Bottom Line: A simple flashcard app that fails to take advantage of the many possibilities offered by its digital format.
Smart Flashcards - Addition 2 is one of a series of universal flashcard apps by Lexpaper. The 2 refers to the difficulty level of the cards’ math problems which include two-digit addition with and without regrouping. On launch, basic instructions come up which explain swiping to advance cards, tapping to flip the cards over for the answer and pushing the help box for step by step instructions on how to solve the problem. There are no in-app purchases, ads or external links.
I swiped away and was confounded when the first problem appeared and I could not find where to tap for a digital pencil. Trying to write the answer in with my finger registered as a tap and the card flipped revealing the answer. My first review for Smart Apps For Kids and I’m going to have to email Ron and admit I can’t figure out how to work this app! I’m so accustomed to apps with handwriting recognition and type-on capability that I never imagined Smart Flashcards would be just that - flashcards.
My third grader (special ed) is working on this very skill right now so I was excited to try this app with him. The inability to actually write or key in your answer makes this difficult. While I am generally able to add two digits in my head, the first and second graders for whom this app is aimed still need, and are often required, to show their work. The Show Help screens add ones, tens, and hundreds columns as well as a place to carry the one. They provide a handy step-by-step demonstration of how to solve the problem, but there is no verbal explanation given. (There is no sound at all). Having an intermediate step that allows the child to work the problem himself in this way would be preferable to expecting him to do it in his head. It could be done on paper, of course, but that sort of defeats the purpose of the app.
In some respects the app offers even less flexibility than traditional paper cards. There is no ability to shuffle the deck of 100 problems after one time through. Missed cards cannot be flagged or otherwise marked so that the student gets a second chance. Without tracking there is no way to grade the child’s effort. Even the old fashioned card deck allows sorting into piles for right and wrong answers. While the app doesn’t purport to be anything more than a flashcard app, users expect and are accustomed to more in their apps.
Even with its current level of limited interactivity, there are several enhancements I would recommend for Addition 2. The problems are presented randomly with harder problems requiring regrouping interspersed with much easier problems. Users should have the option of asking for 20 easy, medium or hard cards. Not even the strictest teacher gives 100 addition problems for homework. Show Help could include a visual representation with cubes made of 100 tiny cubes for hundreds, columns of 10 cubes for tens and single cubes for ones. Those who need the practice and repetition of flashcards the most often need this more concrete representation for math. These suggestions as well as a means to track incorrect responses could be added to the iPad version without changing the design of the cards themselves. The cards appear iPhone sized on the iPad screen thus leaving plenty of screen space for scoring and visuals of the problem.
This format would work reasonably well for drilling on multiplication tables which are meant to be memorized and demand rapid recall. For two digit addition, however, I cannot give it more than two stars.
If you would like to download Smart Flashcards - Addition 2 please support Smart Apps for Kids by using the links provided.
Jill Goodman is the mother of 2 boys born on the 2nd of February. smartappsforkids.com was paid a priority-review fee to complete this review in an expedited manner.
Five Stars: The best of the best. We've reviewed, featured, given away, and tested thousands of apps and only given 19 apps the full five stars.
Four-and-a-half Stars: One of our Top Picks. We highly recommend this app.
Four Stars: Just a notch below the best. Recommend.
Three-and-a-half Stars: Has enough strong points to recommend if you have a specific need is this area. Definitely take a look.
Three Stars: Worth a look, but only worth downloading if it targets a specific educational target you are looking for.
Below Three Stars: Not recommended.