I SPY Challenger by Scholastic – Game Highlight

A fantastic game is now available on the Windows Store. I SPY Challenger raises the bar for great game design. The game is made by Scholastic, a well-established company that makes and sells products for kids, including books and educational video games. They have released their latest creation to the Windows Store, for both kids and adults to enjoy.

I SPY Challenger Store Page (1)

I SPY Challenger is a game inspired from the I SPY books that I grew to love as a child. The game brings interactivity to the mix in a pleasantly exciting way. The game is beautifully built with excellent visuals and sound effects. It also has spoken dialogue, which is something I feel makes a game stand out from the bunch. Spoken voice in the game can appeal to kids; at least it appealed to me when I was a child. Continue reading

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[Deal Over] Free for a Limited Time — Xbox Title Rabbits Big Bang on Windows Store

Rabbids Big Bang Store Pic 1

Update: The Deal is Officially Over

As part of the weekly red stripe deals, an Xbox title for Windows 8 is downloadable for free from the Windows Store. It is called Rabbits Bing Bang. It’s a puzzle game and worth checking out!.

Here’s the neat part: this game is available in many languages! Here are the languages it supports: English, French, Italian, German, Spanish, Japanese, Chinese, Korean, Brazilian Portuguese and Russian. Continue reading

Chuck’s Challenge 3D Review – A Brain Tingling Adventure

Chuck's Challenge Cover

It is one of most innovative puzzlers you can find today. Chuck’s Challenge 3D combines brain tingling puzzles with an exploration-based adventure. You play as the character Woop, who has summoned Chuck Sommerville, a famous game designer, to build fun challenges for him. Woop is a multi-dimensional aliens with a host of amazing resources that Chuck uses to build challenging levels for Woop. Continue reading

Microsoft is Moving Family Safety Service over to Outlook.com

 

Dear Family Safety customer,
Family Safety

We’re making a change to Family Safety, and are contacting you because you’re monitoring or managing one or more children’s Microsoft accounts (formerly known as Windows Live IDs).

There are many different email programs your children can use to communicate with others. But until now, Family Safety has only been able to help parents monitor their children’s email contacts through Microsoft-owned programs like Outlook.com using Family Safety Contact Management.

Starting on 3/18/2013, we’re switching your children’s monitored accounts to Outlook.com’s “exclusive” mode. These settings work for all email programs, so now you can help keep your children safer across any email platform they use, not just those created by Microsoft. The change affects three things:

  • The contacts you currently manage for your child will be added to the Safe Senders and Domains list. Emails from people on the list will go directly to your child’s inbox.
  • Emails from people not on the list will go directly to your child’s junk mail folder. (They can still view these messages there, though, so it’s important to be cautious.)
  • Your child will be able to add their own new contacts.

These accounts will be affected by the change:

  • Kid Account1
  • Kid Account2

Note that these new settings don’t affect your child’s communication in Messenger. However, if you want to block online communication, we recommend setting the Family Safety web filter to “General interest”.

You can also visit Microsoft’s Safety and Security Center page for tips on helping your children use the web more safely.

Thanks for your understanding and patience as we update our services.

Sincerely,
The Family Safety team

The Official Nickelodeon App is now in the Store

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Hello there Nick, welcome to the Store! All the parents have been waiting for you, what took you so long? Here it is ladies and gentlemen, the official Nick app is now in the Store. The app is one of the Top Apps Microsoft has been showing in the background each time they give a Keynote on Windows 8 since Developer Preview. All of us trackers in the Store know that its just a question of time before it arrives. Now we are glad the waiting is over. You can get your spawnlings hooked on you beautiful gadgets now. Just say bye-bye already to your precious Surface already. I hope you all like it. Smile

Like Nickelodeon says, “Everything Nickelodeon, all in one place”, they meant that. All you kids favorites and Stars are in there with everything worthy of note about them. And they watch video of these stars at leisure. Did I say SpongeBob is all over the screen again? Oh I didn’t need to tell you that. Our hyperactive cheesy little friend is back in action in this app. Here is what Nickelodeon says about the app:

