We’ve been using the Agnitus App a while – since last year sometime. It’s basically a touch enabled fun educational app for kids aged 2-7. It used to be free but just when it was getting good they suddenly went subscription only. Anyway we subscribed. There are a lot of apps out there but what I liked about Agnitus (I’m getting to the things I don’t like or don’t understand) are the fact that there are lots of different very interesting educational ‘games’ within the app and these keep updating either to new levels or replaced by apps that keep pace with my son’s development, knowledge and skills. They are very relatable with bright colours, sweet cartoons and a friendly learning buddy ‘Icky’. I can also monitor his usage in my spare time – see where his time has been spent, see how he compares to other children and how well he ‘tests’ at these games. I can edit his collection of apps if I think he is just doing the ‘easy’ ones. I don’t do that though. For instance I can see my son overwhelmingly prefers maths – over 350 minutes spent across all apps, 250 of those minutes went just on maths. The categories change but include things like literacy, balance, memory, spatial awareness, quantity, daily routines, visual scanning (whatever that means). My son is really above average at visual scanning. Proud! Maybe this means he’ll be good at looking for bacteria under a microscope!
Which brings me to the things I don’t like about Agnitus. They grade your child! My three year old son spent 1 minute on science and got a C. Really? In a whole 1 minute? I guess they are appealing to every kind of parent, not my kind. Also I’m highly skeptical about Agnitus’ ability to teach skills. I’m not an expert though. The tagline used to be ‘Agnitus, games for learning’. Now it just says ‘Agnitus’. Perhaps some regulatory body questioned its claims to teach. For example the tracing letters exercise which my son aced, brought him no closer to tracing letters in the real world. If fact, it may have built some resistance as tracing was a lot easier on the iPad requiring less finger exertion. Muscle strength in the hands is a huge part of fine motor skills so its not a small thing. Likewise, he found it quite easy to treat Agnitus like a video game and ‘score’ with random hits and also just enjoyed treating it as game not actually thinking about the content.
http://www.agnitus.com – ignore the creepy lobotomised mom video intro!
But I have stuck with it because it is somewhat educational and it does interest him and it may give me a half an hour to do something else. As he has gotten older – he’s almost four, I’ve noticed him using it more and more as an educational tool than a dartboard. We do some games together and he is better at some of them than I am! I think it has reinforced things I have taught him and perhaps even added to what he knows, although he still treats it as a game and so scores lower than I think his actual knowledge deserves. It is also showing me where his self directed exploration takes him and that reinforces what I choose to do in homeschool. It has shown me we can do a lot more with maths and shapes because this sort of thing he really likes but literacy and anything to do with handwriting has to be a lot more fun because he’s not so naturally inclined this way. He loves reading though and loves being read to by the Agnitus talking books.
I’m not sure what else is out there that might have more value for money but I think I will stick with it because it really suits my needs as a homeschooler who already spends a lot of time ‘teaching’ my son 1-2-1. I don’t feel guilty about this screen time and it seems to be becoming more beneficial as time goes on. I’m a little excited to see how the app keeps pace with my 4, 5 even 6 year old son. The signs are good.