Parents' Choice Foundation: Reviewing Children's Media Since 1978

Babble Planet

Babble Planet

Spring 2013 Mobile Apps
Ages: 5 & Up
Developer: Eugène Ernoult
Director: Elsa Prieto
Director: Soiny Duval
Developer: Swasa
Download Price: $2.99
Platform: iPad

Babble Planet is intended to teach children English as a second language. It succeeds in that it is intuitive in its use (directions given in English would not easily be understood by a speaker of a different language), and designed in a manner that effortlessly appeals to young, curious English learners. Technical limitations prevent it from being a perfect app, however, it does show the potential to be the rare app that successfully draws upon all of the iPad's features.

The level 1 games immerse the player in everyday sites in India&8212;a clothing shop, a restaurant, a weather station, a street full of vehicles, etc. &8212;and ask the player to listen to words and identify objects, or to visually identify and vocally name numbers, colors, and weather-related terms. Future levels relocate similar activities to Mexico and India, and more locales are to come in upcoming releases. The identification games are fun and quick, but the games that require the player to speak can be frustrating. Even native English speakers will occasionally have trouble being understood by the app's speech-recognition technology, and the recording device is sluggish to appear, resulting in degraded performance in timed games.

Babble Planet is cute and cheerful, and our testers enjoyed the look and variety of the games. As each level takes place in a different region, even native English speakers will pick up new vocabulary. While playing the India level, for example, our 7-year-old tester learned the word "sari." We see great potential in Babble Planet as a English-learning app for young ones, and we look forward to it improving its sound recognition.

Emily Crawford   ©2013 Parents' Choice
Emily holds a BSE in electrical engineering and computer science from Duke University and a Master's in computer engineering from Georgia Tech. She is a homeschooling parent and lives with her husband, three children, five cats, and thousands of LEGOs in Blacksburg, Virginia.

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