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Build With Grandpa!
© 2017 FairLady Media, Inc.

CTR Review
Rating: 100%
Ease of Use
Design Features
Reviewed using the Standard Rubric
Eight well-integrated educational mini-games lead you through the steps related to building a house. You use math and logic as you measure boards, make a foundation, paint and so on; and in the end you have your own house. Finished work can be memorialized with a photo. The flexible design lets you or your child toggle on/off the games or sound, in case you want to use the app to reinforce just matching skills, for example. This kind of flexible design and high child control, combined with a grounding in a "real theme" earn this app very high ratings. There are plenty of construction vehicles, for truck-loving children. Other nice discoveries include some lessons about safety equipment, ten short videos featuring real construction sites. One of the underlying messages with this app is that buildings can be reused and rebuilt.

Need to know: This is another excellent Fairlady Media app. If you've liked these apps in the past you won't be disappointed by this one. 
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1 Expert Review
1 Expert Review
Avg. Rating: 85.25% (n = 1)
Rating: 85.25%
Rubric: Standard
Buckleitner's review, I think, overlooks a few components that I found in my quick review of Build With Grandpa. I agree that there are many good things about the app, but have some thoughts.

First, I think the age range could stretch lower, into preschool, as many children in preschool typically have interests in building and wrecking. Some things I noted related to the educational and design attributes on the rubric:

a) the child walks away with a sense of many phases of the construction/building process (wrecking, clearing, designing, building, etc.)--these phases are each clearly marked by set activities in the app that you can toggle on and off;

b) the videos are great and remind me how Reading Rainbow and Mister Rogers Neighborhood utilized videos in their program to help children build background knowledge about a particular concept--they are kept short and sweet and do have a skip button for kids who might not be interested. The activities are fairly self explanatory and allow for exploration, but there does not seem to be any leveling or increase of challenge or scaffolding if children zoom through it or struggle. My eight year old son who is interested in building tired quickly of the activities, but my three year old did not. I found the activity where children are asked to put the machinery away to be much better scaffolded than the find the tool activity.

Some areas I found wanting more from include:

1) on the activity where Grandpa says, "We need the ____. Can you find it?" I found that the child might benefit from being able to click Grandpa to hear the prompt again in case the sound was turned low or the child just needed another verbal reminder what he or she was looking for (remember most K students cannot read yet so Grandpa's speech bubble with the target word would not be useful to those children);

2) in that same task, the potential for building the child's vocabulary around the tools is lost because none of the foils are named--they just fade away with no feedback when the child clicks on them and the name of the correct response is not repeated either upon identifying the correct response;

3) I wanted to be able to personalize Grandpa so that families and children could create a Grandpa that looks like their own Grandpa;

4) there is room to further vocabulary development in the word search activity if a picture appeared showing what each item was (e.g., show a picture of plywood when the child correctly identifies plywood); and

5) I wanted some subliminal messaging, perhaps, that even Grandpas and builders can eat some healthy food (the lunch items are all stereotypical fast food items - burger, taco, fried chicken). Also, on the "Design a Home" page the white done and home buttons fade into the blueprint background.

None of these things I point out are essential, and the other features of the app still warrant a child's use of the app, but perhaps some future updates could integrate these ideas to be more educational and supportive of young children's vocabulary learning.

2 Community Reviews
2 Community Reviews
Avg. Rating: % (n = )
Rating: %
I’m the developer of this app, and I’d like to respond to the feedback provided by Kathleen Paciga.

Thank you for taking the time to review the app and write your thoughts; we always appreciate thoughtful consideration and suggestions. Quality is our top priority.

Age range: We chose the age range of 5-9 based on the curriculum components in the app: measurement, addition, spelling, vocabulary, word recognition, and early literacy. Our beta testing with a number of children confirmed that the difficulty was appropriate for this age range. While we are delighted that the app also appeals to a younger audience, we feel that it wouldn’t be fair to advertise that it is appropriate for preschool children when the curriculum does not match that age group.

Scaffolding: I agree that we could have better scaffolding in the choose gear mini-game. We’ve done this in our other apps but somehow missed it in this mini-game! I’ll add it to the list for our next update. :)

Corrective feedback: We have found during our testing that having Grandpa be silent on incorrect multiple choice mini-games is more effective than corrective feedback, for two reasons: 1) if Grandpa says the name of the incorrect item, sometimes kids will deliberately hit all the choices just to make Grandpa talk… they don’t actually try hard to figure out the answer, and 2) since Grandpa requests those other tools on subsequent play-throughs, it keeps the sense of discovery open… the kids are wondering what that other tool is. In many of our other game formats, we offer corrective feedback… it generally depends whether the child is given “try again” opportunities within the game (such as in the put equipment away game, in which all three truck names are learned in a single game, through trial and error if necessary).

Personalizing Grandpa: We’ve given this much consideration over the years. Personalizing can be great in games where a child is creating his/her own avatar. However, we feel that it is different when a child is able to change the hair/skin/eye color of a character that represents a real person. In real life, I would never dream of changing the faces of friends and relatives. Grandpa and Grandma are real fictional characters just like Elmer Fudd, Bart Simpson, or Princess Jasmine, the fairy Godmother, or Nanny McPhee. From a business perspective, there is a chance that Grandma and Grandpa will become licensed characters in the future, and as such, they need to be represented the same in each of our apps.

Pictures in the Word Find game: This is a great idea, and one that we considered during development. There is a good chance that we will add this in a future update.

Subliminal messaging: Oh dear! Apparently my illustrating skills did not convey the fact that those lunches are actually 1) a gourmet veggie burger with aged Wisconsin cheddar and organic lettuce and tomatoes on a multigrain bun, 2) a fresh-made whole corn tortilla shell with spiced ground chicken, organic lettuce and tomato, aged Wisconsin cheddar, and low fat sour cream, and 3) a grilled turkey leg. :) :) :) In all seriousness, I appreciate the need for positive messages and will consider changing out the chicken for a salad or something in a future update. :)

Again, thank you for your feedback! :)
Connie Bossert

Rating: %
Thanks for the exchange, Connie. I totally understand about Grandpa now that you contextualize his person as a licensed character in a business model!