Description
Welcome to the Nick app by Nickelodeon – the home of all things Nick for Windows 8! Watch funny videos from your favorite stars and special animated shorts featuring SpongeBob, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, and others. Play tons of games, like SpongeBob’s Jellyfishin’ Mission and TMNT Sewer Run. Enjoy the latest pictures of Nick stars hanging off set and playing backstage. The whole Nick gang is waiting for you – Victorious, SpongeBob, iCarly, Big Time Rush, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, Korra, Robot & Monster, and more.
Download now – let’s play!

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SpongeBob is calling, so please go download the app right now via the Source link below.

Source: Windows Store

Angry Birds Star Wars is now available in the Store

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And finally it lands in the Windows Store. Angry Birds Star Wars is here to stay for your pleasure, whether you are from the Dark Side, or a Wookie. There was a rumor of the app dropping today in the Store, with Roxio placing links on their web, but it wasn’t visible at the time. Now you can download it a will. Following is full description of the App from the Store:

Content rating
Entertainment Software Rating Board: Everyone

Entertainment Software Rating Board: Everyone

Comic mischief

What is this?

Description
JOIN THE ANGRY BIRDS IN THEIR BIGGEST ADVENTURE YET!
A long time ago in a galaxy far, far away… a group of desperate rebel birds faced off against a galactic menace: the Empire’s evil Pigtroopers!
Rebel birds, striking from a hidden base, have won their first victory against the evil Imperial Pigs. During the battle, Rebel spies managed to steal secret plans to the Empire’s ultimate weapon, the PIG STAR, and are racing to deliver the plans to the rebel birds. Now they need your help!
Join an epic adventure with the Angry Birds in the legendary Star Wars universe! Use the Force, wield your lightsaber, and blast away Pigtroopers on an intergalactic journey from the deserts of Tatooine to the depths of the Pig Star — where you’ll face off against the terrifying Darth Vader! Can you become a Jedi master and restore freedom to the galaxy?
Time to grab your lightsaber and join the adventure! May the birds be with you!
HOURS AND HOURS OF ENGAGING GAMEPLAY – Explore more than 80 levels in iconic locations like Tatooine and Death Star. Can you dodge Imperial pigs, laser turrets, sand people, and the dark side the force to get all three stars?
NEW GAMEPLAY MECHANICS – Use lightsabers, Blasters and Jedi powers to wreak havoc on the Imperial Pigs!
LEVEL UP YOUR BIRDS – Keep playing and level up your birds to improve their skills!
SECRETS AND HIDDEN GOODIES – Can you unlock all the R2D2 and C3PO bonus levels?
FREE UPDATES – This is only the beginning of the epic saga!
Follow @angrybirds on Twitter
Watch the videos, read the comics and submit fan art at angrybirds.com/starwars
Like us at facebook.com/angrybirds and say hello!
Terms of Use: http://www.rovio.com/eula
Privacy Policy: http://www.rovio.com/privacy
support@rovio.com
LucasArts, the LucasArts logo, and STAR WARS are registered trademarks of Lucasfilm Ltd.  © 2012 Lucasfilm Entertainment Company Ltd. or Lucasfilm Ltd.  and ® or ™ as indicated.  All rights reserved.   Angry Birds and the Angry Birds logo are trademarks of Rovio Entertainment Ltd. © 2012 Rovio Entertainment Ltd.

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It is still a mystery why Roxio on the Microsoft’s platform asks for more than on the other competing platform. Is it because of numbers, that there are more users on those platforms than on Windows platform? What happens then when Windows Platform explodes too? There are more potential customers on Windows platform if you ask me. Anyway, I digress.

The app is yours for $4.99, not particularly to the cleaners if you ask me. So, what are you waiting for? Download the app via the Source Link.

