App of the Week: Alge-bingo

Title: Alge-Bingo
Platform: iOS
Cost: .99

It’s back to school time and this month the YALSA App of the Week bloggers are’  focusing each week on apps that are good for students and teachers. We’ll cover research, science, math, and staying organized. If you have a favorite school related app feel free to post information about it in the comments on our App of the Week posts. And, don’t forget, the American Association of School Librarians (AASL) is taking nominations for Best Apps for Teaching and Learning. You can make a nomination on the AASL website.

I don’t like math. Never have. I see a string of numbers and my brain grinds to a halt. I have empathy for teens who feel the same. They might try to laugh it off, like it’s cool not to like math, or maybe they think it isn’t important because they are strong in other subjects.’  But trying to rationalize a dislike of math won’t help anybody.’  Math is important and necessary. This is why I chose to share a math app for our Back to School series. Maybe if I’d had an app to play with when I was struggling with math it would have helped me stay focused instead of getting frustrated.’  According to this article in Education Week, students and teachers alike seem to enjoy apps for math.

In searching for great math apps, there are several. I decided to focus on an app that helps with basic arithmetic,’  the type of math I struggle with the most, as well as the foundation for other mathematical pursuits. Alge-bingo makes a game out of basic algebraic equations and challenges you to do your arithmetic fast.’  Continue reading App of the Week: Alge-bingo

App of the Week: Carrr Matey

Title:’ Carrr Matey by Lionebra

Platform:’ Android 1.5 and up /’ Compatible with iPhone 3GS, iPhone 4, iPhone 4S, iPod touch (3rd generation), iPod touch (4th generation) and iPad. Requires iOS 5.0 or later.’ Android 1.5 and up

Cost:’ Free for Android / The iTunes App store says this is Free for a limited time.

Just in time for International Talk Like a Pirate Day (September 19 for ye scurvy land-lubbers.), my favorite GPS locator app has been released for the iPhone! If you commute to work in a busy city, drive to school,’ use a park and ride system, find yourself headed to a theme park, or just do a lot of shopping at busy malls, this app will make finding your car at the end of an exhausting day much simpler. The pirate-themed app by Lionebra Studios allows you to save the location of your parked car, you can also:

App of the Week: Process

Title: Process
Platform: iOS
Cost: 9.99
(It was recently marked down to 4.99 when it was included on the “App Store Essentials” list, but the discount price has ended.)

Most photo apps give you a selection of filters to choose from, with Process you can make your own.’  There is something reminiscent of’  darkrooms and f-stops as you turn the dial of each of several possible image adjustments. Each time you make adjustments to a photo you can easily add and remove different effects and see your changes in real time. Once you create a combination you like, you can save your “process” and apply it to other images.


The evil kitty and my godson are both enjoying a “process” I called Blue. Continue reading App of the Week: Process

App of the Week: Temple Run: Brave

Title: Temple Run: Brave
Platform: iOS and Android
Cost: .99

I’m excited to see Pixar’s new movie Brave. I have plans to go on Friday. ‘ One of the things that makes Pixar’s movies great, is that they have such broad appeal. Kids, teens, adults, everybody wants to see the new Pixar movie. And everybody will have an opinion about it so we can use it as a conversation starter for the rest of the summer. ‘ If you are not already excited about Brave, go watch this trailer, and then come back here and have a look at this game.

While I was being excited about Brave, I was chatting with one of the teen pages who work at my library. She recommended the new Brave inspired version of the immensely popular Temple Run. ‘ “The graphics are like ten times better,” she said.

If you’re not familiar with Temple Run, it is a fast paced game that’ demands quick reflexes as you guide your Indiana Jones-esque jungle adventurer in his escape from ravenous monkeys. You control his movements by swiping your touch screen left or right to turn, up to jump, or down to slide. You must also tilt your device to collect coins that may balance precariously on the edges of your path. ‘ You need to be quick or you will meet a brutal end by falling in water, crashing into an obstacle, or getting eaten by monkeys.

In Temple Run: Brave, you’ are transported to the Scottish Highlands in lush detail, guiding Merida and her wild red hair through the twists and turns of the game. ‘ Your pursuer is the giant bear from the movie, adorned with the spears of its fallen enemies, and eager to catch you and eat you. Epic music sets the tone for your run. The controls are the same for the most part, but an added archery feature adds flavor and challenge. ‘  The graphics are indeed stunning, almost as detailed as what you’d expect from the big screen, and the gameplay is just as exciting and frustrating as the original. ‘ Check out a trailer for the game here.

A great summer game for waiting in line to see, what I hope will be, a great summer movie.

Welcome back to the YALSA blog. ‘ For more app recommendations, visit the App of the Week Archive.

App of the Week: Bump


Title: Bump
Platform: iOS, Android
Cost:‘ Free


One day a teen I know came barreling into the community room for a program shouting to her friend, “I must bump with you!”‘  Was this a new dance craze? A euphemism? What did it mean?’  The two pulled out their iPods, tapped at their touch screens, and then, with iPods in hand, bumped fists. They had just shared photos between the two devices. I wanted to try it.’  So, I downloaded Bump on my iPhone, and had the teens show me around.’  Bump is an amusing tactile way to share pictures and contacts between two devices. It’s quick, it works cross-platform, and it inspires smiles in the people doing the sharing. Continue reading App of the Week: Bump

App of the Week: WordFoto

Title: WordFoto

Cost: $1.99

Platform:‘ iPhone 3GS, iPhone 4, iPhone 4S, iPod touch (3rd generation), iPod touch (4th generation) and iPad. Requires iOS 4.0 or later.

Too often innovative’ ideas are quashed’ by questions like “How will we fund that?” or “How will staff have enough time?” Inevitably, change requires a bit of sacrifice–if you are going to fund a new idea, you either have to generate more resources or take a little bit’ from somewhere else.’  Even with shifting dollars, there still might be only a small available budget.’  This is why I love apps! Apps often help you produce something new and interesting with only a small cost.’  The app I tested this week falls into the “cheap with big results” category. For only $1.99 and some patience, you can use WordFoto to generate colorful, eye-catching publicity materials. Continue reading App of the Week: WordFoto

Wreck This App (of the Week)

Title: Wreck This App
Cost: 4.99
Platform: iOS, Android
(this review refers to the iOS version)



Based on Keri Smith’s Wreck This Journal, Wreck this App is a collection of activities designed to awaken creativity through the power of destruction. Don’t worry no iPhones were harmed in the process of writing this post. The destruction this app inspires might take the form of defacing a photo, repurposing text, or using the various drawing tools to smear ink, cut up an image, or scribble all over the page. Other times the activities are more wacky’  rather than actually destructive, designed to shake up your brain, like putting your fingers in your ears and touching your nose to cure hiccups. For example, you will be asked to draw a picture of something you dislike, connect a set of dots from memory,’  and make a collage of photos of stickers found on fruit. Continue reading Wreck This App (of the Week)