Friday, July 29, 2016

Star Toaster: Orphs of the Woodlands at Tangletree (A Schoolhouse Crew Review)

Our house reviewed Orphs of the Woodlands from Star Toaster a while ago and fell in love with the program.  They loved the story; I loved how it integrated reading, math, science, and other subjects into a learning game.  We've been looking forward to any new editions of the story and were very excited to review their new interactive book, Orphs of the Woodlands at Tangletree.

This new program is available as an app for Apple iOS devices.  It includes a 122 page (equivalent) chapter book, along with videos and cross-curricular activities. Seventy-five lessons in math, language arts, critical thinking, and art provide ways for players to provide for their orphaned squirrels.

Orphs of the Woodlands at Tanglegate Review

As much as we enjoyed the first story, it was computer-based, so it meant the story and activities had to be experienced at home.  With an app, Orphs could go on the road with us.  Celia and I each downloaded it to our phones, and Jude downloaded to his iPad, and we were off and running.
Screen size definitely makes a difference. Celia has a 5C version iPhone, while I have the larger 6S Plus.  She didn't seem to mind the small font, while my eyes appreciated the larger screen on mine.  I will admit, I do prefer mine to hers in general, but even for helping her and reading directions, etc., it was much harder to read with a smaller screen.  Of course, on Jude's iPad was easiest to both read and maneuver, so in the case of the Orphs, size matters.

Last time, it was Matthew and Celia who saved the Orphs.  This round, Celia and Jude read and played.  This was not a good fit for Jude because he tended to race through the activities, and then he was stuck because he couldn't re-try things.  I was hoping he would enjoy this because it was iPad-based, but he wasn't having any of it.  Celia played it several times -- if she deleted the app from her phone and re-installed it, she could begin again.  I asked her to write her thoughts on the app so that I would have her input when writing this; apparently, I could have just let her write the whole review for me.

By Celia:

Orphs of the Woodlands is a really cute, fun, and educational game. I enjoyed how they had Abba and Hattah taking care of the four little orphs with based on what I did.  By reading, watching and listening carefully, I could be able to answer the questions correctly and earn stars to get the items needed to take care of the orphs.  It really tests children's skills of reading, listening, and paying attention. 
There were a few things I would like them [Star Toaster] to change. I would like them to let you go back and read over the information for the questions because not all kids are going to remember things really well, and sometimes I couldn't remember, either.  If you answer wrong, you aren't allowed to retry or even go back, look it over, and try again, and you don't get any stars for your Orphs.  Most things were mostly easy, but I know my brother had a really hard time because he didn't get any second chances on anything.  He finished the tasks, but he didn't do well enough to save his Orphs, and that made him really mad. 
What makes it even more frustrating is once you've completed the tasks, you're still not done.  I've completed everything already available and now have to wait for the next part to come out to finish. It's frustrating to know I've worked this hard, and gotten this far, and I still have the story "unfinished." It was a great game to review, and I can't wait for the next part to come out so I can finish.

Mom again.  I think she summed up what I thought - it was a great app that had strong ideas but weak execution in some aspects.  It won't stop her from asking when the next story comes out, but I think I would let her try it out before giving Jude or Damien a turn.

For more about Star Toaster's Orphs stories, follow them on social media, or click the banner below to read more Crew reviews.


Orphs of the Woodlands at Tanglegate Review

©2012- 2016 Adventures with Jude. All rights reserved. All text, photographs, artwork, and other content may not be reproduced or transmitted in any form without the written consent of the author.

No comments:

Post a Comment

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...
Pin It button on image hover