This week’s highlighted app is SpeakaZoo. It was released on April 17, 2014 and has both good and bad points to it. Despite the app being categorized as educational, it does not have much educational input for kids to experience. This review covers only the iOS version.
The app records children’s voices and uses speech recognition to create what seems like conversations between the kids and animated animals. The 18 animated animals are under the custody of the zoo keepers who happen to be the kids. The animals ask questions and make emotional pleas for help then the kids record their responses to the animals. The sole job of the kids is to make the animals happy by helping them work through their various idiosyncrasies.
The animated animals are colorful to look at. The chatty characters and childlike charm will keep the kids intrigued. The main feature of the app is when the animals pose occasional questions and to answer, they’ll need to tap and hold the microphone button and the animal will wait till they finish speaking. The kids will enjoy the app’s silliness.
The apps animals tend to use mature humor or talk about adult behavior (vampire bat sucking blood) that is inappropriate for its 4 year old and up age recommendations. The animation are somewhat crude in that they are troubled and often sarcastic but will be lost on kids and not the adults. The login process is a bit off putting, as this requires an email address and consent to let the developer to record the voices of the adults and kids. This might not be the app of choice for the paranoid type.
Content: Audio and Animation
Platform: iPad, iPod, iPhone
Photos courtesy of Appannie.com