a round about way but he is still finding the way eventually. "After we had conducted thousands of experiments on a certain project without solving the problem, one of my associates, after we had conducted the crowning experiment and it had proved a failure, expressed discouragement and disgust over our having failed to find out anything. I cheerily assured him that we had learned something. For we had learned for a certainty that the thing couldn't be done that way, and that we would have to try some other way."  The quote above comes from an interview with Edison that was published in the January 1921 issue of American Magazine.

Cory commented:  Try Bitsboard... it’s a great learning app and if you pick up the wrong answer it just takes that selection away and you have to keep at it until you get the correct one. – 

Kathleen replied:  What’s hard about even Bitsboard is it allows for systematic guessing.  My daughter will just guess every answer, right to left, until she gets it correct.  A smart adaptation but defeats the learning opportunity!  Teach Me Toddler is a good one but not very challenging – Teach Me Kindergarten and above allow the guessing.  Any apps that praise the right answer, but don’t allow you to guess every single possibility before getting it correct?

Amy recommended:  Turn off the sound completely and be the correct answer cheerer!  That way there is no reinforcement for wrong answers.

Joan said:  I had a student with autism work on the Hearbuilders program – not an app but computer.  Loved picking wrong answers and laughing.  One day I told him I wouldn’t let him use the program if he didn’t try for the correct answers, and much to my surprise, actually complete the program!! When he worked on You Are A Social Detective, he liked the mid game rewards so he worked hard to get those correct.  Maybe stop for game mid way??!!

Tia thought:  It sounds like the reaction is more important than the answer... try focusing more on “how” to do something rather than the “correct” answer... or remove the electronics... being wrong isn’t as fun when there is no loud sounds, buzzer, lights... or adult giving you a reaction... just my opinion.

Amy stated:  I’m totally OK with him getting the wrong answers and getting a good laugh – he loves the experience, and now understands cause and effect; I actually think the reaction and fun helps take the stigma away from "wrong" and encourages trying things with less fear.   As a middle school teacher, I wish more of my kids were less stressed and fearful about "wrong'-- so many of them shut down when they don't succeed on the first try. It's about learning and growing-- most of us can't do things right the first time we try them and we need to know its ok to keep trying so we can get better. We're so driven by performance we've lost the love of learning. I'll be keeping the silly sounds.

Jennifer said:  If they are choosing the wrong answer on purpose, then they know the right answer.  The knowledge is the goal.  Don’t sweat it.

Rachel mentioned:  Mine figured it out when they had to re-do assignments.

Laura asked:  How old is the child? Apps for very small children should children should be fun and just because they are choosing the WRONG answer does not mean they are not learning.  And I do not believe it is BAD to get wrong answers.  All throughout history famous people decided to go with the wrong answer and later were found to be correct.  A few that come to mind: Lister (germs), Copernicus (earth rotates around sun).  And a very simple solution if it is the sound is REMOVE the sound by turning it down.  Just the two cents of a momma with 8, homeschooler of 15 years.

Beth commented:  We have a challenge with my son because he loves many of the “wrong” answer noises, especially apps like monkey lunch box where the monkey shakes his head... frustrating.

Shirley said:  Ever try to mark all wrong answers – you have to know the right one in order to pick the wrong one.  Supervise.  See what they know.  The app may be too hard.

Amy wrote:  Too funny... my three year old thinks getting the wrong answer is more fun.

Courtney felt:  The problem with intentionally choosing wrong answers is that it becomes habit and the high stakes tests don’t know it is intentional.

Laura said:  Perfectionism is crippling.  And knowing they are wrong does mean he knows the right one!

Bitsboard - Education, Games, and Flashcards For Learning Reading, Spelling, and more by

From iTunes:
• Access to the Bitsboard catalog including tens of thousands of gorgeous flashcards and carefully curated lessons covering hundreds of topics.
• Bitsboard is ideal for learning languages, mastering vocabulary, learning to read, learning to speak, becoming the next spelling champion and so much more…
• Bitsboard is fully customizable to meet your specific learning needs
• Bitsboard keeps track of every answer and makes it easy for you to see what words and boards you have mastered and which ones you need to study some more.
• You can now instantly see your level of mastery for each particular board so it becomes easy to keep track and figure out what to work on next

Please notice the following app has in app purchases and iTunes states the following: "IMPORTANT: The free Bitsboard app comes with 3 FREE games (Flashcards, Explore, and Photo Touch). Each additional game can be unlocked via in app-purchases for $0.99 or you can unlock all games at once for one low price of $2.99."

If you would like to purchase this app, please support Smart Apps for Special Needs by clicking on one of the following links:
Bitsboard (Free, iPad Only)

Bitsboard Pro (access to all games immediately)
($2.99, iPad Only)


To sum up all the answers we received:
1. To get all the answers wrong means that the child has to know the right answer.
2. The simplest way to stop a child choosing the wrong answer, if they are doing it for the sounds the app makes, is to turn down the sound on your device and make your own sounds.

If you have your own question to ask, please head over to our Facebook page where you can easily enter your question for discussion by using the Questions tab.  Questions can also be entered through the Contact Us tab on the top of the blog.

Odd Socks Mummy thinks that it's not fair that the time her kids are at school seems to go so fast, when it used to go so slow when she was at school!

Odd Socks Mummy also writes at Giggles and Chatterboxing

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