Source: Windows Store

Agent P Strikes Back App is now in the Store

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The second Disney’s App is now in the Store, Agent P Strikes Back is of the ‘Phineas and Ferb’ cartoon fame of course, and the Kids love it. Disney guarantees hours and hours of pleasure with this App for the boys, the girls already had their own App a few days ago. Here is Disney’s description from the Store:

Description
Guide Perry aka “Agent P” through this action-packed, side-scrolling adventure! Try to locate the other missing agents as you battle robotic guards and double jump your way through Doof’s complex.

Features
Based on the popular Disney Channel series ‘Phineas and Ferb’
Supports Touch Control Devices, Keyboard and Xbox 360 Controller

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You wanna download this for your children? Go right ahead via the following source link.

Source: Windows Store

Kids Tube–Dedicated YouTube Kids Channel app

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Here is something for us Parents with little ones. A curated app for YouTube Videos dedicated to Kids. You can comfortably hand your device to your kids and be sure they will not be watching YouTube garbage while in this app. The App is free in the Store with AD support. Following is the app description from the Store:

Description
Powered by YouTube, KidsTube is a great interface for safe and clean viewing of videos for children. Parents no longer have to supervise what their children are viewing or what their children are searching for on Google’s YouTube.
With a simple user interface, your children can navigate and watch children’s videos for hours and hours. Content is updated every time you launch the application. Pin videos you like to the desktop for easy access.
The content is indexed and updated every time you lunch the application.
Pin the videos you like to the desktop for an easy access.
Disclaimer:
This app provides easy access to and additional functionality for YouTube videos. This app or its developers and publishers do not own and is not responsible for any video clips posted on YouTube. It is the responsibility of the application (app) user to abide by all relevant copyright laws.

Features
Hours of  YouTube videos for picked especially for kids
Pin the videos you like to the desktop
Watch videos while you play/work in a the Snapped mode

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The App is available for download via the following source link.

Source: Windows Store

Disney comes to Windows 8 with Disney Princess Dress-up App

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Disney Inc. has joined Microsoft ambitious platform with their first Metro App: Disney Princess Dress-Up Sticker Book. This is to keep your girls busy in their favorite Disney princesses. If you’ve got young girl(s), buy this app for them, they’ll love you for it. It is rather a big app at 131Mb and you need at least 1Gb Memory to really enjoy the app. See app’s details. Here is the description from the Store:

Description
Readers help their favorite Disney Princesses prepare for magical moments in this dress-up sticker book! Includes an interactive camera feature, outfits, shoes, and stories! A royal wedding. A special celebration. An unforgettable ride on the magic carpet! The magic continues with amazing hands-on features.

Features
Read stories and dress-up 7 Disney Princesses: Cinderella, Ariel, Aurora, Bell, Jasmine, Tiana and Snow White!
Use the camera to make your face appear as your favorite Disney Princess!
Change outfits, shoes and accessories, add tiaras, then take a photo to save your princess dress-up!
Each new photo is a fresh round of creative dress-up play!

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The app will set you back for $4.00, but that is worth all the kisses you’ll get from little princess. So go download the app now via the Source.

Source: Windows Store

Tablets for Kids

We all want our kids to be well educated, and we have been striving to make our children’s education better for centuries, from finding the best written books to hiring the most renown teachers. But are teachers and books generally the only primary means of education? Until very recently the answer had always been yes. The innovation in computers and the internet has completely shifted how we communicate, share, and learn, and for the first time in thousands of years, we have seen a revolution on how we can teach ourselves and others. With their small form factor and good portability, tablet computers provide huge benefits for the learners by providing instant access to vast number of knowledge bases, interactive books, and accessibility for the disabled, instructional videos, and hands-on experiments. As such, it is very important that tablet computing becomes an integral part of children education.

