For this review I used AbeCeDarian Interactive A Workbook from the ABeCeDarian Company with my 5 year old (kindergartener). We used the program an average of 3 days a week, and used it mostly on the iPad (iPad 2 version, with Google Chrome). We also received a digital version of the Teacher Manual to use with this program.
Overall this is a neat program. It’s a bit confusing to get started at first, you definitely need the teacher manual, as it explains bit by bit how to work this program, including a dialogue to follow, and pictures of what the pages should look like. Start with the teacher manual, or you will be completely lost as to what to do! It is laid out very easily though in the manual!
The program itself is very slow to load initially. Be patient. I also had issues logging in, there is a CAPTCHA, those things can be such a challenge! I’m not sure the purpose of it, there has to be an easier way!
Each time you go to the page, it starts at the beginning, you click through the directions and then the table of contents page comes up and you click which lesson you want to go to (it would be really nice if it had a place holder instead!).
I discovered that the way the pages look in the manual are not the same as in the digital program. If using a tablet browser, it’s best to have it in portrait position, and if you click on the lesson title in the bottom right corner you can scroll through the missing parts of the page (as it’s listed in the manual). I did not discover this until much later, and honestly portrait position makes the letters appear a little squished, I preferred to use it in landscape with my son. I was told they would be making a NEW manual specifically for this program soon. After having these issues, I pulled it up on the laptop and feel that the viewing of it is much better there, but if you don’t have a touch screen, the writing portions could be difficult this way.
The writing portion of the program is a bit finicky, I was told they are working on this problem. It’s not smooth to write, and if my child rested his hand at any point while writing, it would shoot a line across the screen. It was a tad frustrating for him. We did find using a stylus helped a lot with the writing portion.
You navigate from page to page by clicking the upper right corner, this also is a bit finicky but I discovered that it works best if you click precisely in the corner where the white screen meets the blue border.
So, as you can see there a few ‘bugs’ with the program, but over all, I found the concept of the program easy to use, I really liked the pull down tiles for spelling words in each lesson, that was probably my son’s favorite part.
Here is a screen shot from one of our lessons
I also found this great YouTube video from ABeCeDarian that really lays out how to use the program, I found it super helpful and wanted to share.
Overall I think there is some room for improvements in this program, I actually think it would work better as an actual app, as opposed to in the web browser, but I think the concept and lesson layouts are great.
The subscription is $14.95 for a year and you can add additional years for $4.95 each year. The teacher manual is $9.95 for a printed version, the digital version is available for free. I read the manual from my iPad, while my child worked on another device.
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