Collins Big Cat

CBC At the Dump


The Collins Big Cat apps are free interactive books that feature voice narration, independent reading, and a story creation mode that lets children record or type their own narration and create scenes using the basic elements from the original story. Collins’ interface is excellent and has easy ‘tap to add’ and ‘hold and drag’ elements that make creating stories easy for younger users. The apps’ only major drawback is that there is no way to export an original story once it is finished. Still, the multi-functionality of the apps and the variety of stories make these apps an excellent for educational use.

Collins Big Cat apps are suitable for Early Childhood and Lower Primary.


Sight Words by Little Speller

Little Speller

Sight Words by Little Speller  is a free app that looks deceptively simple but its complete customization possibilities make it one of the most dynamic apps of its kind available.  In its default form, Little Speller offers a simple interface: click the blue ‘play’ button and a word pops up on the screen with letter tiles that the user drags to their respective locations under the word.  Voiceover narration says the word, each letter as it is dragged into the correct location and then spells the word again once a user successfully completes it.  All voice narration, sounds, letter and word hints can be turned on and off via the settings menu in the top right hand corner of the home screen.  The default combination of voiceovers, letter hints and spelling repeats can sometimes feel like overkill, even for young students, so I’ve found that turning letter hints (and potentially letter repeat) off makes the visual and audible clues a little more bearable.  Think of this app as the ‘Mad Minute’ of spelling and sight words; there’s nothing fancy, it’s designed to commit the basics and reinforce fundamental spelling skills. The app’s real genius though is in its ability to be completely customizable.  Teachers and parents can add words to any of the five levels via the ‘Customize Items’  option in the settings menu.  Custom words, visual cues, and letter sounds can all be uploaded and recorded in the app. This feature allows for custom spelling or word lists from a class sheet or increased differentiation in a standard classroom, learning support or EAL environment.

Sight Words by Little Speller is suitable for Lower Primary, Upper Primary and students in EAL or Learning Support.

Word Scramble

Word Scramble

Word Scramble is a free word search/scrabble style game app that challenges users to find and spell words on grid of letters.  Teachers or students can choose from three modes: 1) Classic Mode challenges users to find as many words as possible in two minutes 2) Blitz Mode increases the time limit every time a correct word is found 3) Marathon Mode asks users to take as needed to find 200 words. More flexible than a traditional word search or scrabble style game, users can spell any direction they want, as long as the letters are touching each other on a side or corner.

Word Scramble is suitable for Upper Primary and Secondary.