Prof Miki

Quality
Education
Entertainment
Value
Child Friendly
Summary
Prof. Miki is a good app to use with preschoolers and some kindergarteners and first graders. Even the very young will benefit from its gentle and consistent teaching about the many forms that numbers can take and the relationships between the numbers.
4.4

App Info

Price: $1.99
AppStore User Rating:
Download on the App Store

Overview

Users can journey through the ocean, darkest Africa and outer space as they count, match and compare numbers with Prof Miki as a guide. The app presents number bubbles containing counters and/or numerals with verbal instructions to count, match or compare the amounts.

Features include:

  • Very gradual increase in difficulty levels
  • Progression from concrete to abstract work
  • Exercises vital foundational math skills
  • Control of relative volume for sound effects and background music
  • Positive and gentle correction for errors

Quality

This high-quality app works well and performs as expected with a few minor exceptions. Occasionally when a player makes an error, the instructions seem to reference other levels by accident. For example, in the jungle level when players are to touch largest and smallest amounts, they may be told to match similar numbers as they did in the undersea level. In the outer space level, they are occasionally told to find the two planets that have the same numbers, but they are really supposed to find ALL of the planets that match and there are more than the two of previous levels. These minor glitches in instructions might be confusing to some young users.

Education

Prof. Miki does an outstanding job of helping young children learn about counting to ten, ordering and comparing numbers, and much more. This app does a great job of building often-overlooked foundational math skills, such as recognizing standard groupings of pips (think of the patterns on dice) and recognizing the amounts shown without actually counting. It is designed so that players can take their time at first and then speed up their performance to improve their processing speed and visual memory.

The third level is particularly intriguing-players are encouraged to internalize the concept that larger numbers are made of smaller parts. These can be grouped in different ways. For example, a group of eight items can be arranged as seven and one, four and four, or three and five. This idea seems very basic to us adults, but young children often need a lot of reinforcement to internalize it, and it is one of the foundational understandings that allows us to add and subtract with fluency. My concern is with the way the instructions on this level are presented to kids. Children see a selection of “planets” on the screen that display various numbers in various configurations. Three or more of them represent the same number, but in visually different ways. Sometimes Prof. Miki asks users to “find all of the parts of the number.” This instruction may not be clear to many users, since each number is complete on its planet. It might be better to refer to “groups that make the number” or something like that, and be sure to clarify that each planet contains the entire number. Players are not looking for fractional parts, and this term may well be confusing to young children who are also exploring fractions at the same time.

The app offers thirty exercises at each level, with the option to replay as desired. The system can keep track of up to four users’ places in the sequence of activities. It would be nice if accuracy records were kept so that parents or teachers could see how well concepts are being mastered.

Entertainment

This app will be fun for the target audience. Activities are short and sweet, in keeping with children’s sometimes short attention spans. It’s nice that the app will retain information about levels and activities completed so that young users can pick right up where they left off. Developers did a good job of varying Prof. Miki’s responses to correct and incorrect choices, as well. The guide is encouraging at every step of the way, no matter whether correct answers were chosen or not.

However, the game play might get repetitious, particularly for kindergarten or first grade students, since each level presents the same mechanism for response, albeit dressed up in a different “world.” Also, Prof. Miki occasionally responds to incorrect answers with a hearty “Well done!” before instructing kids to try again. That one seems just a bit inappropriate. Repeated mistakes at the same activity trigger repetition of the same corrective phrase, and probably should, at least after the second error on the activity, review the instructions. Not all of the corrective prompts do this, but rather say encouraging words such as “I can see how hard you are working.” A repetition of the activity instructions might be more valuable to the users.

Value

This app is a bit on the expensive side compared to other math apps for this age group. It does a very good job of developing important foundational number concepts, though, and will be particularly useful for helping children who are struggling with the very basics of counting and numeracy. However, with only 90 exercises that have a relatively limited scope, the price tag does seem a bit steep.

Child Friendliness

This app is very child friendly. Developers have included a section of parental instructions and one for “tips” that can enhance usage of the app.

  • NO external links
  • NO social media
  • NO 3rd party ads
  • NO in-app purchase

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