CONCEPT: A colourful way to let young learners practice letter formation.
DELIVERY:With a four year old daughter who is currently learning to write her name, trawling the App Store for suitable apps to support this was a natural choice for me. I found a lot - seriously there are tonnes of choices for this. writing Wizard though has been both her favourite and mine for a number of reasons.
As with a lot of great apps, it comes down to options and the ability to control what you do more. This app from L'Escapadou offers both capital and small letter practice as well as numbers and even a bank of simple shapes. Beyond that it has a series of word banks for extending those that are ready for more. Even better is the ability to add your own word banks. You can even record your voice to sound out the word/ each letter as needed. This is obviously awesome as you can use words that are relevant to each child and even use it to reinforce spellings.
Another great touch is the use of unusual ink. Rather than traditional colours to draw with using the touch screen, the app randomly assigns a funky art brush each time. These range from hearts to rainbow effects and even animal faces. Trust me. - this is what hooked my daughter. That and the fact that upon completing a letter you can play with the design by flicking it around the screen then watching it fall back into the correct place.
Three font styles are included and for each letter, it's name and the initial sound are spoken clearly to the learner. As they write the lettesr, key points are shown to direct them in the correct formation and a funny little noise sounds out to denote that they have slipped from the correct path. There's even a game aspect, with a star system employed to reward accuracy and a time limit that can be employed if desired. That fact that you can adjust the parameters needed to earn each of the five stars is the final testament to an app that really has been well thought out.
LIMITATIONS:More fonts would have been welcome and the ability to screencast or export finished work (especially the whole words) would also have made a great addition.
CONCLUSION: Simple, very effective and definitely a worthy choice for the early years classroom. 4/5