 

The first thing that might come to mind when thinking about using tablets in education is the skepticism that it is another attempt to try and replace textbooks from the classroom. These questions have been raised in the past: “will TVs replace books?” or “will videogames kill books?” But the answer has always been no. Books have always been the primary means to spread knowledge because once writing was invented, people gained the ability to share their wisdom with more people that ever possible with verbal communication. Therefore, the answer to the question “will tablets kill books?” is “no, it will not”. But a better question would be “will tablets make books even better?” Now, this is an interesting question, and one that is worth exploring for the sake of better education.

Books can now become alive and offer a far better experience and result through the use of tablet computers. There are several ways this can happen. Firstly, tablet computers allow books to become connected with the rest of human knowledge, something seen as magical not too long ago. Readers can tap on a word and quickly look up its definition, synonyms, and translation. Readers can also instantly and conveniently research, in other sources, the subject they are reading about. These things were possible to some extent in the past. People could get up and look up a word in a physical dictionary or research the subject in an encyclopedia. However, not only do tablet computers yield a broader range of search results with less time, but it is also much more convenient. And the mere convenience of doing so using a tablet computer will likely mean that the reader will actually look up the definition or do the research. Having to get up and physically grabbing a dictionary greatly reduces the likelihood of looking up a word, for example. Secondly, books on tablets have a greater potential to effectively explain difficult material or to let readers be more immersed in the content than physical books could ever hope to do.

We have imagined future cars, future robots, but rarely did we imagine “future books”. Nevertheless, the future books are almost at our fingertips with tablet computers becoming mainstream. Leo Laporte, from the podcast MacBreak Weekly, believes that books will soon no longer be composed of only texts and images. He believes that eBooks will soon contain interactive content, like videos clips and audio clips. Laporte gives an interesting example of a biography eBook that could include audio clips of famous interviews or an imbedded YouTube video about the person (Laporte). I would like to add that besides videos and audios, books have the potential to include built-in interactive applications! Continuing with the example of the biography, I think it would be very neat and informative if the eBook contained, say, a virtual home of the person. It would be quite exciting to be able to virtually walk around the home of a famous person. And it doesn’t have to stop here. Educational eBooks could use of interactive diagram to greatly increase effectiveness in explaining concepts. For example, a chemistry eBook could include 3D models of atoms that readers could pan and rotate with their fingers. Express Publishing in ELT Teacher’s Corner produces eBooks that incorporate these interactive features, and they sum up quite well how much more immersive and fun these kinds of books can be. “Express Publishing has come up with…interactive eBook in the EFL market, with animation, video, games, songs, stories, an audio visual dictionary and much more. With Spark interactive eBook…students are encouraged to become autonomous learners through research tasks and are both challenged and supported through a variety of multi-sensory tasks at different levels of complexity using different approaches. Students can get instant evaluation and personal scores” (Express Publishing). It is evident that tablet computers can make reading and learning more immersive and enjoyable, but it doesn’t stop there. Tablet computers allow books to be more accessible to the disabled than they ever have been in the past.

People and organization have been working to provide equal access to learning material to disabled students like those who suffer visual or hearing impairment. Tablet computers are a major contributor to this goal. EBooks are inherently more accessible than are physical books. I have severe visual impairment, and it is very difficult for me to do certain tasks, such as reading small prints and reading/writing quickly. I am thankful for the aid offered to me from my educational institution, such as extended time on tests. However, I have found that eBooks have proved to be extremely helpful to me because of their inherent accessibility capabilities. I am able to zoom in eBooks as much as I wish to help me read more easily. Also, software like Adobe Reader has amazing read-out-loud feature that is able to transcribe text and read it out loud quite naturally. Disabled student being able to carry a small device that enlarges font and reads out loud books is an example of a major advancement in accessibility technology.

