Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Featured App: OctoPlus is a switch accessible math app that's fun for all

Like many kids, my son LOVES all things ocean and sea life. When I showed him OctoPlus he took to it like, well, a fish to water. In this entertaining math app, kids get to play as an octopus and squirt ink to practice math problems. With two modes of play and adjustable settings, this app is simple to adjust to meet the needs of any child working on addition.



If you would like to download OctoPlus ($0.99, iPad/iPhone), please show your support by using our handy little link:

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With many math apps out there, many times the question arrises, "What makes this app different?" Well, to put it simply, OctoPlus realizes that kids are different. Working with kids of various ages and abilities, one thing is apparent, they learn at different rates. With the ability to adjust the speed and focus on one number family at a time, children working to improve motor skills are not left behind but kids with fast fingers can still be challenged.

I admit, one of the first things I check on any app is if the sounds are adjustable. My son has ASD and can easily be distracted or go into sensory overload with too many sound effects. I know it sounds silly, but I was so happy when I saw that I could control the sound effects, music and voice narration within the app.

During the exercises, the voice narration reads the addition problem displayed at the top of the screen. This is great support for children that are visual or auditory learners. My son, a visual learner, has to see the equation, whereas my daughter who learns best from auditory repetition benefits from hearing all the different math problems spoken aloud.

Though this app offers many benefits for children with special needs, it is fun and challenging for all children working on addition skills. With a price tag of only $0.99 it's really a great bargain.

From iTunes:
Introducing OctoPlus, a gaming app that makes math addition fun and engaging for kids. Based on a math adaptation of Turtle Invaders, a 2014 Gold Winner of the Mom’s Choice Award for Best in Family-Friendly Products, OctoPlus places you in an underwater aqua world where you have to battle turtles to score points. OctoPlus reinforces key math skills within an interactive gaming environment. With both a drill and challenge mode, children’s math skills are improved based on their own individual learning ability. OctoPlus is also designed to enhance motor skills for young children and kids with motor or cognitive delays. With a phenomenal ability to set options, this app will keep kids motivated and engaged. The app is designed to improve visual attention, timing, coordination and control. Parents can also use this switch-accessible app to reinforce Individualized Education Program (IEP) goals.

**Key Features**
1. Math adaptation of Turtle Invaders - 2014 Gold Winner of the Mom’s Choice Award for Best in Family-Friendly Products.
2. Increases math confidence and competence
3. Helps kids master common core math skills
4. A Parent Zone enables parents and teachers to stay connected to their child’s progress
5. Includes the OctoStore where kids can buy cute characters as a reward 
6. Incorporates a drill/practice mode to provide a fun, engaging, and effective way to learn
7. Incorporates a challenge/test mode to assess learning
8. Fun for all, with additional features to help children with special needs
9. Switch-accessible for children with motor limitations who use an external switch (connected through a Bluetooth switch interface such as TabAccess)
10. Graphics and music can be graded to make this game suitable for sensory sensitive kids or for kids that are easily distracted
11. Beginner, Experienced, and Expert mode to help children gain confidence during game play
12. Fully customizable settings can adjust game options based on the skill level of the child
13. Helps in improving hand-eye coordination and fine motor skills for children
14. Enables learning for all kids of all skill levels and abilities
15. Can use this switch-accessible app to reinforce Individualized Education Program (IEP) goals

**Curriculum Coverage**
Curriculum: Common Core Math State Standards
OctoPlus covers the following Operations & Algebraic Thinking Math Topics: Add numbers to 10; Add in any order; Make a number
CCSS.MATH.CONTENT.K.OA.A.3 - Decompose numbers less than or equal to 10 into pairs in more than one way
CCSS.MATH.CONTENT.K.OA.A.4 - For any number from 1 to 9, find the number that makes 10 when added to the given number
CCSS.MATH.CONTENT.K.OA.A.5 - Fluently add and subtract within 5.

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Rachel H is sitting with her son, anxiously awaiting a late birthday present to be delivered from Amazon.

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