Smart Apps For Android: REVIEW: Learn to tell time - Fun Clock (free educational Android apps for kids)

Monday, February 10, 2014

REVIEW: Learn to tell time - Fun Clock (free educational Android apps for kids)

Bottom Line: A thorough time teaching tool that provides plenty of interaction for children to have hands-on learning. The variety of activities have kids reading and manipulating the hands of an analogue clock, with the option to display a digital clock also.

Price: FREE (in-app purchases)          Size: 46.35MB          Number of activities:  5 in total

In-app purchase for full version
External links to email developer, to rate the app and to login to UNI-C (optional)

What's free: One activity (fixing clock & moving the hands)
What's not free: Extra four activities (each with 3 exercises)

If you would like to download/purchase this app, please support Smart Apps For Android by using our download links:

   FREE Lite Version                     $2.99 Full Version
Available on Amazon Appstore          Available on Amazon Appstore

   FREE (In-app purchase)            $1.99  Full Version
Get it on Google Play          Get it on Google Play

App explained: This truly is a teaching app as it comes with videos (3 at 6-7MBea) that explain all about hours and minutes and the representation of time on analogue and digital clocks. The videos can be streamed or downloaded for viewing. This would be a good way to introduce time in a classroom setting, with the videos being projected onto an interactive whiteboard. The flamingo presenters are hand-drawn graphics, with the audio provided by voice actors. The dialogue between the characters is a question-answer type of conversation to give a detailed explanation of how time is represented.

The first activity, which comes free with the lite version requires children to place the numbers one through 12, as well as the clock hands onto a blank clock face. As the numbers are dragged to their right locations, they automatically click into place when dragged close enough. Once completed, the Station Master flamingo requests children move the clock hands around and he tells the time. Minutes are not marked, but when the digital clock is displayed, children can see exactly what the time is. This activity is then fully done and up to three stars are awarded.

The second activity, which (along with the rest of the activities) is available through the in-app purchase, teaches children about hours and half-past. Firstly, there are two holes in the clock face, need to be filled with two colored balls. The purple ball matches the minute hand and the red ball matches the hour hand. As the balls are placed into the correct holes, the clock hands move around to the correct position. Secondly, there is a bus ready to depart, and children need to click on the correct clock face out of three choices, to match the time said by the Station Master flamingo. Thirdly, a clock face needs to have the hands moved to set the time at the the time read aloud by the flamingo. Progress is tracked through these exercises by a bar on the side of the screen. Again, stars are awarded when this is fully done.

The third activity, teaches children about quarter to and quarter past. Children attempt the same exercises as in the second activity. If a colored ball is placed in the wrong hole, it falls out and the flamingo says, "Oops." If the wrong time is chosen for the bus to depart, the flamingo says phrases such as, "That's not entirely correct," or "Are you sure you're getting it?" Two wrong guesses moves on to the next attempt. When children set the clock hands at the time stated, minutes are marked out on the clock face and verbal praise is awarded for successful attempts. There was slight glitch with one of my attempts to show 12 o'clock. After two unsuccessful attempts, the clock hands were moved to the correct position, which was only 1mm different to where I had placed them.

The fourth activity now focuses on five minute intervals. Firstly, colored balls need to be placed on the clock face again, only this time there are three holes, not just two. That really tests children's time telling ability as there is more room for error. Again, verbal praise and admonishment is given with every attempt and when the stars are awarded, the flamingo will encourage a repeat of the activity if less than three stars are given. Children are not required to achieve the full three stars before moving onto the next activity, however. If three stars have been given for an activity and the child attempts all the exercises again, and achieves less than three stars, the latest result will be shown.

The fifth activity has exercises on one minute intervals. Having to repeat the same exercises as before means children are focusing on the new skill of learning a new time interval, rather than needing to learn a new way of displaying knowledge. While working on the exercises, children can choose to switch off the background music, learn to tell time in another language and show or hide the digital clock. There is also an option to login to UNI-C which is part of the Danish Ministry of Education.

Pros/Cons: The teaching videos can be watched over and over to reinforce the concept of telling time. Excellent quality graphics and audio, with 11 different languages, progress tracking and automatic adjustment of the task to match the child's skill level make this a useful resource for classrooms all around the world. Children could work on the exercises together and put both of their names on the certificate at the end. Once activities are completed, they can be redone so there is unlimited play of this app. Although it is possible to choose what time interval to focus on, within each activity, it is not possible to skip the first or second lot of exercises to go straight to placing the clock hands in the positions to match the time stated. There is limited "free play" and innovation, which may just be the nature of telling time.

Suggestions for updates: An exercise that requires children to match analogue to digital time representation. Perhaps a few scenes of daily routines (e.g. eating breakfast, being at school) with clocks on the walls that can be adjusted according to the child's own routines. It would be good to have the option of creating more than one profile to keep progress tracking separate for different students. To really differentiate the skills being practiced, extra visual support could be provided by having the correct time shown on another clock that the child could match. Extension could be provided by taking away the numbers and/or hour markers on the clock face for children who need extra challenges.

Summary: A very useful resource for early childhood education. Children enjoy the animated cartoon character who guides them through learning to tell the time. No ads and a reasonably priced in-app purchase mean this app is value for money, with easy links to the Common Core State Standards. Another great app I will be using this year.

Device/s used:
Phone - Samsung Galaxy S4 (Android 4.3)
Tablet - Samsung Galaxy Tab3 10.1" (Android 4.2.2) A glitch (mentioned earlier).

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Cas would love to find an app that not only teaches time, but also increases the number of hours in the day!

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