There are so many digital clocks available that learning to tell time on an analog time piece may seem as antiquated to children as the Palmer Method for learning manuscript, yet at the moment most schools still want children to learn both these skills.
Whether reading an analog (or analogue for our UK readers) clock face will go the way of Latin verb declension and Roman numerals remains to be seen, so for now kids who want to make this task more fun can use Monster Time, a universal edu-app that gussies up this otherwise monotonous task.
The player begins by selecting one of five monsters. The difficulty level for each can be set at easy, medium, or hard. Plus, all the clocks can be set as digital or analog. Players must be able to read to use the app, so the youngest users might need a little help.
Giving any wrong answer results in responses such as “wrong” or “try again,” so it doesn’t tell the user if she is close to being correct or way off. Kids who are just beginning to learn how to read an analog clock can get help by tapping on the digital clock in the upper-right corner of the screen.
The game rewards players by unlocking monster photos stored in My Monster Album that users can print and color. To print the sheet, the user taps print, then sends the picture as a PDF via email. While this system may seem circuitous, it is probably the most straightforward way to get around the difficulty users without Air Print compatible printers have trying to print from an iDevice.
It can be difficult to train a child to remember which is the hour hand and which is the minute hand. One of the monsters features clock hands (a bone and something that resembles a tail) that complicates the task further because there is no way to tell at a glance which one is supposed to be which until you start moving the hands.
What I liked: In addition to showing the traditional numbers 1 -12, the clock also shows the actual number of minutes that have passed by each. For example, there is a small 20 printed next to the 4 on the clock face.
What I didn’t like: The app crashed while I was testing it. The digital time is adjusted with a slider that the user drags to the right or the left to change the time.
To buy or not to buy: For the current price ($0.99), this app may be worth it for kids who are struggling to learn how to read an an analog clock face. Unfortunately the app wasn’t as reliable or nuanced as it could have been.