by Laura Jiencke | Aug 15, 2022 | Bluebee News |
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by Laura Jiencke | Aug 3, 2022 | Bluebee News |
We are thrilled to announce the 5 star rating for the Bluebee Pals App by the highly esteemed Educational App Store.
Educational App Store is a discovery, review, and recommendation platform for educational apps and websites. Apps and websites are certified and reviewed by professionally experienced teachers to assist parents and educators in progressing a younger child’s education. In addition, they believe in challenging the status quo of app discovery through trust and transparency. https://www.educationalappstore.com
Bluebee Pals is a mini game and activity app for early learners, pre-k, and kindergarten kids. The app can support its associated range of Bluetooth-enabled physical Bluebee Pals, but this is not essential, and the on-screen Bluebee Pal will accompany kids as they learn.
Bluebee Pals App is free and does not restrict any of its content. There are no in-app purchase or subscription options at all. The app is available on iOS and Android devices.
App Review by EAS: What is Bluebee Pals App?
There can be no doubt that apps have captured the attention of kids. Games occupy their entertainment, and digital learning activities support their education. Anything that motivates and inspires kids is excellent, but we need to be careful that kids don’t concentrate on anything at the expense of other positive experiences.
That’s part of the motivation behind Bluebee Pals. The app’s designers don’t want today’s kids to miss out on the warmth and comfort of a favorite soft toy, so they have combined a fun learning app with Bluetooth-enabled soft toys to merge the digital and physical realms.
As you’ll see in this review of Bluebee Pals, the developers haven’t made it a closed system. Even without extras, the app is a great addition to kids’ devices for fun and learning, especially as the full app is free. http://bluebeepals.com
Bluebee Pals is a free app that can connect to a real-life Bluebee Pal plushie toy but what we really love is that this is not a baseline requirement for using the app. Even without the physical toy, the app is entirely usable.
The app has a good selection of mini games and activities popular with early learners. These have a variety of play styles and learning content. Played independently by a child, some are purely fun while others teach early skills. When an adult joins in, any of the activities can be used for developing knowledge and thinking skills. Bluebee Pals app’s supporting website helps parents know how to do this. https://www.bluebeepals.com/bluebee-pals-app/
We did not use a compatible physical toy during this review of Bluebee Pals, so every feature mentioned is available to you at the app’s basic cost, which is free. Of course, kids might want a Bluebee Pal after playing this app, but the choice is yours, and you would already know something about the Bluebee Pals material and how relevant it is to your kids.
What skills does it teach?
Bluebee Pals app includes learning content covering personal hygiene and daily routines, ABCs, sight words, colors, and other early learning material.
What age is it appropriate for?
Bluebee Pals is designed for kids aged 4+. The upper end will depend on your child’s educational progress and any needs they might have. The app’s features, including the link-up to compatible soft toys, can provide focus and motivation for kids to keep trying. The app’s supporting information provided by teachers, therapists and other educational professionals describe how to do this with tutorials on the Bluebee Pals Website.
Is Bluebee Pals app easy to use?
The text within the app is narrated so that kids know what to do with each activity, and the activities are grouped by rooms in the Bluebee Pals’ house. The house’s playroom contains simple mini games, puzzles, and activities. The player’s Bluebee Pal will involve and demonstrate to the player different routines relevant to each of the other rooms.
The app contains links for parents to help them learn how to support their child’s development in general and using the Bluebee Pal’s app. The information is detailed and informative as practitioners such as the app’s Teacher Ambassador have created it.
The most difficult thing with anything that connects to other devices is making that connection. If you are contemplating getting a physical Bluebee Pals toy for your child, you’ll want to know how easy it is. Fortunately, Bluebee Pals starts with a video explaining how to do this in straightforward terms that, if followed, should not pose a problem. Parents should watch this when they get the app to know how to do it.
How will students benefit?
Kids who just have the Bluebee Pal app will have a fully featured new app to learn with and play. If their parents are watching their spending, kids might be used to seeing their apps cut them off from some of the content, either for lack of in-app purchases or subscriptions.
Bluebee Pals app won’t do this, and kids can play and learn without hitting an educational dead-end caused by a paywall.
How will parents benefit?
Bluebee Pals educates parents. Too many apps do nothing to enlighten parents on how they can use the app to support their kids as they take their first steps in learning. Bluebee Pals provides a wealth of supporting resources ranging from general education to special needs, such as speech therapy.
The supporting information works well with the app’s features but also goes further with practical suggestions and guidance on how to work with kids.
How will teachers benefit?