So far, we have looked at how tablet computers could enrich books. We haven’t yet explored the other infinite amount of possibilities that come with using a tablet computer. Two other aspects of tablet computers beneficial to education help pose a good reason for implementing tablet computers in children’s education. Firstly, tablet computers offer many educational applications that allow children to be motivated to learn and explore knowledge. The Apple Apps Store provides a variety of educational apps for the iPad to help students learn.  “apps help students master English at all levels — from learning how to read to practicing writing and grammar skills to studying classic literature [and] With interactive ways to learn numbers, master multiplication, solve algebraic equations, conquer statistics, and more, these apps for all ages make math more engaging, interactive, and fun [finally] Explore these apps and discover more about how the world works. Learn biology, physics, chemistry, anatomy, astronomy, and more. And find field guides that you can take with you on your next nature hike” (Apple Inc.).

Secondly, a tablet computer gives student access to educational videos from anywhere. With the advent of the internet, every student now has access to educational videos created by instructors from all over the world. According to Google, which runs YouTube, “videos can engage students, spark a conversation, bring lessons to life, [allow students to] learn from other teachers.” Google states that YouTube has “Over 450,000 educational videos from leading educators!” (YouTube for Schools) To further benefit students, Google is launching YouTube for schools, a special version of the popular video sharing service. YouTube for schools will bring front the thousands of educational content while keeping a safe environment for the classroom. This version of YouTube, for example, won’t have any comment system or videos other than educational ones (YouTube).

Salman Khan is one of the most recognized instructors on YouTube, with daily video tutorials from subjects ranging from math, science, history, geography, etc. Khan has given a speech in a TED conference. He explains that learning using videos bring lots of benefits. For example students are not shy to go and rewind and listen to something multiple times to understand a concept; this eliminates the problem in which students fear asking an instructor to repeat the same concept too many times. Khan encourages instructors to adapt lecturing in forms of videos and let students work on “homework” in the classroom where teachers are here to help (Khan).

Having a tablet at hand means students can watch educational videos from their desk in class or from wherever they choose. Dedicated apps for tablet computers can help create a virtual educational environment, incorporating educational videos. With tablet computers, students will not have to worry about not having acce3ss to the video anytime they wish; these portable devices let students carry thousands of instructional videos as easily as they carrying a textbook!

We are in a revolution. The internet has drastically changed how we do a lot of things, and education is not excluded. Tablet computers, combined with access to eBooks, educational apps, and thousands of instructional videos, has great potential to truly enrich education like never before. These PCs provide a more interactive learning, better accessibility for the disabled, and a far richer learning opportunity. Ultimately, these devices no longer confine students to their classroom; young students today can now access knowledge from all over the world and from people living anywhere in the world. With these amazing opportunities for a better education, there is no reason to not work to bring tablet computers in the hands of our young learners.

 

References

Apple Inc. “Thousands of apps. Endless potential.” Advertisement. Apps in Education. Apple Inc., 2011. Web. 12 Dec. 2011. <http://www.apple.com/‌education/‌apps/>.

Express Publishing. “Interactive eBooks.” Advertisement. ELT Teacher’s Corner. Express Publishing, 16 Sept. 2011. Web. 12 Dec. 2011. <http://www.teachers-corner.co.uk/‌interactive-ebooks/>.

Khan, Salman. “Let’s use video to reinvent education.” TED Conference. YouTube. Web. 12 Dec. 2011. <http://www.youtube.com/‌watch?v=nTFEUsudhfs&feature=channel_video_title>.

Laporte, Leo, Sarah Lane, and Andy Ihnatko. “MacBreak Weekly 273 – iTunes Mismatch.” TWiT. TWiT, 15 Nov. 2011. Web. 12 Dec. 2011. <http://twit.tv/‌show/‌macbreak-weekly/‌273>.

YouTube. “Educate, engage, and inspire your students with video!” Advertisement. YouTube. Google, 6 Dec. 2011. Web. 12 Dec. 2011. <http://www.youtube.com/‌schools>.

YouTube for Schools: Join the Global Classroom Today! YouTube. Google, 6 Dec. 2011. Web. 12 Dec. 2011. <http://www.youtube.com/‌watch?v=NegRGfGYOwQ&context=C24e0fADOEgsToPDskJGLNSDsDElJpHepZs3KlU6>.