Archive | Tablets

Do you need a new iPad? – The Wired Homeschool

I’ve written and talked a lot about the new iPad from Apple.  I think it’s a great product that can transform homeschooling but do you really need one?  Let me rephrase the question: If you’re planning to buy a tablet do you need a new iPad?

The staggering number of tablets on the market right now will make your head spin. Choosing which one can be difficult especially if you have a sales person pressuring you while you browse. Let’s take a look at the best tablet options available to the home educator today.

Kindle Fire

Amazon’s Kindle Fire took the world by storm last year with its ultra-low price of $199. It’s the best bang for your buck when it comes to Android-based tablets. Many off the apps in the Android Marketplace can be used with the tablet and it makes a great e-reader too. If you’re looking for an affordable tablet the Kindle Fire is the best option on the market today.


The Barnes and Noble Nook Tablet isn’t a product that I mention very often here on the podcast but it’s an option too.  After the release of the Kindle Fire, the price for the Nook dropped from $249 to $199.  I wouldn’t count it out as an option if you can get it for a discount.  There’s also the Nook Color for $149 but reviews about the device have been mixed.

iPad 2

After the new iPad was released, Apple dropped the price of their 16GB wi-fi only iPad 2 down to $399.  This is still a great device.  If you’re planning to use an iPad primarily as an educational tool the iPad 2 should certain be considered. It’s twice the price of the Fire or the Nook but with it comes the easy-of-use, quality, and plethora of apps we’ve all come to expect from Apple.  If you’re willing to buy a refurbished model the 32GB iPad to can be had for the same price.

Image via The Verge - click for more info


There are a myriad of other tablets on the market too. Some use Android and others use a weird form of Windows. I would stay far away from the Windows-based tablets for now. When Windows 8 comes out I’ll re-evaluate my stance. Additionally, the other Android tablets are just too pricey. If you’re going to pay $300-$500 on a tablet you should go for the iPad every time.

So, do you need a new iPad? Absolutely not. The new iPad is the Ferrari of tablets. When you want the best and can afford it then go with the new iPad. If you’re budget conscious and you want an affordable alternative it’s a toss-up between the Kindle Fire and the Barnes & Noble Nook. I prefer the Fire but I think the Nook is also a viable option.

Are you in the market for a new tablet? Have you recently purchased one? Share your comments and thoughts below.


App Review – Kids’ Dental Health – The Wired Homeschool

Dental hygiene is important for all kids to learn, so I am always interested in finding ways to reinforce good habits. Kids’ Dental Health is a new app by TwoTea Applications available on iTunes that helps to teach children about good oral care through a fun story and mini games.

The book is a simple format that conveys proper dental hygiene habits to children with brightly colored pictures and a small story to reinforce the pictures. Children can customize their character from a variety of boys and girls with varying skin and hair colors and it currently includes one fun mini-game, with more planned in the future via free updates. My 5 year old son thoroughly enjoyed playing the game and hearing the story read to him through his iPad. His only complaint was that there wasn’t more to play, but I explained that there will be soon.

As part of their special introductory pricing, you can purchase Kids’ Dental Health for $1.99. With the updates coming soon, this app is sure to provide much fun to children along with delivering an important message.

Kids’ Dental Health
Kids' Dental Health - Alexandr Stacanov
Cost: $1.99
Category: Education
Language: English
Rated 4+
Requirements: Compatible with iPhone, iPod touch, and iPad.Requires iOS 4.0 or later.


App Review – Simplex Spelling HD – The Wired Homeschool

When you think about teaching spelling to your kids do you groan at the thought of finding lists of sight words, sitting down and reading the words to them, then grading papers?  I do, so when I had the opportunity to try out Simplex Spelling HD I was encouraged at the thought of eliminating such a tedious task.

Right from the start I was impressed with the app.  The tutorial is fantastic and leads kids through the use of the application while teaching them how to spell.  There’s no doubt you’ll know how to use the app by the time you’re finished with the tutorial.

Spelling lists are broken down into 6 lists with varying degrees of difficulty.  The words from the list are spoken to the user and used in a sentence.  Letters must be dragged from the keyboard to the correct slots above (think hangman) but not in the correct order.  American, Canadian, or British English can be selected to suit the needs of the student using the app.  In addition, you can choose between lower- and uppercase letters on the qwerty or alphabetical keyboard.

The positive reinforcement and hints help the user along toward their goal of spelling each word.  My kids have asked me repeatedly to play the game.  I never thought they’d be so enthusiastic about spelling.

While this is a universal app, I’d recommend that it be used on an iPad.  Some of my kids had trouble dragging the small letters on the iPhone into the appropriate locations and would get frustrated when they couldn’t place them correctly.  Overall, though, I can confidently recommend this app.

Simplex Spelling HD
Price: $4.99 ( a lite version is also available)
Rated: 4+
Categories: Education, Reading, Spelling, Phonics, Sight Words, Vocabulary
Requirements: Compatible with iPhone 3GS, iPhone 4, iPhone 4S, iPod touch (3rd generation), iPod touch (4th generation) and iPad. Requires iOS 4.0 or later.


Disclaimer: I received a review copy of the software that I can keep for consideration in preparing to write this content. I was/am not expected to return this item after my review. DISCLOSURE OF MATERIAL CONNECTION:


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