The ‘educators’ tab behind the protected gateway has loads of information, ideas, and lesson plans. This is not restricted only to classroom teachers but also considers the role of homeschoolers and special education tutors.
These ideas and resources are great starting points to help busy teachers build lessons around and get the most use out of the app and, possibly, a classroom Bluebee Pal toy.
While a physical Bluebee Pal is not part of this review, it is useful to understand how they fit into the full experience.
If you own a physical Bluebee Pal, it can connect to any app on a Bluetooth-compatible device. The toy will then animate and talk as it reflects the sounds from the app. The app connected to could be the one reviewed here, but it could also be a third-party app (such as a favorite bedtime stories app) or a website.
The toy will need the app or website to include sounds or narration as it cannot add speech to an app that does not already have it.
The Bluebee Pals app and physical toy are ideal companions but not dependent on each other.
How much does Bluebee Pals app cost?
Bluebee Pals is a free app without advertisements, subscriptions, or in-app purchases. It is part of a broader ecosystem of learning resources and physical toys, but it is still very usable without any extra apps or purchases.
Is Bluebee Pals app safe to use?
All of the Bluebee Pals app content is suitable for kids of its targeted age group. While there are some external links in the app, these give parents extra information and are behind a parental gateway. Parents need to enter a valid birth year to progress into the parental area.
As a standalone app, Bluebee Pals is an exceptional mini game app for young kids. These apps are popular with kids who love the not pressured play style of such games. The activities may seem simple and repetitive to you, but too many young kids, they are just what they want.
Other mini game apps might have more content, but it is locked behind in-app purchases and subscriptions, whereas Bluebee Pals gives you everything for free. This makes Bluebee Pals a great addition to an existing app for extra variety or as a way to see whether your kids enjoy this style of app before you do spend money. Either way, your kids will likely continue to enjoy this one.
If you like the idea of your child linking their learning with a soft toy, then look at the app’s supporting cast of lovable soft toys.http://bluebeepals.com
by Laura Jiencke | Jun 10, 2022 | Bluebee News |
My name is Julie, and I’m a Speech-Language Pathologist. I was super excited to hear about Bluebee Pals and how they can help facilitate communication with my kids! It looks like an incredible product for some of my younger, not yet verbal children. I work in a low-income, rural area of North Carolina, so I’m conscientious about what I use or recommend to these families.
I have been SO impressed with how my kids have responded to Bluebee Pals. I have been getting my feet wet and introduced it to 5 kids on my caseload in the last four weeks. I am happy to share my testimony regarding the positive reaction from my early childhood students. Bluebee Pals are genuinely a practical assistive technology tool to engage communication. http://bluebeepals.com
GREAT APPS TO CONNECT WITH BLUEBEE PALS
One feature I’ve been loving is pairing Bluebee with Epic books or just using youtube to have Bluebee “read” books to kids. It has been so engaging for my little ones, who typically aren’t book lovers. Also, the speed and accuracy with which I can pause a story to review vocabulary, cue for page-turning, ask questions, etc., has been excellent.
I have also found Bluebee to be an effective tool for using songs/nursery rhymes. Some of my kids get hyper-fixated on technology, so using my tablet or phone to play songs is more of a distraction than anything else. Using Bluebee to play the songs has changed the game! I love that I can use his arms to model finger plays/gestures associated with songs (head, shoulders, wheels on the bus, etc.).https://www.bluebeepals.com/apps-bluebee-pals/
Using text-to-speak apps has been a fantastic experience with Bluebee. I have many kids working on greeting others, and it’s been so easy to use Bluebee as a low-stakes “peer” to practice this skill. It also gives me complete control and the ability to navigate practice conversations without my kids feeling like they’re always just talking to me.
I was so surprised to use text to speech, even for babbling sounds! For my kids just learning early sounds, Bluebee could model back reduplicated; CV babbles, which was engaging and impressive for my little ones.
I am still experimenting with pairing Bluebee to communication apps and devices, but this is next on my list. So far, I am so grateful to have received this product!
by Laura Jiencke | Jun 9, 2022 | Bluebee News |
My name is Kristen Ponce and I am a speech-language pathologist currently working at an early education center with preschool students from the ages of three to five. I have been an SLP for eight years. Throughout my seven years, my caseload has continued to grow and change and now I currently serve our students with significant communication delays with the majority of my students being minimally verbal and communicating through the use of some sort of assistive technology device. I have learned a lot about AAC implementation, strategies, and systems both high tech and low tech.
I am privileged to be a part of an amazing school team of teachers and therapist who are always willing to think outside the box with me and try new supports and strategies. It is my hope that by sharing our ideas, it will help others beginning their own journey into the world of augmentative and alternative communication.
Bluebee Pals Reviews
Bluebee Pals is so engaging for many of my students! Students of all levels and ages request that we use it during language therapy sessions. We use it to request, comment, protest and for social exchanges in both small group and large group sessions! In addition to being great at facilitating communication, it is so easy to use. Just turn it on, connect to Bluetooth and it is ready to go! ~Sara Spisak, Speech-Language Pathologist
Bluebee Pals have been such a fun addition to my therapy sessions! My older students love using it to play music! My students who use augmentative and alternative communication devices (AAC) are so motivated to use their devices when they see Bluebee saying what they said! Almost every student will come to therapy and ask if they can use Bluebee! ~Kristen Ponce, Speech-Language Pathologist..http://Bluebee-pals.com
When I first pulled the Bluebee out I modeled “hi” on my students AAC device. The student smiled and watched. He was very intrigued! He pressed one button and watched Bluebee and let out a little giggle. He started pressing several buttons and watching then started big belly laughing! It was so much fun to watch him see his words through a stuffed animal. Every time I pull it out it is a hit! I can’t wait to use it more throughout our circle time and in more activities! ~Rachel Danley ECSE Teacher
by Laura Jiencke | May 17, 2022 | Bluebee News |
The Bluebee Pal Project, which traditionally donates to schools and special needs organizations, changed its trajectory in a new direction this year. The Bluebee Pals Project extended donations to individual speech therapists who work with large school districts. The positive response and feedback have reinforced years of determination and hard work; our Interactive tech plush companions are an effective, engaging assistive technology tool that supports children in achieving communication goals.
Bluebee Pals is so engaging for many of my students! Students of all levels and ages request that we use it during language therapy sessions. We use it to ask, comment, protest, and for social exchanges in both small group and large group sessions! In addition to being great at facilitating communication, it is so easy to use. Bluebee is user-friendly; turn it on, connect to Bluetooth, and it is ready to go! ~Sara Spisak, Speech-Language Pathologist
Bluebee Pals have been such a fun addition to my therapy sessions! My older students love using it to play music! My students who use augmentative and alternative communication devices (AAC) are so motivated to use their devices when they see Bluebee saying what they said! Almost every student will come to therapy and ask if they can use Bluebee! ~Kristen Ponce, Speech-Language Pathologist.
When I first pulled the Bluebee out, I modeled “hi” on my student’s AAC device. The student smiled and watched. He was very intrigued! He pressed one button and watched Bluebee and let out a little giggle. He started pressing several buttons and watching, then started big belly laughing! It was so much fun to watch him see his words through a stuffed animal. Every time I pull it out, it is a hit! I can’t wait to use it more frequently throughout our circle time and in more activities! ~Rachel Dan, Speech-Language Pathologist.
by Laura Jiencke | May 15, 2022 | Bluebee News |
Bluebee Pal Language Lesson: Verb Tenses
Today, we introduced Bluebee Pal Hudson, the Puppy, as an assistive technology tool in my speech therapy class. Our 3rd and 4th graders’ speech and language therapy students used Hudson the Puppy to help with verb tenses. Although the students are older than elementary age, they were still engaged with Bluebee and excited to use their sentence knowledge to “program” him, much like they have been working on programming small robots in their stem classes this year.https://www.bluebeepals.com/tutorials/
Before Spring Break:
The students wrote future tense sentences to predict the weather and also what activities they planned during spring break.
After Spring Break:
We reviewed those sentences to see if everything they predicted happened and then formulated new sentences with the past tense verb forms to tell what actually happened on spring break.
How we used Bluebee:
Each student assisted in helping “program” Hudson using a Text to Speech App to say at least one of their sentences. The other students had to listen to Hudson to determine whether it was future or past tense.
Engaging with the Bluebee Pal Hudson motivated students who typically avoid writing to participate in the verb curriculum; they heard his voice and watched him speak, knowing they were instrumental in making this happen. One of the students commented, “it is so cool because he is animatronic, and I want to learn how to build one someday.” Programing Bluebee Pal Hudson created a segue to another topic where we will be talking about future careers. My students are so inspired and look forward to researching what it is to be a mechatronics engineer.
I highly recommend Bluebee Pal as a therapy tool for engaging students of all ages!
Allison Cusumano, MS Ed., CCC-SLP-Speech-Language Pathologist
Chestnut Elementary School for Science and Engineering
School District of Osceola County
4300 Chestnut Street
Kissimmee, FL 34759